Mrs. E. G. White
After King David, in the presence of the men in positions of responsibility in his kingdom, had outlined his plans regarding the building of the temple, he appealed to them to co-operate with Solomon in carrying forward this work. “Who,” he asked of the assembled multitude, “is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?”
The response came not only in liberal offerings of treasures to meet the expense of the building, but also in willing service in the various lines of God's work. Hearts were filled with a desire to return to the Lord his own, by consecrating to his service all the energies of mind and body. Those upon whom had been placed burdens of state, determined to labor heartily and unselfishly, using for God the skill and ability he had given them.
David's exhortation to Solomon, and his appeal to the burden-bearers of the nation, should be kept in mind by those who are in positions of trust in the Lord's cause today. In this our day God's people will prosper only so long as they keep his precepts; and those who bear responsibilities are called upon to consecrate their service to the Lord. Conference officers, church officers, managers and heads of departments in our institutions, laborers in the field at home and abroad,—all are to render faithful service by using their talents wholly for God. The Lord is not pleased with half-hearted service. To him we owe all that we have and are.
To all engaged in his service, the Lord gives wisdom. The tabernacle to be borne from place to place in the wilderness, and the temple at Jerusalem, were built in accordance with special directions from God. Throughout the ages, God has been particular as to the design and the accomplishment of his work. In this age, he has given his people much light and instruction in regard to how his work is to be carried forward,—in an elevated, refined, conscientious manner; and he is pleased with those who in their service carry out his design. Only those who, feeling their own inefficiency, obey implicitly the Lord's commands, can be retained in his service.
Uzzah meddled with the ark, notwithstanding the plain command of the Lord to regard it with fear and trembling, and to keep it sacred. He had to be removed from the Lord's work. God changes not. Today he is just as desirous as in the days of Uzzah that men shall know his ways, and that they shall reverence the methods he has outlined for their guidance. They are to carry out the plans he has devised. When men feel that it is unimportant to obey a “Thus saith the Lord” in carrying forward his work, but that their own plans should be followed, they thereby evidence unfitness for any position of trust in his cause. In every effort to advance the interests of his work, we must lose sight of self, and keep in view God's glory.
Satan's propositions appear to present great advantages, but they end in ruin. Over and over again men have found out by experience the result of choosing to follow the plans of men rather than the plans that God has made for us. Will not others gain wisdom from their experience? Let us be afraid of any plans that are not heaven-born.
Often the professed followers of Christ are found with hearts hardened and eyes blinded, because they do not obey the truth. Selfish motives and purposes take possession of the mind. In their self-confidence they suppose that their way is the way of wisdom. They are not particular to follow exactly the path that God has marked out. They declare that circumstances alter cases, and when Satan tempts them to follow worldly principles, they yield, and, making crooked paths for their feet, they lead others astray. The inexperienced follow where they go, supposing that the judgment of Christians so experienced must be wise.
Those in positions of responsibility who follow their own way are held responsible for the mistakes of those who are led astray by their example. “Shall I not judge for these things?” God asks.
There are those who think that they can improve upon the plan that the Lord has given; that they can mark out for themselves a course better than the course he has marked out for them. Such ones, choosing the things that be of men, harden their hearts against God's leading, and follow their own way. Unless they repent, the time will come when they will look upon the utter failure of their life-work. Man's wisdom, exercised without Christ's guidance, is a dangerous element.
Any recognition or exaltation gained apart from God is worthless; for it is not honored in heaven. To have the approval of men does not win God's approval. Those who would be acknowledged by God in the day of judgment, must here listen to his counsels and be governed by his will. Only thus can they receive the rich blessings that will fit them to receive his commendation. They must hold fast to the truth until the end, refusing to be drawn from their allegiance by any ambitious projects.
We have not realized fully the importance of studying the counsel given by the Lord, through David, to Solomon, regarding those who are unworthy of confidence. Those who prove untrue are to be dealt with in accordance with the wisdom that God will impart. Never are God's servants to look upon disaffection, scheming, and deception as virtues; those in responsibility are to manifest their decided disapproval of all unfaithfulness in business and spiritual matters. And they are to choose as counselors in every line of work, only those men in whom they can repose the utmost confidence.
In the sixteenth chapter of First Corinthians we read: “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” Those who are elevated to official positions in the Lord's work are ever to guard against incurring the guilt of rash speech, of unfaithfulness, of betrayal of sacred trusts. And only so long as they discharge aright their responsibilities, are they to be retained in office.
Those who bear responsibilities must be wide-awake. It is not the man who drifts with circumstances, and who in an emergency indorses questionable moves, who wins the respect of his fellow men and the approval of heaven. It is the man who, like a rock meeting the tide, stands firm against evil who commands respect. In a crisis, when many are not fully decided as to the right course, the one who moves steadfastly in the path that God has marked out, with unshaken determination carrying out God's plans, is the one who wins confidence as a man fit to command. Those who occupy positions of responsibility should know what saith the Lord, and they should then stand unflinchingly for the right, stemming the tide of evil.