Ellen G. White Writings

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Ms 7, 1902

Ms 7, 1902

God’s Stewards to Deal Justly

NP

January 26, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

In carrying on the different lines of work, those laboring in our institutions should reach a high standard. Many have consumers and not producers. Let all realize the necessity of studying to economize. But if economy is not practiced by saving the pence, unnecessary losses will be sustained, and debts will accumulate. Christ’s instruction, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost,” sounds down along the line to us in this time. [John 6:12.]

The Lord calls for faithful stewards—stewards who realize that God expects them to preserve their individuality. All who are connected with our sanitariums should now take up their work manfully. They are not to be dependent upon men, or to submerge their identity in any institution. For the strength he receives, the human agent is wholly dependent upon God. How foolish it is for God’s servants to reach out and take hold of human power! Unless that which is imparted by man comes from the Source of all strength, it is of no value. The word of the Lord to every man is: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” [Isaiah 27:5.]

It is high time for us to understand the responsibility resting upon us individually. We should read the sixth chapter of Isaiah. The prophet declares: “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” [Verses 1-4.]

Let the eyes of every one be turned from visible to invisible things. As never before, we are in need of a spiritual awakening. Continuing, the prophet says: “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips [a people who do not practice what they say]: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” [Verse 5.] Why did Isaiah come to this conclusion? He was given a vision of the Lord’s glory, and this made him sensible of the great contrast between the purity and holiness of God and the sinful course of the professed people of God—a people who had neglected to bring into their business transactions principles of strict integrity, equity and justice, mercy and compassion. Because men had not walked in the great light with which they were blessed, judicial blindness and hardness of heart came upon them. The value of the many words spoken by them was measured by the degree of strictness with which they obeyed heaven-sent counsels.

“Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” [Verses 6-8.] This represents the position in which the people of God should stand at the present time. “And He said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.” [Verse 9.]

With attentive ears and perceptive minds some will hear the message. The Holy Spirit will move with power through all of God’s people who realize that a deep and thorough transformation must take place in the heart—a transformation represented by the touching of the lips of God’s servant with a live coal.

In this vision, Isaiah saw God seated on a throne in the most holy place, above the ark containing His commandments, and surrounded by the cherubim and His appointed attendants—His ministers. From this holy place the glory shone forth. Those who are now engaged in carrying forward the work of the Lord in the earth should have their eyes fixed upon this place where the Lord is enthroned. They should obtain their orders from the Lord God of heaven.

We have a risen, ascended Saviour. Through the uplifted gates He entered heaven as our representative and the representative of all His people. We have an Advocate with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous. Today He is pleading in our behalf. With His own blood He has redeemed us. And He will lift up His people to sit together with Him in heavenly places. He has given the assurance that as He was raised from the dead, even so shall all His followers be raised from their graves. He has promised that those who believe on Him shall be justified, and those whom He justifies, He will also glorify. He is our head, our hope, our rejoicing. Have we not every reason to rejoice, and to sing praises to our Redeemer?

Christ said to His disciples, “If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [John 16:7.] After Christ’s ascension, the disciples were joyful, not because He had left them, but because He had ascended to stand in the presence of His Father, that He might secure for His waiting, praying, watching Church on earth the gift of the Holy Spirit. And while the disciples were praying in an upper chamber, the Saviour’s promise was verified. The Comforter came to the bereaved Church, and the apostles became mighty in power as the Holy Spirit rested upon them. God’s chosen messengers “out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” [Hebrews 11:34.]

Christ is to be known by the blessed name of Comforter. “The Comforter,” said Christ to His disciples, “which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [John 14:26, 27.]

Christ does not permit us to exercise a spirit of lording it over His heritage. By His death Christ purchased the world for His heritage. All who love the Saviour will love those for whom He has given His life. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ.” [Ephesians 1:3.]

In His last intercessory prayer, Christ pleaded, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” [John 17:20.] That embraces all who have lived and believed in Christ Jesus and all who live at the present time.

“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” [Verse 21.] Oneness, harmony, unity of spirit with the Saviour—these are the signs by which Christians may be distinguished. These are the credentials that we bear to the world to show that Christ is the Son of the living God, and that He is able to give salvation, even eternal life, to all who believe in Him.

“And the glory (character) which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verses 22, 23.] When shall we take hold of God’s work in earnest? We all need a deeper, broader experience. When we are one with Christ, we shall be at unity with one another, and shall manifest steadfast loyalty to God, to the Word of God, and to our brethren.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” [Verse 3.] Here is our confidence, our trust. We must set ourselves at the task of laying hold upon eternal realities. We must link up with Christ, that we may be hid with Him in God. When we understand this union, we shall not depend upon human agencies for strength. Then God will be to us all and in all.

Christ made His soul an offering for sin. Thus He made it possible for man to hate sin—that which requires such an offering, such a sacrifice, to rescue the sinner from its terrible influence. In the Saviour’s memorable prayer, He claims much. To His Father He declared, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” The great conflict was yet before Him. “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” [Verses 4, 5.] In representing to the world His Father’s attributes, He cast over God’s character no shadow to dim its glory. He revealed to the world His Father’s likeness. In neither word nor action did He perpetuate sin.

In this same prayer Christ said, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word.” [Verse 6.] Can we in these words see the wonderful possibilities set before us? From us Christ expects much. Concerning His faithful followers, He will declare to the Father, “They have kept Thy Word.”

Have not many in positions of responsibilities thought that their position glorified the human agent? Have not many lost their spirit of subjection to God’s Word? Many have not been sanctified through the truth. They continue to do those things that are sinful in God’s sight. Is it not time for us to begin to search the heart, that we may discern what manner of spirit we are of? Is it not time for us to cease to corrupt our ways before God? I wish to impress upon every man, however exalted he may have been or is, that exaltation is retained only through an appropriation of the truth to the sanctification of body, soul, and spirit. Only in this way is it possible to be a partaker of the divine nature, having overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Continuing His prayer, Christ pleaded: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.” [Verses 9, 10.] Will Christ say concerning us, “I am glorified in them?” Is the spiritual character such that God is glorified? Should not a thorough work be done even in the hearts of men who have long known the truth, but who have not been careful to make earnest efforts to glorify Christ in themselves individually? O, what a lesson this prayer should teach every one who bears any responsibility in God’s service! Shall there not be a deep searching of the heart to detect the real motives prompting wrong words and actions? Have the eyes become so blinded that men cannot discern what is sin and what is righteousness?

It is time that there should be a spiritual awakening in every sanitarium, every publishing house, every divinely established institution. Let the workers connected with these institutions awake to a realization of their sacred trust, that Christ may not be compelled to say, “Take these things hence.” “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” [John 2:16; Matthew 21:13.] Charges that men do not anticipate will come. Unfaithful stewardship must be met and accounted for. There is now a need of most thorough self-examination. Shall unholy works testify against us as a people? The true believer in Christ Jesus will be conscientious in every transaction, because the live coal from the altar has touched and cleansed his lips. He will have confidence in his brethren and sisters.

I have been instructed to say that we are not to show selfishness in seeking to secure superior advantages for the line of work in which we are engaged, to the detriment of some other line of work. Too often when God has provided money for all branches of His work, this money has been selfishly appropriated to assist only a few branches. Thus many needy fields have been deprived of means—fields in which God’s people were praying for the Lord’s special favor and help to enable them to carry on the work. The means that God has stirred the hearts of His people to give to such fields has sometimes, even after having been set aside for these fields, been appropriated to serve for other purposes. Man has ventured to step in and intercept the means that was being forwarded to barren fields, and the money has never been received by the ones to whom it was sent. A covetous eye has been on such gifts, and a grasping spirit has caused men to divert the money, that they might please themselves and advance the branch of the work in which they were especially interested.

How much loyalty to the commandments of God can be expected of those who do these things? The Lord desires men to discern between the evil and the good. He calls upon every man to stand in his lot and place and to obey the commandment “Thou shalt not steal.” [Exodus 20:15.] God calls for a reformation. He desires men and women to be ennobled, purified, sanctified. He desires all to be so cleansed in thought, in spirit, in attributes, that they will reveal to others that they have been molded by the Holy Spirit.

Not a few are trying to work the Holy Spirit according to their own ideas. But we are not to act according to our own impressions, striving to do those things that will make the best possible showing in our portion of the Lord’s vineyard, to the neglect of other portions. God marks every such action. When He sends blessings and advantages to His vineyard, let not a few workers in one portion of the vineyard seek to grasp every advantage possible and leave the other portions barren and unworked. Every part of the vineyard is to be worked with reference to the other parts. Thus will be verified Christ’s words, “There shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” [John 10:16.]

I have a message for the church: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” [Revelation 3:14-17.]

This message from Christ is applicable to us as a people. The description is not overwrought or exaggerated. Many professed Christians are so out of harmony with the truth and the law of God, many have so little purity and holiness, that Christ will not take their names upon His lips. He will spue them out of His mouth. He is calling upon His people to cleanse the soul-temple from the selfish, greedy, grasping spirit that so often leads them to depart from principles of equity and justice. The temple-courts are filled with merchandise. By unprincipled actions in buying and selling, many have virtually made the temple-courts a den of thieves. Losing sight of the sacred character of truth, they have dishonored its principles. When they hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches, many will repent before God; but many others who have become hardened in the practice of unrighteousness will refuse to fall on the Rock and be broken.

When the apostles stood in their appointed places and began to do the work entrusted to them, they became mighty in word and in deed. God enabled them to write the gospels—to trace with accuracy the incidents to which they had been eye-witnesses, giving us a record of the truths uttered by our Saviour and showing us things to come.

And to us the Lord will manifest Himself as one who can save to the uttermost. Brethren, while God has entrusted to us talents for which we are held responsible to Him only—while He requires us to preserve our individuality—yet He desires every one to be so closely united with Christ Jesus that man’s personal identity will be hid with Christ in God. Christ is our only sure dependence.

Shall we not maintain our individuality and feel the weight of our personal responsibility? While we should respect and love one another, we are to remember that no man can fight our battles for us. Every one has his appointed work, and his salvation depends upon taking up his work and accomplishing that which God has appointed him to do. Let every one look to Jesus as his sufficiency. Because human agents have not realized that God alone is their sufficiency, great spiritual weakness has resulted. If we yield our individuality to other men, allowing them to think and to act for us, we become weaklings; for we obtain no experience of our own.

Gradually there has been coming in a spirit of selfishness, greed, and boasting. Such a spirit Christ will not countenance. “I counsel thee,” He says, “to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 18-22.]

A covetous, grasping spirit is the most dangerous thing that can possibly come into a man’s life. Without truth enthroned in the heart, without a thorough conversion from darkness to light, ministers will become blind leaders of the blind. They will be as “clouds ... without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” [Jude 12, 13.]

How long will those who claim to be God’s children continue to scheme to gain advantages for the institution with which they are connected to the detriment of some other institution? How long will they continue thus to indulge covetousness, irrespective of God’s Word and the testimonies that condemn this hateful sin?

True love for God and unselfish love for our neighbor have almost become extinct. O what a change must take place in the hearts of unrighteous religionists degraded by the perversion of piety and virtue! O that they would practice the faith which elevates, ennobles, sanctifies! The description of the condition of the Laodicean Church is a faithful delineation of our own spiritual state. Will our churches in every place heed the Laodicean message and be converted?

Let all these representations be urged home upon men and women, that they may seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.]

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