Why can’t we just do things our own way? We certainly could, but such ways might not always promote our eternal salvation. The ways of fallen human nature are not the ways of God. The Almighty explains, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8, 9).
So, we cannot expect to enjoy God’s full endorsement of finite, earthly ways of living. After all, we do not even own ourselves! Scripture reveals that we have been bought with a price—the blood of the only-begotten Son of God.
Even our love for others may not be everything it should be. All can benefit from the inspired warning given to one family:
“Our love is frequently selfish, for we confine it to prescribed limits. When we come into close union and fellowship with Christ, our love and sympathy and our works of benevolence will reach down deeper and will widen and strengthen with exercise. The love and interest of Christ’s followers must be as broad as the world. Those who live merely for ‘me and mine’ will fail of heaven. God calls upon you as a family to cultivate love, to become less sensitive in regard to yourselves and more sensitive to the griefs and trials of others. This selfish spirit that you have cherished all your lives is correctly represented by the priest and the Levite who passed by the unfortunate on the other side. They saw that he needed help but purposely avoided him.
“Each one of you needs to awake and face square about to get out of the cart rut of selfishness. Improve the short, probationary time given you by working with your might to redeem the failures of your past life. God has placed you in a world of suffering to prove you, to see if you will be found worthy of the gift of eternal life.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 530.
Relief for the suffering, ignorant, wayward specimens of humanity today requires unselfishness from all of us. We are not our own—we are the exclusive property of our Creator, who has given us an example in the life of Jesus Christ. To rightly represent the character qualities of heaven requires our entire being. We are stewards of God’s grace, stewards of the light, the means, and the talents bestowed.
Therefore, to encourage us in the steps of our Master, the Sabbath Bible Lessons for the next two quarters are based on “Christian Stewardship.” Through these studies, it is our prayer that God may grant us success in the unselfish walk of Christ!
SABBATH, JANUARY 7, 2012
First Sabbath Offering
for the construction of chapels in Guatemala
“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).
Guatemala (Nahuatl Cuauhtitlan, “between the trees”), is officially called the Republic of Guatemala. It is a country in Central America with peculiar characteristics throughout the area, and a very strong local culture heavily influenced by its Mayan past. Some regions are strongly influenced by such countries as Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States. This is a country with great natural beauty.
It borders Mexico on the north and west, Belize, the Gulf of Honduras and Honduras on the east, El Salvador on the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean on the south. It has a territorial extension of 108,889 km2. Its indigenous people make up one third of the population. Even though Spanish is the official language, it also has various Mayan languages featuring characteristics of each indigenous group. The main religion is Catholicism with 55% of the people, 40% Protestant Christians, and other religions make up the other 5%.
The Reform message came to Guatemala at the end of 1958, and the work was established in the 1960s. Throughout the whole country there are only 3 chapels; we would like to erect a few more in the countryside, seeing that the brethren do not have meeting places and have little means. With the help of all local groups and churches, foreign aid and interested souls, we have initiated one out of three projects.
We ask you to consider the need in the Lord’s work in Guatemala and to help us in these projects with your prayers and a generous financial assistance.
May the Lord richly bless you!
Your brethren and sisters from Guatemala
The General Conference Sabbath School Department