Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2, pp. 659-668 Day 137

The talents of means, be they five, two, or one, are to be improved. Those who have a large amount of means are responsible for a large number of talents. But the comparatively poor men are not released from responsibility. Those who have but little of this world are represented as having one talent. Yet they are in just as great danger of having too great love for that little, and of selfishly retaining it from the cause of God, as are the more wealthy. They do not sense their danger. They apply the stirring reproofs addressed in the word of God to the lovers of this world, to the rich alone, while they themselves may be in even greater danger than the more wealthy. Whether they have much or little, all are required to put their talents out to the exchangers, that when the Master comes He may receive His own with usury. They are also required to maintain a consecration to God and an unselfish interest in His cause and work. Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, they are to believe His promise that all things shall be added. In comparison with every other consideration the salvation of the souls of their fellow men should be primary, but this is not generally the case. If there is a neglect anywhere, it is the cause of God that must suffer. God has lent men talents, not to foster their pride, or to excite in them envy, but to be used by them to His glory. He has made these men agents to disperse the means with which to carry forward the work of the salvation of men. Christ has given them an example in His life. He left all His heavenly riches and splendor, and for our sakes became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich. It is not the plan of God to rain down means from heaven in order that His cause may be sustained. He has entrusted, or deposited, ample means with men, that there shall be no lack in any department of His work. He proves those who profess to love Him by placing means in their hands, and then tries them to see if they love the gift better than the Giver. God will reveal, in time, the true feelings of the heart.

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In order to advance the cause of God, means are necessary. God has provided for this necessity by placing an abundance in the hands of His agents to use in any department of the work where it may be required in the labor of saving souls. Every soul saved is a talent gained. If truly converted, the one brought to a knowledge of the truth will, in his turn, use the talents of influence and of means which God has given him, in working for the salvation of his fellow men. He will engage with earnestness in the great work of enlightening those who are in darkness and error. He will be instrumental in saving souls. Thus the talents of influence and means are continually exchanging and constantly increasing. When the Master comes, the faithful servant is prepared to return Him both principal and interest. By his fruits he can show the increase of talents that he has gained to return to the Master. The faithful servant will then have done his work, and the Master, whose reward is with Him to give every man according as his work shall be, will return to that faithful servant both principal and interest.

In His word the Lord has plainly revealed His will to those who have riches. But because His direct commands have been slighted, He mercifully presents their dangers before them through the Testimonies. He does not give new light, but calls their attention to the light that has already been revealed in His word. If those who profess to love the truth are holding on to their riches and, failing to obey the word of God, do not seek opportunities to do good with that which He has entrusted to them, He will come closer and will scatter their means. He will come near to them with judgments. He will in various ways scatter their idols. Many losses will be sustained. The souls of the selfish shall be unblest. But “the liberal soul shall be made fat.” Those who honor God, He will honor.

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The Lord made a covenant with Israel that, if they would obey His commandments, He would give them rain in due season, the land should yield her increase, and the trees of the field should yield their fruit. He promised that their threshing should reach unto the vintage and the vintage unto the sowingtime, and that they should eat their bread to the full and dwell in their land safely. He would make their enemies to perish. He would not abhor them, but would walk with them and would be their God, and they should be His people. But if they disregarded His requirements, He would deal with them entirely contrary to all this. His curse should rest upon them in place of His blessing. He would break their pride of power and would make the heavens over them as iron and the earth as brass. “Your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto Me,” “then will I also walk contrary unto you.”

Those who are selfishly withholding their means need not be surprised if God’s hand scatters. That which should have been devoted to the advancement of the work and cause of God, but which has been withheld, may be entrusted to a reckless son, and he may squander it. A fine horse, the pride of a vain heart, may be found dead in the stable. Occasionally a cow may die. Losses of fruit or other crops may come. God can scatter the means He has lent to His stewards, if they refuse to use it to His glory. Some, I saw, may have none of these losses to remind them of their remissness in duty, but their cases may be the more hopeless.

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Jesus warned the people: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” He then addressed His disciples: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.”

These warnings are given for the benefit of all. Will they improve the warnings given? Will they be benefited? Will they regard these striking illustrations of our Saviour and shun the example of the foolish rich man? He had an abundance; so have many who profess to believe the truth, and they are acting over the case of the poor, foolish rich man. Oh, that they would be wise and feel the obligations resting upon them to use the blessings that God has given them in blessing others, instead of turning them into a curse. God will say to all such, as to the foolish rich man: “Thou fool.”

Men act as though they were bereft of their reason. They are buried up in the cares of this life. They have no time to devote to God, no time to serve Him. Work, work, work, is the order of the day. All about them are required to labor upon the high-pressure plan, to take care of large farms. To tear down and build greater is their ambition, that they may have wherewith to bestow their goods. Yet these very men who are weighed down with their riches pass for Christ’s followers. They have the name of believing that Christ is soon to come, that the end of all things is at hand; yet they have no spirit of sacrifice. They are plunging deeper and deeper into the world. They allow themselves but little time to study the word of life and to meditate and pray. Neither do they give others in their family, or those who serve them, this privilege. Yet these men profess to believe that this world is not their home, that they are merely pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, preparing to move to a better country. The example and influence of all such is a curse to the cause of God. Hollow hypocrisy characterizes their professed Christian lives. They love God and the truth just as much as their works show, and no more. A man will act out all the faith he has. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” The heart is where the treasure is. Their treasure is upon this earth, and their hearts and interests are also here.

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“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?” “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” When those who profess the faith show their lives to be consistent with their faith, then we shall see a power attending the presentation of the truth, a power that will convict the sinner and draw souls nigh to Christ.

A consistent faith is rare among rich men. Genuine faith, sustained by works, is seldom found. But all who possess this faith will be men who will not lack influence. They will copy after Christ; they will possess that disinterested benevolence, that interest in the work of saving souls, that He had. The followers of Christ should value souls as He valued them. Their sympathies should be with the work of their dear Redeemer, and they should labor to save the purchase of His blood, at any sacrifice. What are money, houses, and lands in comparison with even one soul?

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Christ made a full and complete sacrifice, a sacrifice sufficient to save every son and daughter of Adam who should show repentance toward God for having transgressed His law, and manifest faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet notwithstanding the sacrifice was ample, but few consent to a life of obedience that they may have this great salvation. Few are willing to imitate His amazing privations, to endure His sufferings and persecutions, and to share His exhausting labor to bring others to the light. But few will follow His example in earnest, frequent prayer to God for strength to endure the trials of this life and perform its daily duties. Christ is the Captain of our salvation, and by His own sufferings and sacrifice He has given an example to all His followers that watchfulness and prayer, and persevering effort, were necessary on their part if they would rightly represent the love which dwelt in His bosom for the fallen race.

Men of property are dying spiritually because of their neglect to use the means God has placed in their hands to aid in saving their fellow men. Some become aroused at times and resolve that they will make to themselves friends with the unrighteous mammon, that they may finally be received into everlasting habitations. But their efforts in this direction are not thorough. They commence, but, not being heartily and thoroughly in earnest in the work, they make a failure. They are not rich in good works. While lingeringly retaining their love and grasp of their earthly treasures, Satan outgenerals them.

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A flattering prospect may be presented to invest in patent rights or some other supposed brilliant enterprise around which Satan throws a bewitching enchantment. The prospect of getting more money, fast and easily, allures them. They reason that, although they had resolved to put this money into the treasury of God, they will use it in this instance, and will greatly increase it, and will then give a larger sum to the cause. They can see no possibility of a failure. Away goes the means out of their hands, and they soon learn, to their regret, that they have made a mistake. The brilliant prospects have faded. Their expectations are not realized. They were deceived. Satan outgeneraled them. He was more shrewd than they, and he managed to get their means into his ranks and thus deprive the cause of God of that which should have been used to sustain it in extending the truth and saving souls for whom Christ died. They lost all they had invested, and robbed God of that which they should have rendered to Him.

Some who have been entrusted with only one talent excuse themselves because they have not as large a number of talents as those to whom are entrusted many talents. Like the unfaithful steward they hide the one talent in the earth. They are afraid to render to God that which He has entrusted to them. They engage in worldly enterprises, but invest little, if anything, in the cause of God. They expect that those who have large talents will bear the burden of the work, while they feel that they are not responsible for its advancement and success.

When the master comes to reckon with his servants, the unwise servants will acknowledge with confusion: “I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed; and I was afraid [Afraid of what? That the Lord would claim some portion of the small talent entrusted to them], and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” His Lord will answer: “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed; thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming, I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

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Many who have but little of this world are represented by the man with one talent. They are afraid to trust God. They are afraid that He will require something which they claim to be their own. They hide their talent in the earth, fearing to invest it anywhere, lest they will be called to give back the improvements to God. Instead of putting the talent out to the exchangers, as God required, they bury it, or hide it, where neither God nor man can be benefited by it. Many who profess to love the truth are doing this very work. They are deceiving their own souls, for Satan has blinded their eyes. In robbing God, they have robbed themselves more. Because of covetousness and an evil heart of unbelief, they have deprived themselves of the heavenly treasure. Because they have but one talent, they are afraid to trust it with God, and so hide it in the earth. They feel relieved of responsibility. They love to see the truth progress, but do not think that they are called upon to practice self-denial and aid the work by their own individual effort and by their means, although they have not a large amount.

All should do something. The case of the widow who cast in her two mites is placed upon record for the benefit of others. Christ commended her for the sacrifice she made and called the attention of His disciples to the act: “Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: for all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.” Christ esteemed her gift more valuable than the large offerings of the most wealthy. They gave of their abundance. They would not feel the least privation because of their offerings. But the widow had deprived herself of even the necessaries of life to make her little offering. She could not see how her future wants were to be supplied. She had no husband to support her in want. She trusted God for the morrow. The value of the gift is not estimated so much by the amount that is given as by the proportion and by the motive which prompts the gift. When Christ shall come, whose reward is with Him, He will give every man according as his work shall be.

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All, both high and low, rich and poor, have been entrusted by the Master with talents; some more, some less, according to their several ability. The blessing of God will rest upon the earnest, loving, diligent workers. Their investment will be successful and will secure souls to the kingdom of God and an immortal treasure to themselves. All are moral agents, and all are entrusted with the goods of heaven. The talents are proportioned according to the capabilities possessed by each.

God gives to every man his work, and He expects returns according to the various trusts bestowed. He does not require the increase of ten talents from the man to whom He has given only one talent. He does not expect the man of poverty to give alms as the man who has riches. He does not expect of the feeble and suffering the activity and strength which the healthy man has. The one talent, used to the best account, God will accept, “according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”

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God calls us servants, which implies that we are employed by Him to do a certain work and bear certain responsibilities. He has lent us capital for investment. It is not our property, and we displease God if we hoard up our Lord’s goods or spend them as we please. We are responsible for the use or abuse of that which God has thus lent us. If this capital which the Lord has placed in our hands lies dormant, or we bury it in the earth, even if it is only one talent, we shall be called to an account by the Master. He requires, not ours, but His own with usury.

Every talent which returns to the Master will be scrutinized. The doings and trusts of God’s servants will not be considered an unimportant matter. Every individual will be dealt with personally and will be required to give an account of the talents entrusted to him, whether he has improved or abused them. The reward bestowed will be proportionate to the improvement of the talents. The punishment awarded will be according as the talents have been abused.

The inquiry of each one should be: What have I of my Lord’s, and how shall I use it to His glory? “Occupy,” says Christ, “till I come.” The heavenly Master is on His journey. Our gracious opportunity is now. The talents are in our hands. Shall we use them to God’s glory, or shall we abuse them? We may trade with them today, but tomorrow our probation may end and our account be forever fixed.

If our talents are invested for the salvation of our fellow men, God will be glorified. Pride and position are made apologies for extravagance, vain show, ambition, and profligate selfishness. The Lord’s talents, lent to man as a precious blessing, will, if abused, reflect upon him a terrible curse. Riches may be used by us to advance the cause of God and to relieve the wants of the widow and the fatherless. In so doing, we gather to ourselves rich blessings. Not only shall we receive expressions of gratitude from the recipients of our bounties, but the Lord Himself, who has placed the means in our hands for this very purpose, will make our souls like a watered garden whose waters fail not. When the reaping time shall come, who of us will have the inexpressible joy of seeing the sheaves we have gathered, as a recompense of our fidelity and our unselfish use of the talents the Lord has placed in our hands to use for His glory?

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 2 pp. 659-668


Pioneer Prayer

Please pray over these Testimonies requests together in person, on the phone, by text, or WhatsApp. Invite others to register for one year of prayer before General Conference 2022. Visit www.RevivalPlan.com/pioneerprayer to register. Revival awaits! God bless.

  1. Father, thank You for the financial resources You have given us.
  2. Let us maintain consecration to You, and an unselfish interest in Your cause and work.
  3. Thank You that if we seek first Your kingdom and righteousness, all needed blessings will be added to us.
  4. May our primary consideration be the salvation of souls.
  5. Let us be Your agents to disperse Your means.
  6.  Help us follow Christ’s example of sacrifice.
  7. Grant us needed resources to advance Your cause.
  8.  Bless the governments of the countries in which we reside.
  9. Please bless our local mission’s leadership, projects, and needs.
  10. Please bless our leaders as they prepare for Annual Council.
  11. Please bless the preparations for General Conference Session, 2020.

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