Ellen G. White Writings

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East Michigan Banner

September 29, 1909

God's Just Claim Upon the Wealth of the World

The Example of Nehemiah

Letters of inquiry have come to me regarding the advisability of carrying out the Harvest Ingathering plan. In answer, I would refer all to the example of Nehemiah. When about to journey to Jerusalem with the hope of restoring the walls about the stricken city of his fathers, he frankly told King Artaxerxes of the work he contemplated doing, and requested help to insure the success of the enterprise. He obtained a letter to the keeper of the king's forest in the mountains of Lebanon, directing him to furnish such timber as would be needed for the wall of Jerusalem, and the buildings that were to be erected. And the means which he lacked, he solicited from those who were able to bestow.

The Lord still moves upon the hearts of kings and rulers in behalf of his people. Those who are laboring for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give for the advancement of His cause. The agents through whom these gifts come, may open ways by which the light of truth may be given to many benighted lands. These men may have no sympathy with God's work, no faith in Christ, no acquaintance with His Word; but their gifts on this account are not to be refused.

Divine Ownership

Some may question the propriety of receiving gifts from unbelievers. Let such ask themselves: “Who is the real owner of our world? To whom belong its houses and lands, and its treasures of gold and silver?

Although now almost wholly in the possession of wicked men, all the world, with its riches and treasure, belong to God. “The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.” “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” “Every beast of the forest is Mine, and all the birds of the mountains; and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell thee; for the world is Mine and the fulness thereof.”

God has an abundance in our world, and He has placed His goods in the hands of all, both the obedient and disobedient. He is ready to work upon the hearts of worldly men even idolaters, to give of their abundance for the support of His work; and He will do this as soon as His people learn to approach these men wisely and to call their attention to that which it is their privilege to do. If the needs of the Lord's work were set forth in a proper light before those who have means and influence, these men might do much to advance the cause of present truth. God's people have lost many privileges of which they could have taken advantage, had they not chosen to stand independent of the world.

Why Not Ask?

The people of the world have had the use of the Lord's vineyard and have brought in little in return. Why not ask them for assistance? I have received instruction that there are men and women in the world who have sympathetic hearts, and who will be touched with compassion as the needs of suffering humanity are presented before them.

There are many of every nationality who have wealth and intellectual powers. It is the Lord Jesus who has given them their ability and wealth. These gifts are a trust wherewith the Lord's vineyard is to be worked. We would that their souls might be drawn out in liberality to aid us in our Christian endeavor work. They should be invited to second our efforts in seeking to save that which is lost. It will do no harm to let them know that you expect them to co-operate with you, and that you expect them to give joy to the heart of Christ by using every one of His gifts in honoring His name.

A Good Exchange

The Lord has placed His goods in the hands of unbelievers; all may return to Him His own for the doing of the work that must be done for a fallen world. As long as we are in this world, as long as the Spirit of God strives with the children of men, so long are we to receive favors as well as to impart them. We are to give to the world the light of truth, as revealed in the Scriptures; and we are to receive from the world that which God moves upon them to give in behalf of His cause.

How to Make Haste

The end is near, stealing upon us stealthily, imperceptibly, like the noiseless approach of a thief in the night. May the Lord grant that we shall no longer sleep as do others, but that we shall watch and be sober. The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God will triumph with it. The time is short; the night soon cometh when no man can work.

A few faithful missionaries are even now planting the standard of truth in fields far away. Publications are multiplying in many languages. These silent messengers are enlightening thousands. But as a people we come far short of moving forward as fast as the providence of God open the way. Our General gives the command, “Go forward.” Thousands are thirsting for living truth. The Macedonian cry is coming to us from every direction, “Come over and help us.” We look about us, and inquire, “Who will go?” O that every follower of Jesus might respond: Send me. I long to do something for my Master.”

Soul Famine Across the Seas

Time and again I have had presented before me a vision of people across the broad ocean, standing in perplexity, and pale with anxiety, earnestly inquiring, “What is truth?” They say, “We want the bread of life. Our churches are backslidden from God. We want to find the old paths. We want to come back to the simplicity of the gospel religion.” My tears flow as I see this picture rising vividly before me. The voice from heaven pleads, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” While so great a work needs to be done, shall not we, as Christ's followers, arouse to a sense of our God-given responsibility, and be active in doing our part?

Let those who are rejoicing in the light of present truth, now make haste to impart the truth to others. The Lord is inquiring, “Whom shall I send?” Those who wish to sacrifice for truth's sake, are now to respond. “Here am I, Lord, send me.”

Ellen G. White.

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