a. What will be the result of participating in get-rich-quick schemes? Proverbs 21:5.
“The spirit of gain getting, of making haste to be rich, of this all-absorbing worldliness, is painfully contradictory to our faith and doctrines.”—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 231, 232.
b. Why does the Christian steward labor for eternal wealth instead of participating in get-rich-quick schemes? Psalm 37:7.
“Satan watches the peculiar, selfish, covetous temperament of some who profess the truth, and he will tempt them by throwing prosperity in their path, offering them the riches of earth. He knows that if they do not overcome their natural temperament, they will stumble and fall by loving mammon, worshiping their idol. Satan’s object is often accomplished. The strong love of the world overcomes, or swallows up, the love of the truth. The kingdoms of the world are offered them, and they eagerly grasp their treasure and think they are wonderfully prospered. Satan triumphs because his plan has succeeded. They have given up the love of God for the love of the world.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 142.
2. RICHES THROUGH LABOR
a. What is the difference between a get-rich-quick scheme and a proper investment of means? Proverbs 28:20; 31:16, 24.
“Many times, when the Lord has opened the way for brethren to handle their means to advance His cause, the agents of Satan have presented some enterprise by which they were positive the brethren could double their means. They take the bait; their money is invested, and the cause, and frequently themselves, never receive a dollar.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 154.
“Every movement . . . which comes in to excite the desire to get riches quickly by speculation, takes the minds of the people away from the most solemn truths that ever were given to mortals. There may be encouraging prospects for a time, but the end of the matter is <em>failure</em>. The Lord endorses no such movements. If this work is sanctioned, many would be attracted by these speculative schemes that could not in any other way be led away from the work of presenting the solemn truths that must be given to the people at this time.”—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 234, 235.
“Work is a blessing, not a curse. Diligent labor keeps many, young and old, from the snares of him who ‘finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.’ Let no one be ashamed of work; for honest toil is ennobling. While the hands are engaged in the most common tasks, the mind may be filled with high and holy thoughts.”—The Youth’s Instructor, February 27, 1902.
b. Why is it that people are often tempted to engage in speculative financial ventures? Proverbs 27:20.
“It is a dangerous experiment for our people to engage in speculation. They thereby place themselves on the enemy’s ground, subject to great temptations, disappointments, trials, and losses. Then comes a feverish unrest, a longing desire to obtain means more rapidly than present circumstances will admit. Their surroundings are accordingly changed, in hope of making more money. But frequently their expectations are not realized, and they become discouraged and go backward rather than forward. . . . They are backsliding from God.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 617.
3. KNOW THE ENEMY’S STRATEGY
a. Even in the fast-paced era in which we live, what does God mercifully provide—and why? Ecclesiastes 3:1.
“The value of time is beyond computation. Christ regarded every moment as precious, and it is thus that we should regard it. Life is too short to be trifled away. We have but a few days of probation in which to prepare for eternity. We have no time to waste, no time to devote to selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin. . . .
“Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His, and we are under the most solemn obligation to improve it to His glory. Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than of our time.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 342.
b. What factors should we take into consideration as we plan our use of time? James 4:13–15.
c. In seeking to advance God’s work, what must we realize? 1 Peter 5:8.
“We have no time to lose. The powers of darkness are working with intense energy, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give, a work now which we may do, but soon it will be more difficult than we imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened upon our Leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on till the victory is gained.”—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1914.
d. What does Inspiration teach about the struggle before us? Ephesians 6:12; Matthew 24:12, 13.
“With intensified zeal and energy we are to carry forward the work of the Lord till the close of time.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 548.
4. BE USEFUL
a. Instead of engaging in speculative get-rich-quick schemes, what should we do with the talents entrusted to us? Luke 19:13.
“The Lord bids us all, ‘Occupy till I come’ [Luke 19:13]. By His own wisdom He has given us direction for the use of His gifts. The talents of speech, memory, influence, property, are to accumulate for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. He will bless the right use of His gifts.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 116.
“However large, however small the possessions of any individual, let him remember that it is his only in trust. For his strength, skill, time, talents, opportunities, and means, he must render an account to God. This is an individual work; God gives to us, that we may become like Him, generous, noble, beneficent, by giving to others. Those who, forgetful of their divine mission, seek only to save or to spend in the indulgence of pride or selfishness, may secure the gains and pleasures of this world; but in God’s sight, estimated by their spiritual attainments, they are poor, wretched, miserable, blind, naked.
“When rightly employed, wealth becomes a golden bond of gratitude and affection between man and his fellowmen, and a strong tie to bind his affections to his Redeemer.”—The Review and Herald, May 16, 1882.
b. What can we learn from the experience of Solomon? Ecclesiastes 2:10, 11.
“We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention. There are matters that consume time and arouse inquiry but end in nothing. The highest interests demand the close attention and energy that are so often given to comparatively insignificant things.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 456.
“The energy now concentrated on cheap, perishable goods should be enlisted in the work that is to enlighten the world. Let every energy God has given be used in the work which bears with it the blessed satisfaction that it is for time and for eternity.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, p. 267.
“Let none waste time in deploring the scantiness of their visible resources. The outward appearance may be unpromising, but energy and trust in God will develop resources.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 243.
5. A PURCHASED POSSESSION
a. Why is the attitude of the rich and fool man with the barns a warning for us? Luke 12:16–21.
“There is a sad withholding from God on the part of His professed people. The means and efforts that should be given to Christ are devoted to self-pleasing. God is robbed of time, money, and service. Self-love, self-gratification, exclude the love of Jesus from the soul, and this is why there is not in the church greater zeal and more fervent love for Him who first loved us. So many indulge selfish ease, while souls for whom Christ died are perishing.
“This is why the Lord cannot impart to His church the fullness of His blessing as He longs to do. . . . His blessing cannot be bestowed in its fullness while they are so corrupted with the spirit and practices of the world.”—The Signs of the Times, December 22, 1890.
b. When considering the price paid for our redemption, what should always remain foremost in our mind? 1 Corinthians 3:23; 6:20.
“Whether or not we give mind, soul, and strength to God, it all belongs to Him. God speaks to each human being, saying: ‘I have a claim on you. Give me your zeal, your capabilities, your energy, your means.’ He has a right to ask this; for we are His, redeemed by His boundless love and by the agony of the cross of Calvary from the service of sin. On no account are we to devote our powers to self-serving. Day by day we are to return to the Lord that which He has entrusted to us.”—Ibid., January 2, 1901.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What will be the result of participating in get-rich-quick schemes?
2. How should we gain our wealth?
3. What should give us incentive to work for Christ?
4. Name some ways by which we can be more faithful stewards of our finances.
5. What is too often excluding the love of Christ from my heart?