Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, pp. 419-428 Day 305

Their ideas must become broader. With ordinary humanity there is a selfishness, an ambition, that mars the work of God. Self-interest must be lost sight of. There should be no aiming to be first, no standing aloof from God’s workmen, speaking and writing in a bigoted manner of things that have not been critically and prayerfully investigated and humbly brought before the council.

The future world is close at hand, with its unalterable and solemn issues–so near, so very near, and such a great work to be done, so many important decisions to be made; yet in your councils the preconceived opinions, the selfish ideas and plans, the wrong traits of character received by birth, are lugged in and allowed to have an influence. You should ever feel that it is a sin to move from impulse. You should not abuse your power, using it to carry out your own ends regardless of the consequences to others, because you are in a position that makes this possible; but you should use the power that is given you as a sacred, solemn trust, remembering that you are servants of the most high God and must meet in the judgment every decision that you make. If your acts are unselfish and for the glory of God, they will bear the trying test. Ambition is death to spiritual advancement, genius is erring, slothful indolence is criminal; but a life where every just principle is respected must be a successful one.

Many of your councils do not bear the stamp of heaven. You do not come to them as men who have been communing with God and who have His mind and His merciful compassion, but as men having a firm purpose to carry out your own plans and to settle questions according to your own minds, In every department of the work it is essential to have the mind and spirit of Christ. You are God’s workmen; and you must possess courtesy and grace, else you cannot represent Jesus.

All who are employed in our institutions should realize

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that they will be a blessing or a curse. If they would be a blessing they must renew their spiritual strength daily; they must be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Amid the cares of active life it is sometimes difficult to discern our own motives, but progress is made daily either for good or evil. Likes or dislikes, an uprising of personal feelings, will come in to control our actions; the things of sense will blind our vision. I have been shown that Jesus loves us; but He is grieved to see such a want of wise discrimination, of adaptability to the work, and of wisdom to reach human hearts and enter into the feelings of others. While we are to guard against the constant danger of forming an alliance with the enemies of Christ and being corrupted by them, we must guard against holding ourselves aloof from those whom our Lord claims as His. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,” He says, “ye have done it unto Me.” If with an earnest, loving purpose we improve every opportunity to help to their feet those who have stumbled and fallen, we shall not have lived in vain. Our manners will not be harsh, overbearing, and dictatorial, but our lives will be fragrant with the hidden grace of Christ.

Our heavenly Father requires of His servants according to that which He has entrusted to them, and His requirements are reasonable and just. He will not accept less of us than He claims; all His righteous demands must be fully met, or they will testify against us that we are weighed in the balances and found wanting. But Jesus watches our efforts with the deepest interest. He knows that men with all the infirmities of humanity are doing His work, and He notes their failures and discouragements with the tenderest pity. But the failures and defects might be far less than they are. If we will move in harmony with heaven, ministering angels will work with us and crown our efforts with success.

This is the great day of preparation, and the solemn work going on in the sanctuary above should be kept constantly

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before the minds of those employed in our various institutions. Business cares should not be allowed to absorb the mind to such a degree that the work in heaven, which concerns every individual, will be lightly regarded. The solemn scenes of the judgment, the great day of atonement, should be kept before the people, and urged upon their consciences with earnestness and power. The subject of the sanctuary will give us correct views of the importance of the work for this time. A proper appreciation of it will lead the workers in the publishing houses to manifest greater energy and zeal to make the work a success. None should become careless, blinded to the wants of the cause and the perils that attend every soul; but each should seek to be a channel of light.

In all our institutions there is too much of self, and too little of Christ. All eyes should turn to our Redeemer, all characters should become like His. He is the model to copy, if we would have well-balanced minds and symmetrical characters. His life was as the garden of the Lord, in which grew every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. While embracing in His soul every lovely trait of character, His sensibility, courtesy, and love brought Him into close sympathy with humanity. He was the creator of all things, sustaining worlds by His infinite power. Angels were ready to do Him homage and to obey His will. Yet He could listen to the prattle of the infant and accept its lisping praise. He took little children in His arms and pressed them to His great heart of love. They felt perfectly at home in His presence and reluctant to leave His arms. He did not look upon the disappointments and woes of the race as a mere trifle, but His heart was ever touched by the sufferings of those He came to save.

The world had lost the original pattern of goodness and had sunk into universal apostasy and moral corruption; and the life of Jesus was one of laborious, self-denying effort to bring man back to his first estate by imbuing him with the spirit of divine benevolence and unselfish love. While in the

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world, He was not of the world. It was a continual pain to Him to be brought in contact with the enmity, depravity, and impurity which Satan had brought in; but He had a work to do to bring man into harmony with the divine plan, and earth in connection with heaven, and He counted no sacrifice too great for the accomplishment of the object. He “was in all points tempted like as we are.” Satan stood ready to assail Him at every step, hurling at Him his fiercest temptations; yet He “did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” “He . . . suffered being tempted,” suffered in proportion to the perfection of His holiness. But the prince of darkness found nothing in Him; not a single thought or feeling responded to temptation.

His doctrine dropped as the rain; His speech distilled as the dew. In the character of Christ was blended such majesty as God had never before displayed to fallen man and such meekness as man had never developed. Never before had there walked among men one so noble, so pure, so benevolent, so conscious of His godlike nature; yet so simple, so full of plans and purposes to do good to humanity. While abhorring sin, He wept with compassion over the sinner. He pleased not Himself. The Majesty of heaven clothed Himself with the humility of a child. This is the character of Christ. Are we walking in His footsteps? O my Saviour, how poorly art Thou represented by Thy professed followers!

Chap. 49 – Business and Religion

Those employed in our various institutions–our publishing houses, our schools, and our health institutions–should have a living connection with God. Especially is it very important that those who have the management of these great branches of the work be men who make the kingdom of God and His righteousness the first consideration. They are not fit for their positions of trust unless they take counsel of God and bear fruit to His glory. They should pursue a course of life

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that will honor their Creator, ennoble themselves, and bless their fellow men. All have natural traits which must be cultivated or repressed, as they shall help or hinder in obtaining a growth in grace, a depth of religious experience.

Those engaged in the work of God cannot serve His cause acceptably unless they make the best use possible of the religious privileges they enjoy. We are as trees planted in the garden of the Lord; and He comes to us seeking the fruit He has a right to expect. His eye is upon each of us; He reads our hearts and understands our lives. This is a solemn search, for it has reference to duty and to destiny; and with what interest is it prosecuted. Let each of those to whom are committed sacred trusts inquire: “How do I meet the inspecting eye of God? Is my heart cleansed from its defilement? or have its temple courts become so desecrated, so occupied with buyers and sellers, that Christ finds no room?” The bustle of business, if continuous, will dry up spirituality and leave the soul Christless. Although they may profess the truth, yet if men pass along day by day with no living connection with God, they will be led to do strange things; decisions will be made not in accordance with the will of God. There is no safety for our leading brethren while they shall go forward according to their own impulses. They will not be yoked up with Christ, and so will not move in harmony with Him. They will be unable to see and realize the wants of the cause, and Satan will move upon them to take positions that will embarrass and hinder.

My brethren, are you cultivating devotion? Is love of religious things prominent? Are you living by faith and overcoming the world? Do you attend the public worship of God? and are your voices heard in the prayer and social meeting? Is the family altar established? Do you gather your children together morning and evening, and present their cases to God? Do you instruct them how to become followers of the Lamb? Your families, if irreligious, testify to your neglect and unfaithfulness. If, while you are connected with the sacred cause of God, your children are careless, irreverent,

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and have no love for religious meetings or sacred truth, it is a sad thing. Such a family exerts an influence against Christ and against the truth; and “he that is not with Me is against Me,” says Christ. The neglect of home religion, the neglect to train your children, is most displeasing to God. If one of your children were in the river, battling with the waves and in imminent danger of drowning, what a stir there would be! What efforts would be made, what prayers offered, what enthusiasm manifested, to save the human life! But here are your children out of Christ, their souls unsaved. Perhaps they are even rude and uncourteous, a reproach to the Adventist name. They are perishing without hope and without God in the world, and you are careless and unconcerned.

What example do you give your children? What order do you have at home? Your children should be educated to be kind, thoughtful of others, gentle, easy to be entreated, and, above everything else, to respect religious things and feel the importance of the claims of God. They should be taught to respect the hour of prayer; they should be required to rise in the morning so as to be present at family worship.

Fathers and mothers who make God first in their households, who teach their children that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, glorify God before angels and before men by presenting to the world a well-ordered, well-disciplined family, a family that love and obey God instead of rebelling against Him. Christ is not a stranger in their homes; His name is a household name, revered and glorified. Angels delight in a home where God reigns supreme, and the children are taught to reverence religion, the Bible, and their Creator. Such families can claim the promise: “Them that honor Me I will honor.” As from such a home the father goes forth to his daily duties, it is with a spirit softened and subdued by converse with God. He is a Christian, not only in his profession, but in trade, in all his business relations. He does his work with fidelity, knowing that the eye of God is upon him.

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In the church his voice is not silent. He has words of gratitude and encouragement to utter; for he is a growing Christian, with a fresh experience every day. He is a helpful, active worker in the church, laboring for the glory of God and the salvation of his fellow men. He would feel condemned and guilty before God were he to neglect to attend public worship, thus failing to improve the privileges that would enable him to do better and more effective service in the cause of truth.

God is not glorified when influential men make themselves mere businessmen, ignoring their eternal interests, that are so much more enduring, so much more noble and elevated, than the temporal. Where should the greatest tact and skill be exercised, if not upon those things that are imperishable, as enduring as eternity? Brethren, develop your talent in the direction of serving the Lord; manifest as much tact and ability in working for the upbuilding of the cause of Christ as you do in worldly enterprises.

There is, I am sorry to say, a great want of earnestness and interest in spiritual things on the part of the heads of many families. There are some who are seldom found in the house of worship. They make one excuse, then another, and still another, for their absence; but the real reason is that their hearts are not religiously inclined. A spirit of devotion is not cultivated in the family. The children are not brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. These men are not what God would have them. They have no living connection with Him; they are purely businessmen. They have not a conciliatory spirit; there is such a lack of meekness, kindness, and courtesy in their deportment that their motives are misconstrued, and the good they really do possess is evil spoken of. If they could realize how offensive their course is in the sight of God, they would make a change.

The work of God should be carried forward by men who have a daily, living experience in the religion of Christ. “Without Me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” None of us are beyond the power of temptation. All who are connected

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with our institutions, our conferences, and our missionary enterprises may ever have the assurance that they have a powerful foe, whose constant aim is to separate them from Christ, their strength. The more responsible the position they occupy, the more fierce will be Satan’s attacks; for he knows that if he can move them to take an objectionable course, others will follow their example. But those who are continually learning in the school of Christ will be able to pursue the even tenor of their way, and Satan’s efforts to throw them off their balance will be signally defeated. Temptation is not sin. Jesus was holy and pure; yet He was tempted in all points as we are, but with a strength and power that man will never be called upon to endure. In His successful resistance He has left us a bright example, that we should follow His steps. If we are self-confident or self-righteous we shall be left to fall under the power of temptation; but if we look to Jesus and trust in Him we call to our aid a power that has conquered the foe on the field of battle, and with every temptation He will make a way of escape. When Satan comes in like a flood, we must meet his temptations with the sword of the Spirit, and Jesus will be our helper and will lift up for us a standard against him. The father of lies quakes and trembles when the truth of God, in burning power, is thrown in his face.

Satan makes every effort to lead people away from God; and he is successful in his purpose when the religious life is drowned in business cares, when he can so absorb their minds in business that they will not take time to read their Bibles, to pray in secret, and to keep the offering of praise and thanksgiving burning on the altar of sacrifice morning and evening. How few realize the wiles of the archdeceiver! how many are ignorant of his devices! When our brethren voluntarily absent themselves from religious meetings, when God is not thought of and reverenced, when He is not chosen as their counselor and their strong tower of defense, how soon secular thoughts and wicked unbelief come in, and vain confidence and philosophy take the place of humble, trusting

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faith. Often temptations are cherished as the voice of the True Shepherd because men have separated themselves from Jesus. They cannot be safe a moment unless right principles are cherished in the heart and carried into every business transaction.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Such a promise is of more value than gold or silver. If with a humble heart you seek divine guidance in every trouble and perplexity, His word is pledged that a gracious answer will be given you. And His word can never fail. Heaven and earth may pass away, but His word will never pass away. Trust in the Lord, and you will never be confounded or ashamed. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.”

Whatever position in life we may occupy, whatever our business, we must be humble enough to feel our need of help; we must lean implicitly on the teachings of God’s word, acknowledge His providence in all things, and be faithful in pouring out our souls in prayer. Lean to your own understanding, dear brethren, as you make your way through the world, and you will reap sorrow and disappointment. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and He will guide your steps in wisdom, and your interests will be safe for this world and for the next. You need light and knowledge. You will take counsel either of God or your own heart; you will walk in the sparks of your own kindling, or will gather to yourself divine light from the Sun of Righteousness.

Do not act from motives of policy. The great danger of our businessmen and those in responsible positions is that they will be turned from Christ to secure some help aside from Him. Peter would not have been left to show such weakness and folly had he not sought by the use of policy to avoid reproach and scorn, persecution and abuse. His highest hopes centered in Christ; but when he saw Him in humiliation, unbelief came in and was entertained. He fell under the power

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of temptation, and, instead of showing his fidelity in a crisis, he wickedly denied his Lord.

For the sake of making money, many divorce themselves from God and ignore their eternal interests. They pursue the same course as the scheming, worldly man, but God is not in this; it is an offense to Him. He would have them prompt to devise and execute plans; but all business matters should be transacted in harmony with the great moral law of God. The principles of love to God and our neighbor must be carried out in all the acts of the daily life, the least as well as the greatest. There must be a spirit to do more than pay tithes on mint, anise, and cummin; the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and the love of God, must not be neglected; for the personal character of each one connected with the work leaves its impress upon it.

There are men and women who have left all for Christ’s sake. Their own temporal interests, their own enjoyment of society and of family and friends, are made of less importance than the interests of the kingdom of God. They have not made houses and lands, and relatives and friends however dear, first in their affections, and God’s cause second. And those who do this, who devote their lives to the advancement of the truth, to bringing many sons and daughters to God, have the promise that they shall have a hundredfold in this life and in the world to come life everlasting. Those who work from a noble standpoint and with unselfish motives will be consecrated to God, body, soul, and spirit. They will not exalt self; they will not feel competent to take responsibilities; but they will not refuse to bear burdens, for they will have a desire to do all that they are capable of doing. These will not study their own convenience; the question with them will be: What is duty?

The more responsible the position, the more essential that the influence be right. Every man whom God has chosen to do a special work becomes a target for Satan. Temptations press thick and fast upon him; for our vigilant foe knows that his course of action has a molding influence upon others.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 pp. 419-428

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