(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.
15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.
19 When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of the house,
1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack.
4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good?
9 Now his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, conspired against him as he was in Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza, steward of his house in Tirzah.
4 So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority.
34 So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. 35 The Lord has blessed my master greatly, and he has become great; and He has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. 36 And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and to him he has given all that he has. 37 Now my master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell; 38 but you shall go to my father’s house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.’
14 Then it was revealed in my hearing by the Lord of hosts,
“Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you,
Even to your death,” says the Lord God of hosts.
15 Thus says the Lord God of hosts:
“Go, proceed to this steward,
To Shebna, who is over the house, and say:
16 ‘What have you here, and whom have you here,
That you have hewn a sepulcher here,
As he who hews himself a sepulcher on high,
Who carves a tomb for himself in a rock?
17 Indeed, the Lord will throw you away violently,
O mighty man,
And will surely seize you.
18 He will surely turn violently and toss you like a ball
Into a large country;
There you shall die, and there your glorious chariots
Shall be the shame of your master’s house.
Christ has purchased us by the price of His own blood. He has paid the purchase money for our redemption, and if we will lay hold upon the treasure, it is ours by the free gift of God.
“How much owest thou unto my Lord?” Luke 16:5. It is impossible to tell. All that we have is from God. He lays His hand upon our possessions, saying: “I am the rightful owner of the whole universe; these are My goods. Consecrate to Me the tithes and offerings. As you bring these specified goods as a token of your loyalty and your submission to My sovereignty, My blessing shall increase your substance, and you will have abundance.”
God is testing every soul that claims to believe in Him. All are entrusted with talents. The Lord has given men His goods upon which to trade. He has made them His stewards, and has placed in their possession money, houses, and lands. All these are to be regarded as the Lord’s goods and used to advance His work, to build up His kingdom in the world. In trading with the Lord’s goods, we are to seek Him for wisdom, that we may not use His sacred trust to glorify ourselves or to indulge selfish impulses. The amount entrusted varies, but those who have the smallest gifts must not feel that because their talent of means is small, they can do nothing with it.
Every Christian is a steward of God, entrusted with His goods. Remember the words: “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2. Let us be sure that we are not robbing God in any jots or tittles, for much is involved in this question. All things belong to God. Men may ignore His claims. While He bountifully bestows His blessings upon them, they may use His gifts for their own selfish gratification; but they will be called to give an account for their stewardship.
A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master’s stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master’s interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord’s goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him.
The Lord has made the proclamation of the gospel dependent upon the labors and the voluntary gifts of all His people. The one who proclaims the message of mercy to fallen men has another work also—to set before the people the duty of sustaining the work of God with their means. He must teach them that a portion of their income belongs to God and is to be sacredly bestowed to His work. This lesson he should present by both precept and example; he should beware that he does not by his own course lessen the force of his teaching.
That which has been set apart according to the Scriptures as belonging to the Lord constitutes the revenue of the gospel and is no longer ours. It is no better than sacrilege for a man to take from God’s treasury in order to serve himself or to serve others in their secular business. Some have been at fault in diverting from the altar of God that which has been especially dedicated to Him. All should regard this matter in the right light. Let no one, when brought into a strait place, take money consecrated to religious purposes and use it for his advantage, soothing his conscience by saying that he will repay it at some future time. Far better cut down the expenses to correspond with the income, to restrict the wants, and live within the means than to use the Lord’s money for secular purposes.
God has given special direction as to the use of the tithe. He does not design that His work shall be crippled for want of means. That there may be no haphazard work and no error, He has made our duty on these points very plain. The portion that God has reserved for Himself is not to be diverted to any other purpose than that which He has specified. Let none feel at liberty to retain their tithe, to use according to their own judgment. They are not to use it for themselves in an emergency, nor to apply it as they see fit, even in what they may regard as the Lord’s work.
The minister should, by precept and example, teach the people to regard the tithe as sacred. He should not feel that he can retain and apply it according to his own judgment because he is a minister. It is not his. He is not at liberty to devote to himself whatever he thinks is his due. He should not give his influence to any plans for diverting from their legitimate use the tithes and offerings dedicated to God. They are to be placed in His treasury and held sacred for His service as He has appointed.
God desires all His stewards to be exact in following divine arrangements. They are not to offset the Lord’s plans by performing some deed of charity or giving some gift or some offering when or how they, the human agents, shall see fit. It is a very poor policy for men to seek to improve on God’s plan, and invent a makeshift, averaging up their good impulses on this and that occasion, and offsetting them against God’s requirements. God calls upon all to give their influence to His own arrangement. He has made His plan known, and all who would co-operate with Him must carry out this plan instead of daring to attempt an improvement on it.
The Lord instructed Moses, for Israel: “Thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.” Exodus 27:20. This was to be a continual offering, that the house of God might be properly supplied with that which was necessary for His service. His people today are to remember that the house of worship is the Lord’s property and that it is to be scrupulously cared for. But the funds for this work are not to come from the tithe.
A very plain, definite message has been given to me for our people. I am bidden to tell them that they are making a mistake in applying the tithe to various objects which, though good in themselves, are not the object to which the Lord has said that the tithe should be applied. Those who make this use of the tithe are departing from the Lord’s arrangement. God will judge for these things. One reasons that the tithe may be applied to school purposes. Still others reason that canvassers and colporteurs should be supported from the tithe. But a great mistake is made when the tithe is drawn from the object for which it is to be used—the support of the ministers. There should be today in the field one hundred well qualified laborers where now there is but one.
48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
16 He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’
3 “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’
5 “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light.
9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. 10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
God has a deep and earnest love for every member of the human family; not one is forgotten, not one is left helpless and deceived to be overcome by the enemy. And if those who have enlisted in the army of Christ will put on the whole armor of God, and wear it, they will be proof against all the assaults of the enemy. Those who really desire to be taught of God, and to walk in His way, have the sure promise that if they feel their lack of wisdom and ask of God, He will give liberally, and upbraid not. The apostle says, “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” God is behind every promise, and we cannot dishonor Him more than by questioning and hesitating, by asking and not believing, and then by talking doubt. If you do not immediately receive what you have asked for, will you go on in sullenness and unbelief? Believe; believe that God will do just what He has promised. Keep your prayers ascending, and watch, work, and wait. Fight the good fight of faith. Say to your heart, “God has invited me to come. He has heard my prayer. He has pledged His word that he will receive me, and He will fulfil His promise. I can trust God; for He so loved me that He gave His only-begotten Son to die for me. The Son of God is my Redeemer.” “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?”
The youth who enter and continue their school life with the true object before them, will not be homesick or disappointed. They will not be restless and uneasy, not knowing what to do with themselves. They will find a helper in the Omnipotent One. They will have one aim in view, and that is to be men and women of principle, who will meet God’s standard, and benefit humanity and glorify God. They will not regard their school life as a time for pleasure seeking, for idle amusement and foolish frolic, but will endeavor to make the most of their God-given opportunities and privileges, so that they shall not disappoint their parents and teachers, or grieve God and heavenly intelligences.
It is a solemn thing to die, but it is a far more solemn thing to live, and to form a character that will qualify us to enter the school in the heavenly courts above. We are living in an enemy’s land, and we may expect difficulty and conflict. The youth will have to be able to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. It is not best that their path should be made perfectly smooth and easy, that they should be supplied with money, and not taught to feel the necessity of practicing self-denial and economy.
When a youth is making up his mind that he wants to obtain an education, he should carefully consider what is his motive in going to school? He should ask himself, How shall I best employ my time so as to reap all the benefit possible from my opportunities and privileges? Shall I put on the whole armor of God which has been provided for me by the gift of the only-begotten Son of God? Shall I open my heart to the Holy Spirit, that every faculty and energy may be aroused, which God has given me in trust? I am Christ’s property, and am employed in His service. I am a steward of His grace.
Although, to your human judgment, some who profess Christianity do not meet your measurement of Christian character, you should not grieve the heart of Christ by living an inconsistent life; for others are in danger of being influenced by your wrong course of action. You are fighting for the crown of life, and should not rest satisfied in meeting a low standard.
The Lord accepts no halfway work; there must be on your part no blundering in the sacred work of God. Do not trust yourself, but surrender your will and ideas and ways to God, and do His will alone. Live to please Him who thought you of such value that He gave Jesus, His only-begotten Son, to save you from your sins. Through His merit, you may be accepted. In your school life ever keep before you the thought that what is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Depend upon God for wisdom, that you may not discourage one soul in right doing. Work with Christ in drawing souls to Him.
But it will not do for you, while condemning half-hearted work in others, while pointing out their errors, to fail to do as well as they do, because you will not place yourself on the side of right and loyalty. Even though the rules and regulations seem needlessly exacting, be obedient to them; for you may err in your experience. Do your very best in everything you undertake. Jesus is your Saviour, and rely upon Him to help you day by day, that you may not sow tares, but the good seed of the kingdom.
35 “Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; 36 and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.38 And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 40 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”
42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
7 “Can you search out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
1 Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
The Eternal Word
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Brother A: In your letter in regard to the temptations of Christ, you say if He was one with God He could not fall. Imagine, if you can, yourself in Christ's stead in the wilderness. There is no human voice you hear, but you are surrounded with demons under deceptive pretensions as angels from heaven in the most seducing attractions presenting Satan's wily insinuations against God, as he did to our first parents. His sophistry is most deceiving and artful in undermining your confidence in God, destroying your faith and your trust, and keeping your mind on a constant strain so that he can get one clue that he can use to his own advantage to allure you into a controversy, as if reading your thoughts to which you will not give utterance, just as he did to Eve.
He could not obtain from Christ one word to lead him on. The word, "It is "written," was spoken" from point to point as he tested Him. But only the quotation of His own words that He had inspired the holy men of old to write would come from Christ's lips. All the great leading temptations wherewith man was beset were artfully presented. Weakened by fasting, Christ's mental sufferings made this ordeal most severe. Forty days and forty nights did He endure this strain. Never were assaults of the prince of darkness more fearful. His fiery darts were surely aimed but they found no lodgment.
The point you inquire of me is, In our Lord's great scene of conflict in the wilderness, apparently under the power of Satan and his angels, was He capable, in His human nature, of yielding to these temptations?
I will try to answer this important question: As God He could not be tempted: but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations. His human nature must pass through the same test and trial Adam and Eve passed through. His human nature was created; it did not even possess the angelic powers. It was human, identical with our own. He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. He was now where, if He endured the test and trial in behalf of the fallen race, He would redeem Adam's disgraceful failure and fall, in our own humanity.
A human body and a human mind were His. He was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. He was subjected to poverty from His first entrance into the world. He was subject to disappointment and trial in His own home, among His own brethren. He was not surrounded, as in the heavenly courts, with pure and lovely characters. He was compassed with difficulties. He came into our world to maintain a pure, sinless character, and to refute Satan's lie that it was not possible for human beings to keep the law of God. Christ came to live the law in His human character in just that way in which all may live the law in human nature if they will do as Christ was doing. He had inspired holy men of old to write for the benefit of man: "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me." Isa. 27:5.
Abundant provision has been made that finite, fallen man may so connect with God that, through the same Source by which Christ overcame in His human nature, he may stand firmly against every temptation, as did Christ. He was subject to inconveniences that human nature is subjected to. He breathed the air of the same world we breathe. He stood and traveled in the same world we inhabit, which we have positive evidence was no more friendly to grace and righteousness than it is today.
The higher attributes of His being it is our privilege to have, if we will, through the provisions He has made, appropriate these blessings and diligently cultivate the good in the place of the evil. We have reason, conscience, memory, will, affections--all the attributes a human being can possess. Through the provision made when God and the Son of God made a covenant to rescue man from the bondage of Satan, every facility was provided that human nature should come into union with His divine nature. In such a nature was our Lord tempted. He could have yielded to Satan's lying suggestions as did Adam, but we should adore and glorify the Lamb of God that He did not in a single point yield one jot or one tittle.
Through being partakers of the divine nature we may stand pure and holy and undefiled. The Godhead was not made human, and the human was not deified by the blending together of the two natures. Christ did not possess the same sinful, corrupt, fallen disloyalty we possess, for then He could not be a perfect offering.
Christ did not seek to be thought great, and yet He was the Majesty of heaven, equal in dignity and glory with the infinite God. He was God manifested in the flesh. What a rebuke is the life of Christ to everything like self-conceit, self-exaltation, seeking to be great among men! He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Wonder, O heaven, and be astonished, O earth! The divine nature in the person of Christ was not transformed in human nature and the human nature of the Son of man was not changed into the divine nature, but they were mysteriously blended in the Saviour of men. He was not the Father but in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and yet He calls to a suffering world, "Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.".
12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
"His Glory Covered the Heavens, And the Earth Was Full of His praise."
Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity. Nature testifies of God. The susceptible mind, brought in contact with the miracle and mystery of the universe, cannot but recognize the working of infinite power. Not by its own inherent energy does the earth produce its bounties, and year by year continue its motion around the sun. An unseen hand guides the planets in their circuit of the heavens. A mysterious life pervades all nature--a life that sustains the unnumbered worlds throughout immensity, that lives in the insect atom which floats in the summer breeze, that wings the flight of the swallow and feeds the young ravens which cry, that brings the bud to blossom and the flower to fruit.
The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the star and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart's action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same--a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator's will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one's self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin.
To him who learns thus to interpret its teachings, all nature becomes illuminated; the world is a lesson book, life a school. The unity of man with nature and with God, the universal dominion of law, the results of transgression, cannot fail of impressing the mind and molding the character.
These are lessons that our children need to learn. To the little child, not yet capable of learning from the printed page or of being introduced to the routine of the schoolroom, nature presents an unfailing source of instruction and delight. The heart not yet hardened by contact with evil is quick to recognize the Presence that pervades all created things. The ear as yet undulled by the world's clamor is attentive to the Voice that speaks through nature's utterances. And for those of older years, needing continually its silent reminders of the spiritual and eternal, nature's teaching will be no less a source of pleasure and of instruction. As the dwellers in Eden learned from nature's pages, as Moses discerned God's handwriting on the Arabian plains and mountains, and the child Jesus on the hillsides of Nazareth, so the children of today may learn of Him. The unseen is illustrated by the seen. On everything upon the earth, from the loftiest tree of the forest to the lichen that clings to the rock, from the boundless ocean to the tiniest shell on the shore, they may behold the image and superscription of God.
So far as possible, let the child from his earliest years be placed where this wonderful lesson book shall be open before him. Let him behold the glorious scenes painted by the great Master Artist upon the shifting canvas of the heavens, let him become acquainted with the wonders of earth and sea, let him watch the unfolding mysteries of the changing seasons, and, in all His works, learn of the Creator.
In no other way can the foundation of a true education be so firmly and surely laid. Yet even the child, as he comes in contact with nature, will see cause for perplexity. He cannot but recognize the working of antagonistic forces. It is here that nature needs an interpreter. Looking upon the evil manifest even in the natural world, all have the same sorrowful lesson to learn--"An enemy hath done this." Matthew 13:28.
Only in the light that shines from Calvary can nature's teaching be read aright. Through the story of Bethlehem and the cross let it be shown how good is to conquer evil, and how every blessing that comes to us is a gift of redemption.
In brier and thorn, in thistle and tare, is represented the evil that blights and mars. In singing bird and opening blossom, in rain and sunshine, in summer breeze and gentle dew, in ten thousand objects in nature, from the oak of the forest to the violet that blossoms at its root, is seen the love that restores. And nature still speaks to us of God's goodness.
"I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil." Jeremiah 29:11. This is the message that, in the light from the cross, may be read upon all the face of nature. The heavens declare His glory, and the earth is full of His riches.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Through the failure of canvassers to meet their indebtedness, our tract societies have been involved in debt; they cannot meet their obligations to the publishing houses; thus these institutions become embarrassed, and their work is hindered. Some canvassers have thought themselves ill-treated when required to make prompt payment to the publishers for books received, but prompt remittal is the only successful way of conducting business.
The loose manner in which some canvassers have performed their work shows that they have important lessons to learn. Much haphazard work has been presented before me. By laxness in secular affairs some have formed habits of carelessness and slackness, and they have brought this deficiency into the Lord's work.
God calls for decided improvement in the various branches of the work. The business done in connection with His cause should be marked with greater precision and exactness. There must be firm, decided effort to bring about essential reforms.
"Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord negligently." Jeremiah 48:10, margin.
"If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person?" Malachi 1:8. "Cursed be the deceiver, which . . . voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a blemished thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and My name is terrible." Verse 14, R.V.
God desires to bring men into direct relation with Himself. In all His dealings with human beings He recognizes the principle of personal responsibility. He seeks to encourage a sense of personal dependence and to impress the need of personal guidance. His gifts are committed to men as individuals. Every man has been made a steward of sacred trusts; each is to discharge his trust according to the direction of the Giver; and by each an account of his stewardship must be rendered to God.
In all this, God is seeking to bring the human into association with the divine, that through this connection man may become transformed into the divine likeness. Then the principle of love and goodness will be a part of his nature. Satan, seeking to thwart this purpose, constantly works to encourage dependence upon man, to make men the slaves of men. When he thus succeeds in turning minds away from God, he insinuates his own principles of selfishness, hatred, and strife.
In all our dealing with one another, God desires us carefully to guard the principle of personal responsibility to and dependence upon Him. It is a principle that should be especially kept in view by our publishing houses in their dealing with authors.
It has been urged by some that authors have no right to hold the stewardship of their own works; that they should give their works over to the control of the publishing house or of the conference; and that, beyond the expense involved in the production of the manuscript, they should claim no share of the profit; that this should be left with the conference or the publishing house, to be appropriated, as their judgment shall direct, to the various needs of the work. Thus the author's stewardship of his work would be wholly transferred from himself to others.
But not so does God regard the matter. The ability to write a book is, like every other talent, a gift from Him, for the improvement of which the possessor is accountable to God; and he is to invest the returns under His direction. Let it be borne in mind that it is not our own property which is entrusted to us for investment. If it were, we might claim discretionary power; we might shift our responsibility upon others, and leave our stewardship with them. But this cannot be, because the Lord has made us individually His stewards. We are responsible to invest this means ourselves. Our own hearts are to be sanctified; our hands are to have something to impart, as occasion demands, of the income that God entrusts to us.
It would be just as reasonable for the conference or the publishing house to assume control of the income which a brother receives from his houses or lands as to appropriate that which comes from the working of his brain.
Nor is there justice in the claim that, because a worker in the publishing house receives wages for his labor, his powers of body, mind, and soul belong wholly to the institution, and it has a right to all the productions of his pen. Outside the period of labor in the institution, the worker's time is under his own control, to use as he sees fit, so long as this use does not conflict with his duty to the institution. For that which he may produce in these hours, he is responsible to his own conscience and to God.
No greater dishonor can be shown to God than for one man to bring another man's talents under his absolute control. The evil is not obviated by the fact that the profits of the transaction are to be devoted to the cause of God. In such arrangements the man who allows his mind to be ruled by the mind of another is thus separated from God and exposed to temptation. In shifting the responsibility of his stewardship upon other men, and depending on their wisdom, he is placing man where God should be. Those who are seeking to bring about this shifting of responsibility are blinded as to the result of their action, but God has plainly set it before us. He says: "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm." Jeremiah 17:5.
Let not authors be urged either to give away or to sell their right to the books they have written. Let them receive a just share of the profits of their work; then let them regard their means as a trust from God, to be administered according to the wisdom that He shall impart.
9 There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
19 When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of the house,
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
6 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
8 And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.