There is a burden upon my soul in regard to the destitute mission fields. There is aggressive work to be done in the missions near us; and there is great need of funds for advancing the work in foreign fields. Our foreign missions are languishing. The missionaries are not sustained as God requires. For want of funds, workers are not able to enter new fields.
All around us are souls perishing in their sins. Every year thousands upon thousands are dying without God and without hope of everlasting life. The plagues and judgments of God are doing their work, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway. But how few are burdened over the condition of their fellow men. The world is perishing in its misery; but this hardly moves even those who claim to believe the highest and most far-reaching truth ever given to mortals. God requires His people to be His helping hand to reach the perishing, but how many are content to do nothing. There is a lack of that love which led Christ to leave His heavenly home and take man's nature, that humanity might touch humanity and draw humanity to divinity. There is a stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God which prevents them from understanding what is needed for this time.
God's people are on trial before the heavenly universe; but the scantiness of their gifts and offerings, and the feebleness of their efforts in God's service, mark them as unfaithful. If the little that is now accomplished were the best they could do, they would not be under condemnation; but with their resources they could do much more. They know, and the world knows, that they have to a great degree lost the spirit of self-denial and cross bearing.
God calls for men to give the warning to the world that is asleep, dead in trespasses and sins. He calls for freewill offerings from those whose hearts are in the work, who have a burden for souls, that they shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Satan is playing the game of life for the souls of men. He is seeking to secure means, that he may bind it up, so that it shall not be used in advancing the missionary enterprises. Shall we be ignorant of his devices? Shall we allow him to stupefy our senses?
I appeal to our brethren everywhere to awake, to consecrate themselves to God, and to seek wisdom from Him. I appeal to the officers of our conferences to make earnest efforts in our churches. Arouse them to give of their means for sustaining foreign missions. Unless your hearts are touched in view of the situation in foreign fields, the last message of mercy to the world will be restricted, and the work which God desires to have done will be left unaccomplished.
The last years of probation are fast closing. The great day of the Lord is at hand. We should now make every effort to arouse our people. Let the words of the Lord by the prophet Malachi be brought home to every soul: "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and 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. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts."
It is time for us to heed the teaching of God's word. All His injunctions are given for our good, to convert the soul from sin to righteousness. Every convert to the truth should be instructed in regard to the Lord's requirement for tithes and offerings. As churches are raised up, this work must be taken hold of decidedly and carried forward in the spirit of Christ. All that men enjoy, they receive from the Lord's great firm, and He is pleased to have His heritage enjoy His goods; but all who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel are to acknowledge their dependence upon God and their accountability to Him by returning to the treasury a certain portion as His own. This is to be invested in missionary work in fulfillment of the commission given to His disciples by the Son of God: All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature," "baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
Those who are truly converted are called to do a work that requires money and consecration. The obligation that binds us to place our names on the church roll holds us responsible to work for God to the utmost of our ability. He calls for undivided service, for the entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength. Christ has brought us into church capacity that He may engage and engross all our capabilities in devoted service for the salvation of souls. Anything short of this is opposition to the work. There are only two places in the world where we can deposit our treasures--in God's storehouse or in Satan's, and all that is not devoted to Christ's service is counted on Satan's side and goes to strengthen his cause.
The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up His kingdom. His goods are committed to His stewards that they may be carefully traded upon and bring back a revenue to Him in the saving of souls unto eternal life. And these souls in their turn will become stewards of the truth, to co-operate with the great firm in the interests of the kingdom of God.
Wherever there is life, there is increase and growth; in God's kingdom there is a constant interchange--taking in, and giving out; receiving, and returning to the Lord His own. God works with every true believer, and the light and blessings received are given out again in the work which the believer does. Thus the capacity for receiving is increased. As one imparts of the heavenly gifts, he makes room for fresh currents of grace and truth to flow into the soul from the living fountain. Greater light, increased knowledge and blessing, are his. In this work, which devolves upon every church member, is the life and growth of the church. He whose life consists in ever receiving and never giving, soon loses the blessing. If truth does not flow forth from him to others, he loses his capacity to receive. We must impart the goods of heaven if we desire fresh blessings.
This is as true in temporal as in spiritual things. The Lord does not come to this world with gold and silver to advance His work. He supplies men with resources, that by their gifts and offerings they may keep His work advancing. The one purpose above all others for which God's gifts should be used is the sustaining of workers in the great harvest field. And if men, and women as well, will become channels of blessing to other souls, the Lord will keep the channels supplied. It is not returning to God His own that makes men poor; it is withholding that tends to poverty.
The work of imparting that which he has received will constitute every member of the church a laborer together with God. Of yourself you can do nothing; but Christ is the great worker. It is the privilege of every human being who receives Christ to be a worker together with Him.
The Saviour said: "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." John 12:32. For the joy of seeing souls redeemed, Christ endured the cross. He became the living sacrifice for a fallen world. Into that act of self-sacrifice was put the heart of Christ, the love of God; and through this sacrifice was given to the world the mighty influence of the Holy Spirit. It is through sacrifice that God's work must be carried forward. Of every child of God self-sacrifice is required. Christ said: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself; and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23. To all who believe, Christ gives a new character. This character, through His infinite sacrifice, is the reproduction of His own.
The Author of our salvation will be the Finisher of the work. One truth received into the heart will make room for still another truth. And the truth, wherever received, quickens into activity the powers of the receiver. When our church members are truly lovers of God's word, they will reveal the best and strongest qualities; and the nobler they are, the more childlike in spirit they will be, believing the word of God against all selfishness.
A flood of light is shining from the word of God, and there must be an awakening to neglected opportunities. When all are faithful in giving back to God His own in tithes and offerings, the way will be opened for the world to hear the message for this time. If the hearts of God's people were filled with love for Christ, if every church member were thoroughly imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, if all manifested thorough earnestness, there would be no lack of funds for home or foreign missions. Our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened, and we should be invited to enter. Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.
If there was ever a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. Those who have money should understand that now is the time to use it for God. Let not means be absorbed in multiplying facilities where the work is already established. Do not add building to building where many interests are now centered. Use the means to establish centers in new fields. Thus you may bring in souls who will act their part in producing.
Think of our missions in foreign countries Some of them are struggling to gain even a foothold; they are destitute of even the most meager facilities. Instead of adding to facilities already abundant, build up the work in these destitute fields. Again and again the Lord has spoken in regard to this. His blessing cannot attend His people in disregarding His instruction.
Practice economy in your homes. By many, idols are cherished and worshiped. Put away your idols. Give up your selfish pleasures. Do not, I entreat you, absorb means in embellishing your houses, for it is God's money, and it will be required of you again. Parents, for Christ's sake do not use the Lord's money in pleasing the fancies of your children. Do not teach them to seek after style and ostentation in order to gain influence in the world. Will this incline them to save the souls for whom Christ died? No; it will create envy, jealousy, and evil surmising. Your children will be led to compete with the show and extravagance of the world, and to spend the Lord's money for that which is not essential to health or happiness.
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. Instead of gratifying selfish inclination, spending money for those things that destroy the reasoning faculties, study how to deny self, that you may have something to invest in lifting the standard of truth in new fields. The intellect is a talent; use it in studying how best to employ your means for the salvation of souls.
Teach your children that God has a claim upon all they possess, a claim that nothing can ever cancel; whatever they have is theirs only in trust as a test of their obedience. Inspire them with ambition to gain stars for their crown by winning many souls from sin to righteousness.
Money is a needed treasure; let it not be lavished upon those who do not need it. Someone needs your willing gifts. Too often those who have means fail to consider how many in the world are hungry, starving for food. They may say: "I cannot feed them all." But by practicing Christ's lessons on economy you can feed one. It may be that you can feed many who are hungering for temporal food. And you can feed their souls with the bread of life. "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." John 6:12. These words were spoken by Him who had all the resources of the universe at His command; while His miracle-working power supplied thousands with food, He did not disdain to teach a lesson in economy.
Practice economy in the use of your time. This is the Lord's. Your strength is the Lord's. If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life. Such habits, indulged, will make you bankrupt for eternity. And habits of economy, industry, and sobriety are, even in this world, a better portion for you and your children than a rich dowry.
We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days. Let your influence impress souls with the sacredness of God's requirements.
If in the Providence of God you have been given riches, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. Invest our means in the Lord's work. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt.
It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and He has bestowed this ability, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God His own. With this object it is not a sin to acquire means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be trained to habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the selfish love of money wrongfully employed that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a blessing if we regard it as the Lord's, to be received with thankfulness and with thankfulness returned to the Giver.
But of what value is untold wealth if it is hoarded in expensive mansions or in bank stocks? What do these weigh in comparison with the salvation of one soul for whom the Son of the infinite God has died?
To those who have heaped together treasure for the last days the Lord declares: "Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire."
The Lord bids us: "Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." Luke 12: 33-40.