a. What do Christian stewards realize about all of their earthly possessions? Job 1:21.
“All things belong to God. Men may ignore His claims. While He bountifully bestows His blessings upon them, they may use His gifts for their own selfish gratification; but they will be called to give an account for their stewardship.
“A steward identifies himself with his master. He accepts the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in his master’s stead, doing as his master would do were he presiding. His master’s interests become his. The position of a steward is one of dignity because his master trusts him. If in any wise he acts selfishly and turns the advantages gained by trading with his lord’s goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 246.
b. Why should Christian stewards be content with their earthly possessions, even if few? Psalm 37:16; Proverbs 15:16; 1 Timothy 6:8.
“We think of Jesus the Creator of all the worlds, and how He came into the world as a poor man. He had not where to lay His head. So poverty is no disgrace. Sin is a disgrace.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1514.
a. Since we are Christian stewards, what should our attitude be toward our neighbors and their possessions? Deuteronomy 16:19.
“In the last great issue between Christ’s followers and the powers of darkness, Satan offers his bribes to men and women. Some sell themselves for naught; for what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, p. 243.
“We must feel a special interest in looking upon the things of others—not to covet them, not to find fault with them, not to remark upon them and present them in a false light, but to do strict justice in all things to our brethren and all with whom we have any dealings.”—That I May Know Him, p. 176.
b. What does God want us to realize about the evils of partiality? Deuteronomy 24:17; Romans 2:11.
“No distinction on account of nationality, race, or caste, is recognized by God. He is the Maker of all mankind. All men are of one family by creation, and all are one through redemption. Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple courts, that every soul may have free access to God. His love is so broad, so deep, so full, that it penetrates everywhere. It lifts out of Satan’s influence those who have been deluded by his deceptions, and places them within reach of the throne of God, the throne encircled by the rainbow of promise. In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 369, 370.
“The reason for all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons. . . .
“The Son of the infinite God, the Lord of life and glory, descended in humiliation to the life of the lowliest, that no one might feel himself excluded from His presence. He made Himself accessible to all. He did not select a favored few with whom to associate and ignore all others.”—That I May Know Him, p. 99.
a. What blessing is given to all who follow integrity in all their business transactions? Proverbs 10:9.
b. What should link the action, the words, and even the thoughts of the Christian steward? Proverbs 12:5, 17; 14:2.
“By the terms of our stewardship we are placed under obligation, not only to God, but to man.”—Education, p. 139.
c. How does the Lord consider those who are dishonest in business? Proverbs 16:11; 20:10.
“It is neither the magnitude nor the seeming insignificance of a business transaction that makes it fair or unfair, honest or dishonest. By the least departure from rectitude we place ourselves on the enemy’s ground, and may go on, step by step, to any length of injustice. A large proportion of the Christian world divorce religion from their business.” —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 337.
“An honest man, according to Christ’s measurement, is one who will manifest unbending integrity. Deceitful weights and false balances, with which many seek to advance their interests in the world, are abomination in the sight of God. Yet many who profess to keep the commandments of God are dealing with false weights and false balances. When a man is indeed connected with God and is keeping His law in truth, his life will reveal the fact; for all his actions will be in harmony with the teachings of Christ. He will not sell his honor for gain. His principles are built upon the sure foundation, and his conduct in worldly matters is a transcript of his principles. Firm integrity shines forth as gold amid the dross and rubbish of the world. Deceit, falsehood, and unfaithfulness may be glossed over and hidden from the eyes of man but not from the eyes of God. The angels of God, who watch the development of character and weigh moral worth, record in the books of heaven these minor transactions which reveal character. If a workman in the daily vocations of life is unfaithful and slights his work, the world will not judge incorrectly if they estimate his standard in religion according to his standard in business.”—Ibid., pp.310, 311.
a. What is the reward for the humble Christian steward? Psalm 37:11; Proverbs 22:4; Matthew 18:4.
“Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another, this is the best gift that the heavenly Father can bestow. Let all believers draw near to God and to one another, that God may draw near to them. No man is to be exalted as supreme. No man is to suppose that he is infallible because he has been enlightened by God and used by Him in bringing souls to the truth. Our endowments are valuable only as they are used as God’s entrusted talents to magnify the truth. The one through whom God works is never to exalt himself, never to seek to rule. As a wise steward, he is to do his work in sincerity and humility. He is to do God service by imparting what he has received, by speaking the truth in love in a clear, decided manner. Thus he is to enlighten others, remembering always that God only can impress the mind and purify the heart.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 275.
b. What must characterize all who seek to be among God’s elect? Proverbs 29:23.
“Love, compassion, and tenderness are to be revealed amongst us. Put on, as the elect of God, mercy and kindness. The sins that were practiced before conversion are to be put off with the old man. With the new man, Christ Jesus, are to be put on ‘kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering’ [Colossians 3:12].
“Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practices, and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him who says, ‘I am meek and lowly in heart’ [Matthew 11:29]. If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature. Then, when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, they also will appear with Him in glory.”—Ibid., vol.19, pp. 236, 237.
a. What characteristics were shown to John the Revelator when he saw the people of God in these last days? Revelation 14:12.
b. Where do we find instructions concerning legitimate business principles? Deuteronomy 5:32; 25:13–15; Luke 11:28.
“There is no branch of legitimate business for which the Bible does not afford an essential preparation. Its principles of diligence, honesty, thrift, temperance, and purity are the secret of true success. These principles, as set forth in the book of Proverbs, constitute a treasury of practical wisdom. Where can the merchant, the artisan, the director of men in any department of business, find better maxims for himself or for his employees than are found in these words of the wise man: [Proverbs 22:29; 14:23; 13:4; 23:21; 20:19; 17:27; 20:3, 4:14; 6:28; 13:20; 18:24 quoted.] . . .
“How many a man might have escaped financial failure and ruin by heeding the warnings, so often repeated and emphasized in the Scriptures. . . .
“These are principles with which are bound up the well-being of society, of both secular and religious associations. It is these principles that give security to property and life. For all that makes confidence and cooperation possible, the world is indebted to the law of God, as given in His word, and as still traced, in lines often obscure and well-nigh obliterated, in the hearts of men.”—Education, pp. 135-137.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can you be content with your earthly possessions?
2. How should you treat others in your financial transactions?
3. What blessings will you receive if you are honest in all your transactions?
4. How can humility be manifested in my life in practical ways?
5. Name some benefits pertaining to financial honesty.