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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 57, 1901

    Robbing God


    July 4, 1901

    This manuscript is published in entirety in RH 12/03/1901, 12/10/1901. +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.

    The Lord desires His people to realize that selfishness is the great sin of the world, and that it has also become the prevailing sin of the church. The Lord has been greatly dishonored by the failure of the church to impart of their means for the advancement of the work which He desires to see going forward with power. I entreat my brethren and sisters throughout the world to awaken to the responsibility which rests upon them to pay a faithful tithe. Do not allow lax principles to lead you to rob God. Keep a faithful account with your Creator. Realize fully the importance of being just with Him who has divine foreknowledge. Let every one search his heart diligently. Let him look up his accounts and find out how he stands as related to God.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 1

    He who gave His only begotten Son to die for you has made a covenant with you. He gives you His blessings, and in return He requires you to bring Him your tithes and offerings. No one will ever dare to say that there was no way in which he could understand in regard to this matter. God’s plan regarding tithes and offerings is definitely stated in the third chapter of Malachi. God calls upon His human agents to be true to the contract He has made with them. “Bring ye all the tithes into my storehouse,” He says, “that there may be meat in mine house.” [Verse 10.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 2

    Duty is duty and should be performed for its own sake. But the Lord has compassion upon us in our fallen condition and accompanies His commands with promises. He calls upon His people to prove Him, declaring that He will reward obedience with the richest blessings. “Prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes; and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 10, 11.] He encourages us to give to Him, declaring that the returns He makes to us will be proportionate to our gifts to Him. “He that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” [2 Corinthians 9:6.] “God is not unrighteous to forget your work and your labor of love.” [Hebrews 6:10.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 3

    How tender, how true God is with us. He has given us in Christ the richest blessings. Through Him He has put His signature upon the contract He has made with us. Are we trifling with God, selfishly robbing Him of the returns He has declared we should make to Him?16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 4

    The Lord speaks, saying, “Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.” [Malachi 3:9, 7.] Souls are perishing in sin because church members are robbing God, lavishing indulgences upon themselves, while the treasury of God is poorly supplied with funds. Thus God is dishonored and His cause is impoverished. There are not means enough in the treasury to supply God’s laborers in the field of service. Christ looks upon a vineyard unworked, a world unwarned, with wickedness increasing on every hand. Men and women are spending the Lord’s goods in selfish gratification, preparing for the fearful punishment which must come upon them unless they repent.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 5

    The treasury must be supplied with funds, that Christian missions may be set in operation and supported. Schools must be established, that the youth may be prepared to stand at the last day. The multitudes going to ruin must be labored for. For the accomplishment of this good work, the tithes and offerings of the people of God are needed. Let church members do their very best in this matter. Withhold not your offering because it is small. If it is given with a willing mind and an understanding heart, the Lord will accept it, and in His hands it will be many times increased.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 6

    Can we not reason from cause to effect? Can we not see that because of our slothfulness in trading on the Lord’s goods, because of our selfishness in refusing to return to Him His own portion, His work is retarded?16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 7

    When Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the applause of the multitude was at its height. Hosannas were on the lips of the people; but the Saviour felt no joy. He beheld the city and wept over it, saying, “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” [Luke 19:42.] He saw the thousands and thousands soon to be involved in the terrible destruction of the doomed city. How deep must His emotion have been as He thought of the nation which had forged its own fetters, sealed its own doom, gathered about it the cloud of Jehovah’s wrath. “You have defiantly resisted all my pleadings,” He said. “Again and again I have averted the bolts of justice. In love I have waited for your penitence and repentance. I have borne with you as a man beareth with his own son that serveth him. But ye would not come unto me that ye might have life.”16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 8

    But Christ’s agonizing tears were not shed only for Jerusalem. He wept as He thought of the terrible retribution to fall upon an unrepentant world. God says to His people today, “It is my desire that you shall exemplify before a world sunken in sin and selfishness the sinlessness of the Redeemer’s character. By the testimony you bear, men and women are to understand that this is the day of healing, the day of opportunity.”16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 9

    Is not the divine Messenger knocking at the door of the heart for entrance? Is not the Spirit striving with sinners? Has not Christ invited sin-sick souls to sit at His feet and learn of Him, to wear His yoke of submission and obedience? Has He not traversed the length and breadth of the land, scattering blessings in His path? How many who claim to believe on Him have learned His lessons of kindness, of tender pity, of unselfish love? Hear His voice speaking to the weak, the weary, the helpless, “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.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] Will you not let grace soften the heart of stone? There is no wearying of His patience, no repressing of His love.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 10

    Christ calls upon us to labor patiently and perseveringly for the thousands perishing in their sins, scattered in all lands like wrecks on a desert shore. Those who share in Christ’s glory must share also in His ministry. Help the weak, the wretched, the desponding. Over and over again repeat the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, ... and I will give you rest.” [Verse 28.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 11

    For our present and eternal good God has given us temporal and spiritual blessings. He expects and enjoins upon us to become servants of His love, to impart to others the grace He has bestowed upon us. We are to act as His helping hand. No narrow, indolent selfishness is to be cherished. We are to inquire, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” [Acts 9:6.] Those who love Christ will love the souls for whom He gave His life, and will daily reveal this love. Cherish not a narrow, self-centered religion. Let the members of the church arouse. Christ calls upon them to be earnest, energetic, persevering workers. Those who truly believe in Christ and truly love Him are drawn by Him to act a part in the great, grand work of heaven’s love, giving thanks to God for His unspeakable gift.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 12

    Think of God’s boundless compassion. He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Think of the Saviour’s matchless love. While we were yet sinners, Christ died to save us from eternal death. In return for the great love wherewith Christ has loved you, you are to bring to Him your thank offering. You are to make a gratitude offering of yourself—your time, your talents, your affections—all are to flow to the world in a tide of love for the saving of the lost. Jesus has made it possible for you to accept His love, and in happy co-operation with Him, to work under its fragrant influence. He requires you to use your possessions in unselfish service, that His plan for the salvation of souls shall be carried forward with power. He requires you to give your undivided energies to His work. To have your name on the church books does not make you a Christian. You are to bring your gifts to the altar of sacrifice, co-operating with God to the utmost of your ability, that through you He may reveal the beauty of His truth. Withhold nothing from the Saviour. All is His. You would have nothing to give did He not first give to you.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 13

    Men monopolize that which God has lent them, as though it were their own property, to do with as they please. Selfishness has come in and has appropriated to itself that which belongs to God. This is covetousness, which is idolatry. When their power to grasp wealth is gratified, they think that their possessions make them of value in the sight of God. This is a snare, a deception of Satan. What do outward pomp and show avail? What do men and women gain by pride and self-indulgence? “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul, or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] Worldly treasure is fleeting. Only through Christ can we obtain eternal riches. The wealth that He gives is beyond all computation. Having found God, you are supremely rich in the contemplation of His treasure. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 14

    Ask yourself the question, What am I doing with the Lord’s talents? Are you placing yourselves where the words are applicable to you, “Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation?” [Malachi 3:9.] We are living in a time of solemn privilege and sacred trust, a time in which our destiny is being decided for life or for death. Let us come to our senses. You who claim to be children of God, bring your tithes to His treasury. Make your offerings willingly and abundantly, according as God has prospered you. Remember that the Lord has entrusted you with talents, upon which you are to trade diligently for Him. Remember also that the faithful servant takes no credit to himself. All the praise and glory is given to the Lord. “Thou deliveredst unto me thy pound.” [See Luke 19:11-27.] No gain could have been made unless there had first been a deposit. There could have been no interest without the principle. The capital was advanced by the Lord. Success in trading comes from Him, and to Him belongs the glory.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 15

    O, if all who have a knowledge of the truth would only obey the teaching of this truth! O, why is it that men, standing on the very threshold of the eternal world, are so blinded? There is not a dearth of means, generally speaking among Seventh-day Adventists. But many Seventh-day Adventists fail to realize the responsibility which rests upon them to co-operate with God and Christ for the saving of souls. They do not show forth to the world the great interest God has in sinners. They do not make the most of the opportunities granted to them. The leprosy of selfishness has taken hold of the church. The Lord Jesus Christ will heal the church of this terrible disease if she will be healed. The remedy is found in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 16

    Let us all work while the day lasts, for the night cometh, in which no man can work. Let us work, “knowing the time that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” [Romans 13:11-14.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 17

    To us has been given the greatest wealth of truth ever committed to mortals. God desires us to have a true understanding of the words, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” [John 17:17, 18.] Enlarge your hearts. Embrace more and still more of the heavenly goods. Work as for your life. Having found the source of true happiness, the heart extends to take in the world. Those who have tasted the joy of salvation long to take to others the same joy.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 18

    What shall we render to God for all His benefits to us? Does the weight of your obligation to your Creator rest heavily upon you? Are you seeking to save the souls who are perishing in sin? Do you realize that now is the time to work for the Master, that now is the time to bring your tithes and offerings into the storehouse? Upon His people God has placed the solemn charge of representing Him in this world. “Ye are the light of the world,” He says to them. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14, 16.] If the truth is not carried into new territory, if the warning message is not given to those who are in darkness, the church will be held responsible.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 19

    Rightly appreciate the gifts of influence and property. Rightly estimate the value of the capital entrusted to you. It places you where you are held responsible to see and relieve the needs of God’s cause. Labor for the advancement of the interests which are dearest to the heart of God. With your money, your time, your strength, your influence, work for the upbuilding of these influences. The Lord God of Israel needs the co-operation of every soul, because there is a large field to be worked.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 20

    Hasten, my brethren and sisters, to bring to God a faithful tithe, and to bring Him also a willing thank offering. There are many who will not be blessed till they make restitution of the tithe which they have withheld. God is waiting for you to redeem the past. The hand of the holy law is laid upon every soul who enjoys God’s benefits. Let those who have kept back their tithe make an accurate reckoning, and bring to the Lord that of which they have robbed His work. Make restitution, and bring the Lord peace offerings. “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] If you acknowledge that you have done wrong in misappropriating His goods, and freely and fully repent, He will forgive your transgression.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 21

    In heaven the angelic beings delight to do the will of God. On earth shall we be backward? God is waiting for you to bring your means to His treasury that there may be meat in His house. First consecrate yourselves to Him; then bring to Him your gifts.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 22

    Wonderful blessing attended the liberality of the early Christian church. Paul writes, “Our hope of you is steadfast, knowing that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. ... Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.” [2 Corinthians 1:7, 11, 12.] “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give, not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. ... being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving.” [2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 11.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 23

    Unselfish liberality threw the early church into a transport of joy. The members knew that thus the power of God was being borne to the needy. Their benevolent energy testified that they had not received the grace of God in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit through the Word? In the eyes of believers and unbelievers it was a miracle of grace.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 24

    We too often fail to tell of God’s faithfulness in rewarding those who obey Him. By murmuring and complaining, men darken their own pathway and the pathway of others. It is to be regretted that the church today feels so little inclination to express thanksgiving to the Lord for enriching her with His grace, for giving her His talent of means, that she may have wherewith to supply His treasury.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 25

    The barren portions of the Lord’s vineyard cry to God, saying, Men have neglected to care for me. By allowing their fellow beings to remain in the bondage of want and degradation, men and women allow Satan to reproach God for permitting His children to suffer for the necessities of life. God is insulted by the indifference of those to whom He has entrusted His goods. His stewards refuse to notice the distress which they might relieve. Thus they bring a reproach upon God.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 26

    Let no one trifle with his responsibilities. Even though you are not trading upon dollars, but only upon cents, remember that the blessing of God rests upon unwearied diligence. He does not despise the day of small things. A wise use of the littles will bring a wonderful increase. One talent wisely used will bring two to God. Interest is expected in proportion to the entrusted capital. God accepts according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 27

    God calls for what you owe Him in tithes and offerings. He calls for consecration in every line of His work. Unite with Christ. Act faithfully your part at your appointed post of duty. Work, remembering that Christ is by your side, planning, devising, and constructing for you. “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” [Verse 8.] Give cheerfully, gladly, willingly, thankful that you are able to do something to advance God’s kingdom in the world. Empty the heart of selfishness, and brace the mind for Christian activity. If you are in close connection with God, you will be willing to make any sacrifice to place eternal life within the reach of the perishing.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 28

    In the name of the Lord, I beseech my brethren and sisters, at this crisis in our work, to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Withholding from God always brings a curse. Spiritual prosperity is closely bound up with Christian liberality. Hunger only for the exaltation of imitating the divine beneficence of the Redeemer. You have the precious assurance that your treasure is going before you to the heavenly courts. Would you make your property secure? Place it in the hand that bears the nail-prints of the crucifixion. Retain all in your possession, and it will be to your eternal loss. Give it to God, and from that moment it bears His inscription. It is sealed with His immutability. Would you enjoy your substance? Then use it for the blessing of the suffering. Would you increase your possessions? “Honor the Lord with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst out with new wine.” [Proverbs 3:9, 10.]16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 29

    If all will act their part, the barrenness of the Lord’s vineyard will no longer speak in condemnation of those who profess to follow Christ. Medical missionary work is to open the door for the gospel of present truth. The third angel’s message is to be heard in all places. Economize. Strip yourselves of pride.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 30

    Give to God your earthly treasure. Give what you can now, just now, and as you co-operate with Christ, your hand will open to impart still more. And God will re-fill your hand, that the treasure of truth may be taken to many souls. He will give to you that you may give to others.16LtMs, Ms 57, 1901, par. 31

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