1. HEARTS REVEALED
a. How does our use of money reveal the depth of our consecration to God? Matthew 6:21.
“There is one thing in which we must be deeply in earnest, and that is in the service of God. There is no danger of having too much zeal here. If we would only work with an eye single to the glory of God, the mists would roll away, and our views of right and wrong would become clear. We should consecrate our property. The language of our hearts would be, ‘Lord, here is the means for which Thou hast made me responsible; what wilt Thou have me do with it?’ ”—The Signs of the Times, January 7, 1886.
“Money is a trust from God. It is not ours to expend for the gratification of pride or ambition.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 287.
b. How does David’s devotion to God stand as an inspiration as well as a rebuke to many of us? 1 Chronicles 29:3–5.
“Is gratitude dead in the heart? Does not the cross of Christ put to shame a life of selfish ease and indulgence? . . . We are reaping the fruits of this infinite self-sacrifice; and yet, when labor is to be done, when our money is wanted to aid the work of the Redeemer in the salvation of souls, we shrink from duty and pray to be excused.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 21.
2. BEING AWARE OF THE ENEMY’S PLAN
a. How are we warned of a sinister plot against Sabbathkeepers? Matthew 20:1–9.
“Those who came into the vineyard at the eleventh hour were thankful for an opportunity to work. Their hearts were full of gratitude to the one who had accepted them; and when at the close of the day the householder paid them for a full day’s work, they were greatly surprised. They knew they had not earned such wages. And the kindness expressed in the countenance of their employer filled them with joy. They never forgot the goodness of the householder or the generous compensation they had received. Thus it is with the sinner who, knowing his unworthiness, has entered the Master’s vineyard at the eleventh hour. His time of service seems so short, he feels that he is undeserving of reward; but he is filled with joy that God has accepted him at all. He works with a humble, trusting spirit, thankful for the privilege of being a coworker with Christ. This spirit God delights to honor.
The Lord desires us to rest in Him without a question as to our measure of reward. When Christ abides in the soul, the thought of reward is not uppermost. This is not the motive that actuates our service. It is true that in a subordinate sense we should have respect to the recompense of reward. God desires us to appreciate His promised blessings. But He would not have us eager for rewards nor feel that for every duty we must receive compensation. We should not be so anxious to gain the reward as to do what is right, irrespective of all gain. Love to God and to our fellow men should be our motive.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 397-399.
b. Why are we specifically warned against covetousness? Luke 12:15.
“Selfishness and covetousness lurking in the human heart are most powerful passions, and the outcome of the conflict is not a mere conjecture. Unless the soul is daily living upon Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood, the godly element will be overcome by the satanic. Selfishness and covetousness will bear away the victory. A self-confident, independent spirit will never enter into the kingdom of God. It is only those who are partakers with Christ in His self-denial and sacrifice that will be partakers with Him in His glory.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 216.
3. A SERIOUS MATTER
a. How does the love of money deteriorate our spiritual life—and what is the cure for it? 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
“Christ offered Himself, an infinite sacrifice. This, in and of itself, bears directly against covetousness and exalts benevolence.
“Constant, self-denying benevolence is God’s remedy for the cankering sins of selfishness and covetousness. God has arranged systematic benevolence to sustain His cause and relieve the necessities of the suffering and needy. He has ordained that giving should become a habit, that it may counteract the dangerous and deceitful sin of covetousness. Continual giving starves covetousness to death. Systematic benevolence is designed in the order of God to tear away treasures from the covetous as fast as they are gained and to consecrate them to the Lord, to whom they belong.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 548.
“Self-sacrifice is the keynote of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because God sees that there is no other way to save man than to cut away from his life the selfishness which, if retained, would degrade the whole being.”—Ibid., vol. 9, p. 49.
“That which is eating out the vitals of God’s people is the love of money and friendship with the world.”—Ibid., vol. 2, p. 657.
b. Where does God want us to focus our attention, and why? Colossians 3:1.
“Selfishness is a soul-destroying sin. Under this head comes covetousness, which is idolatry. All things belong to God. All the prosperity we enjoy is the result of divine beneficence. God is the great and bountiful giver. If He requires any portion of the liberal supply He has given us, it is not that He may be enriched by our gifts, for He needs nothing from our hand; but it is that we may have an opportunity to exercise self-denial, love, and sympathy for our fellow men, and thus become highly exalted. In every dispensation, from Adam’s time to ours, God has claimed the property of man, saying: I am the rightful owner of the universe; therefore consecrate to Me thy first fruits, bring a tribute of loyalty, surrender to Me My own, thus acknowledging My sovereignty, and you shall be free to retain and enjoy My bounties, and My blessing shall be with you.”—Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 476, 477.
4. A COVENANT BY SACRIFICE
a. In view of the shortness of time before us, what should each consider in managing personal finances? Haggai 2:8.
“With many the possession of wealth has proved a snare. In their desire to follow the fashions of the world, they have lost their zeal for the truth, and they are in peril of losing eternal life.”—This Day With God, p. 349.
“Some close their ears to the calls made for money to be used in sending missionaries to foreign countries and in publishing the truth and scattering it like autumn leaves all over the world. Such excuse their covetousness by informing you that they have made arrangements to be charitable at death. They have considered the cause of God in their wills. Therefore they live a life of avarice, robbing God in tithes and in offerings, and in their wills return to God but a small portion of that which He has lent them, while a very large proportion is appropriated to relatives who have no interest in the truth at death.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 479, 480.
“Dying legacies are a miserable substitute for living benevolence. The servants of God should be making their wills every day, in good works and liberal offerings to God. They should not allow the amount given to God to be disproportionately small when compared with that appropriated to their own use. In making their wills daily, they will remember those objects and friends that hold the largest place in their affections.
“Their best friend is Jesus. He did not withhold His own life from them, but for their sakes became poor, that through His poverty they might be made rich. He deserves the whole heart, the property, all that they have and are. But many professed Christians put off the claims of Jesus in life, and insult Him by giving Him a mere pittance at death.”—Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 326, 327.
b. What specific warning concerning stewardship does Christ issue to parents? Matthew 10:37.
“Believing parents have frequently transferred their property to their unbelieving children, thus putting it out of their power to render to God the things that are His. By so doing they lay off that responsibility which God has laid upon them, and place in the enemy’s ranks means which God has entrusted to them to be returned to Him by being invested in His cause when He shall require it of them. It is not in God’s order that parents who are capable of managing their own business should give up the control of their property, even to children who are of the same faith.”—Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 528, 529.
5. THE SAFEST DEPOSIT BOX
a. What comforting assurance does Christ offer all who make a covenant with Him through sacrifice? Matthew 6:28–33.
“Open your hearts to receive [God’s] kingdom and make its service your highest interest. Though it is a spiritual kingdom, fear not that your needs for this life will be uncared for. If you give yourself to God’s service, He who has all power in heaven and earth will provide for your needs. . . .
“Jesus, while He dwelt on earth, dignified life in all its details by keeping before men the glory of God, and by subordinating everything to the will of His Father. If we follow His example, His assurance to us is that all things needful in this life ‘shall be added.’ Poverty or wealth, sickness or health, simplicity or wisdom—all are provided for in the promise of His grace.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 99.
“Every act of self-sacrifice for the good of others will strengthen the spirit of beneficence in the giver’s heart, allying him more closely to the Redeemer of the world.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 20.
b. What is the most fruitful way to preserve our wealth? Proverbs 3:9, 10.
“Would you make your property secure? Place it in the hand that bears the nail prints of the crucifixion. Retain all in your possession, and it will be to your eternal loss. Give it to God, and from that moment it bears His inscription. It is sealed with His immutability.”—Ibid., p. 49.
“We are to make investments in heavenly interests and always work with heaven in view, laying our treasure up in the bank of heaven.”—The Signs of the Times, April 4, 1895.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why can money be a talent that reveals much about our heart?
2. Describe one strategy that Satan is plotting against Sabbathkeepers.
3. How are we blessed by overcoming a love for money?
4. What should be our consideration as the end of time draws nearer?
5. What promise is given those who lay up their treasure in heaven?