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    Chapter 61—Principles of Family Finance

    Money May Be a Blessing or a Curse—Money is not necessarily a curse; it is of high value because if rightly appropriated, it can do good in the salvation of souls, in blessing others who are poorer than ourselves. By an improvident or unwise use, ... money will become a snare to the user. He who employs money to gratify pride and ambition makes it a curse rather than a blessing. Money is a constant test of the affections. Whoever acquires more than sufficient for his real needs should seek wisdom and grace to know his own heart and to keep his heart diligently, lest he have imaginary wants and become an unfaithful steward, using with prodigality his Lord's entrusted capital.AH 372.1

    When we love God supremely, temporal things will occupy their right place in our affections. If we humbly and earnestly seek for knowledge and ability in order to make a right use of our Lord's goods, we shall receive wisdom from above. When the heart leans to its own preferences and inclinations, when the thought is cherished that money can confer happiness without the favor of God, then the money becomes a tyrant, ruling the man; it receives his confidence and esteem and is worshiped as a god. Honor, truth, righteousness, and justice are sacrificed upon its altar. The commands of God's word are set aside, and the world's customs and usages, which King Mammon has ordained, become a controlling power.1Letter 8, 1889.AH 372.2

    Seek Security in Home Ownership—If the laws given by God had continued to be carried out, how different would be the present condition of the world, morally, spiritually, and temporally. Selfishness and self-importance would not be manifested as now, but each would cherish a kind regard for the happiness and welfare of others.... Instead of the poorer classes being kept under the iron heel of oppression by the wealthy, instead of having other men's brains to think and plan for them in temporal as well as in spiritual things, they would have some chance for independence of thought and action.AH 372.3

    The sense of being owners of their own homes would inspire them with a strong desire for improvement. They would soon acquire skill in planning and devising for themselves; their children would be educated to habits of industry and economy, and the intellect would be greatly strengthened. They would feel that they are men, not slaves, and would be able to regain to a great degree their lost self-respect and moral independence.2Historical Sketches of The S.D.A. Foreign Mission, 165, 166.AH 373.1

    Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can obtain a small piece of land and make a home for themselves and their children.3 General Conference Bulletin, Church and Sabbath School, April 6, 1903.AH 373.2

    Caution Regarding Selling Homes—There are poor men and women who are writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes and give the proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they want to do something for the Master, who has done everything for them. I would say to such: “It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now, but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers for wisdom to understand your duty.”4Testimonies for the Church 5:734.AH 373.3

    God does not now call for the houses His people need to live in; but if those who have an abundance do not hear His voice, cut loose from the world, and sacrifice for God, He will pass them by and will call for those who are willing to do anything for Jesus, even to sell their homes to meet the wants of the cause.5The Review and Herald, September 16, 1884.AH 373.4

    A Praiseworthy Independence—Independence of one kind is praiseworthy. To desire to bear your own weight and not to eat the bread of dependence is right. It is a noble, generous ambition that dictates the wish to be self-supporting. Industrious habits and frugality are necessary.6Testimonies for the Church 2:308.AH 374.1

    Balancing the Budget—Many, very many, have not so educated themselves that they can keep their expenditures within the limit of their income. They do not learn to adapt themselves to circumstances, and they borrow and borrow again and again and become overwhelmed in debt, and consequently they become discouraged and disheartened.7The Review and Herald, December 19, 1893.AH 374.2

    Keep a Record of Expenditures—Habits of self-indulgence or a want of tact and skill on the part of the wife and mother may be a constant drain upon the treasury; and yet that mother may think she is doing her best because she has never been taught to restrict her wants or the wants of her children and has never acquired skill and tact in household matters. Hence one family may require for its support twice the amount that would suffice for another family of the same size.AH 374.3

    All should learn how to keep accounts. Some neglect this work as nonessential, but this is wrong. All expenses should be accurately stated.8Gospel Workers, 460.AH 374.4

    The Evils of Spendthrift Habits—The Lord has been pleased to present before me the evils which result from spendthrift habits, that I might admonish parents to teach their children strict economy. Teach them that money spent for that which they do not need is perverted from its proper use.9Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 63.AH 374.5

    If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life at once. Unless you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. Habits of economy, industry, and sobriety are a better portion for your children than a rich dowry.AH 375.1

    We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God would have us repress. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants.10The Review and Herald, December 24, 1903.AH 375.2

    A Parent Reproved for Extravagance—You do not know how to use money economically and do not learn to bring your wants within your income.... You have an eager desire to get money, that you may freely use it as your inclination shall dictate, and your teaching and example have proved a curse to your children. How little they care for principle! They are more and more forgetful of God, less fearful of His displeasure, more impatient of restraint. The more easily money is obtained, the less thankfulness is felt.11Letter 8, 1889.AH 375.3

    To a Family Living Beyond Its Means—You ought to be careful that your expenses do not exceed your income. Bind about your wants.AH 375.4

    It is a great pity that your wife is so much like you in this matter of expending means so that she cannot be a help to you in this direction, to watch the little outgoes in order to avoid the larger leaks. Needless expenses are constantly brought about in your family management. Your wife loves to see her children dress in a manner beyond their means, and because of this, tastes and habits are cultivated in your children which will make them vain and proud. If you would learn the lesson of economy and see the peril to yourselves and to your children and to the cause of God in this free use of means, you would obtain an experience essential to the perfection of your Christian character. Unless you do obtain such an experience, your children will bear the mold of a defective education as long as they live....AH 375.5

    I would not influence you to hoard up means—it would be difficult for you to do this—but I would counsel you both to expend your money carefully and let your daily example teach lessons of frugality, self-denial, and economy to your children. They need to be educated by precept and example.12Letter 23, 1888.AH 376.1

    A Family Called to Self-denial—I was shown that you, my brother and sister, have much to learn. You have not lived within your means. You have not learned to economize. If you earn high wages, you do not know how to make it go as far as possible. You consult taste or appetite instead of prudence. At times you expend money for a quality of food in which your brethren cannot afford to indulge. Dollars slip from your pocket very easily.... Self-denial is a lesson which you both have yet to learn.13Testimonies for the Church 2:431, 432.AH 376.2

    Parents should learn to live within their means. They should cultivate self-denial in their children, teaching them by precept and example. They should make their wants few and simple, that there may be time for mental improvement and spiritual culture.14The Review and Herald, June 24, 1890.AH 376.3

    Indulgence Not an Expression of Love—Do not educate your children to think that your love for them must be expressed by indulgence of their pride, extravagance, and love of display. There is no time now to invent ways for using up money. Use your inventive faculties in seeking to economize.15Testimonies for the Church 6:451.AH 376.4

    Economy Consistent With Generosity—The natural turn of youth in this age is to neglect and despise economy and to confound it with stinginess and narrowness. But economy is consistent with the most broad and liberal views and feelings; there can be no true generosity where it is not practiced. No one should think it beneath him to study.16Ibid., 5:400.AH 377.1

    The Other Extreme—Unwise Economy—God is not honored when the body is neglected or abused and is thus unfitted for His service. To care for the body by providing for it food that is relishable and strengthening is one of the first duties of the householder. It is far better to have less expensive clothing and furniture than to stint the supply of food.AH 377.2

    Some householders stint the family table in order to provide expensive entertainment for visitors. This is unwise. In the entertainment of guests there should be greater simplicity. Let the needs of the family have first attention.AH 377.3

    Unwise economy and artificial customs often prevent the exercise of hospitality where it is needed and would be a blessing. The regular supply of food for our tables should be such that the unexpected guest can be made welcome without burdening the housewife to make extra preparation.17The Ministry of Healing, 322.AH 377.4

    Our economy must never be of that kind which would lead to providing meager meals. Students should have an abundance of wholesome food. But let those in charge of the cooking gather up the fragments that nothing be lost.18Testimonies for the Church 6:209.AH 377.5

    Economy does not mean niggardliness, but a prudent expenditure of means because there is a great work to be done.19Letter 151, 1899.AH 378.1

    Provide Conveniences to Lighten Wife's Labor—Brother E's family live in accordance with the principles of strictest economy.... Brother E had conscientiously decided not to build a convenient woodshed and kitchen for his large family, because he did not feel free to invest means in personal conveniences when the cause of God needed money to carry it forward. I tried to show him that it was necessary for the health as well as the morals of his children that he should make home pleasant and provide conveniences to lighten the labor of his wife.20Letter 9, 1888.AH 378.2

    Wife's Allowance for Personal Use—You must help each other. Do not look upon it as a virtue to hold fast the purse strings, refusing to give your wife money.21Letter 65, 1904.AH 378.3

    You should allow your wife a certain sum weekly and should let her do what she please with this money. You have not given her opportunity to exercise her tact or her taste because you have not a proper realization of the position that a wife should occupy. Your wife has an excellent and a well-balanced mind.22Letter 47, 1904.AH 378.4

    Give your wife a share of the money that you receive. Let her have this as her own, and let her use it as she desires. She should have been allowed to use the means that she earned as she in her judgment deemed best. If she had had a certain sum to use as her own, without being criticized, a great weight would have been lifted from her mind.23Letter 157, 1903.AH 378.5

    Seek Comfort and Health—Brother P has not made a judicious use of means. Wise judgment has not influenced him as much as have the voices and desires of his children. He does not place the estimate that he should upon the means in his hands, and expend it cautiously for the most needful articles, for the very things he must have for comfort and health. The entire family need to improve in this respect. Many things are needed in the family for convenience and comfort. The lack of appreciating order and system in the arrangement of family matters leads to destructiveness and working to great disadvantage.24Testimonies for the Church 2:699.AH 379.1

    We cannot make the heart purer or holier by clothing the body in sackcloth or depriving the home of all that ministers to comfort, taste, or convenience.25The Review and Herald, May 16, 1882.AH 379.2

    God does not require that His people should deprive themselves of that which is really necessary for their health and comfort, but He does not approve of wantonness and extravagance and display.26The Review and Herald, December 19, 1893.AH 379.3

    Learn When to Spare and When to Spend—You should learn to know when to spare and when to spend. We cannot be Christ's followers unless we deny self and lift the cross. We should pay up squarely as we go; gather up the dropped stitches; bind off your raveling edges, and know just what you can call your own. You should reckon up all the littles spent in self-gratification. You should notice what is used simply to gratify taste and in cultivating a perverted, epicurean appetite. The money expended for useless delicacies might be used to add to your substantial home comforts and conveniences. You are not to be penurious; you are to be honest with yourself and your brethren. Penuriousness is an abuse of God's bounties. Lavishness is also an abuse. The little outgoes that you think of as not worth mentioning amount to considerable in the end.27Letter 11, 1888.AH 379.4

    The Surrendered Heart Will Be Guided—It is not necessary to specify here how economy may be practiced in every particular. Those whose hearts are fully surrendered to God, and who take His word as their guide, will know how to conduct themselves in all the duties of life. They will learn of Jesus, who is meek and lowly of heart; and in cultivating the meekness of Christ, they will close the door against innumerable temptations.28Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 63.AH 380.1

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