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Manuscript Releases, vol. 13 [Nos. 1000-1080]

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    MR No. 1036—Faithful Stewardship; Counsel Against Financial Speculation

    I feel deeply anxious on your account. If the Lord would have you engaged in the business of speculation in land property, then every trade you make will be done with an eye single to the glory of God. Then the truth will lose none of its power upon the soul, to sanctify the life and character. There will exist among the brethren a Christlike unity, an increased love and confidence one in another. There will be a continuous daily growth in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.13MR 232.1

    A feverish haste to become rich will find no manifestation in the words or in the works of Christ's followers. When the soul is sanctified by the truth, all elements of selfishness are banished. Ingratitude, with its evil tendencies and results, will not live in the heart that loves the truth. Policy and truth will never pull together or be at agreement. Policy implies cunning, false pretenses, artful management, an eagerness for selfish, personal aggrandizement without regard to strict integrity in the ways and means used. Honesty and strict equity are in perfect harmony with all the principles of truth, in perfect harmony with God's holy law. Our every act should bear a reliable testimony to the validity of truth. Yet those who live on this plan will have a cross to bear.13MR 232.2

    Many who have moved into Fresno have eagerly drunk of the spirit of speculation in order to obtain money fast. Worldly business tries the character, and puts it to the test. It brings out the real, valuable virtues of the man, and develops an upright youthful training, or else it brings out natural, objectionable hereditary tendencies, and exposes him to sharp thrusts of the enemy. God will not work a miracle to preserve any one of you on the enemy's battleground, where He has never indicated that it was your duty to go. He has followed you with warnings and reproofs to keep you away from dangerous ground, where your soul would be imperiled.13MR 233.1

    If you do not ask interestedly, “Is this the way of the Lord?” but in following impulse place yourselves in the way of temptation, and thus invite the enemy to tempt you, you will not come forth from the ordeal unharmed and with your character unsullied.13MR 233.2

    Should a minister of the flock engage in worldly speculation? I wish you to closely examine yourselves to see whether you are on the gaining or losing side in spiritual and moral power. When in your business of selling property, in your eagerness to make a sale, do you not sometimes keep back some things that are unfavorable, and do you not exaggerate in praise of the property, in order to place the matter in a favorable light? When this is done, the conscience is violated, and the tongue utters guile. There is need that the conscience shall be kept pure and undimmed in every transaction that you make, or there will be so much glitter and attraction placed upon property that you are handling, that the purchaser is deceived.13MR 233.3

    God wants men in His service, under His banner, to be strictly honest, unimpeachable in character, that their tongues shall not utter a semblance of untruth. The tongue must be true, the eyes must be true, the actions wholly and entirely such as God can commend. We are living in the sight of a holy God, who solemnly declares, “I know thy works.” The divine eye is ever upon us. We cannot cover one act of unjust deal from God. The witness of God to our every action is a truth which but few realize.13MR 233.4

    Are we Bible Christians? Warnings are given us in the Word of God and stern injunctions to do unto others as we would have them do unto us were we in like position as they are. Yet some seem to think that there can be no harm in taking advantage of occasions and circumstances to make money, even though in order to do this they set forth in a strong light the benefits of that which they wish to sell. Often it is asserted that a property will rise or even double in value in a few months or years. This may or may not be so.13MR 234.1

    Let us remember what the Lord says about honesty: “Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord” [Proverbs 20:23].13MR 234.2

    “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning” [Leviticus 19:13].13MR 234.3

    “Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another” [verse 11]. This is done in nearly all transactions of real estate buying and selling, and many who are engaged in this business need to cut loose from it before they can be considered as healthful branches of the church.13MR 234.4

    “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord” [Leviticus 19:35-37; see also Deuteronomy 25:13-16].13MR 234.5

    It is a dangerous business to rob God when we know that every purpose of the heart is open to His all-seeing eye. God cannot be deceived or cheated by human device. The question is asked, “Will a man rob God?” And the startling answer comes back which makes us tremble, “Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” [Malachi 3:8].13MR 235.1

    While there are not a few who conscientiously give of their annual increase of substance and business prosperity to God in tithes and offerings to pass into the Lord's treasury for the support of the gospel and for missionary work in different parts of the land, it is a lamentable fact that so large a number deliberately rob God by withholding the portion which God claims. We must all be tested in God's balances whereby He weighs character. Then decide to be honest, whatever may be your circumstances, and let no temptation of Satan force you to be dishonest with your fellow men or to be dishonest with God.13MR 235.2

    Let the wife stand by the side of her husband and help him in the conscientious discharge of his duty. Let her realize that she is of value, because she is the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is essential that honesty be practiced in all the details of the woman's life, and it is important in the training of children to teach the youthful girls as well as boys never to prevaricate or to deceive in the least.13MR 235.3

    Let not the enemy of God and man control your thoughts, your words, and actions. The message from the lips of Christ is, “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not” [Luke 12:33]. There will be many great failures in earthly banks, and in speculations, including mining and real estate.13MR 236.1

    How pleased Satan would be if in the very time when men should be selling their possessions to sustain the cause of God, he can so deceive them that all their available means shall be invested in land speculation and other worldly enterprises, thus taking away from the cause of God means which should flow into the treasury to advance His work in the earth.13MR 236.2

    When Jesus tells us to “sell,” He does not mean that our principal burden should be to buy possessions. If Satan can get us entangled in worldly possessions so that we have no means to put into the Lord's treasury, then he is leading us to do the very thing that Jesus has told us not to do. Many have conscientiously loaned their money to our institutions, that it may be used to do a good work for the Master. But Satan sets in operation schemes that will produce in the minds of our brethren a great desire to try their fortunes, as in a lottery. One and still another are flattered by strong representations of financial gain if they will only invest their money in lands; and they take their means out of our institutions, and bury it in the earth, where the Lord's cause is not benefited.13MR 236.3

    Then if one is successful, he is so elated over the fact that he has gained a few hundred dollars, that he decides to keep on getting money if he can. He continues to invest in real estate or in mines. The device of Satan is successful. In the place of increased funds flowing into the treasury, there is a withdrawal of means from our institutions, in order that the owners may try their fortunes in the mining business or in land speculation. The spirit of greed is fostered, and the naturally penurious man begrudges every dollar that is called for to be used in the advancement of the cause of God in the earth. [Matthew 6:19-24, quoted.]—Letter 41, 1888. (Written from Burrough Valley, California, July 7, 1888, to “My Dear Brethren and Sisters at Fresno.”)13MR 236.4

    White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    December, 1983.