How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:2.
It is only when Christian motives are fully acknowledged, and the conscience is awake to duty, when divine light makes impressions upon the heart and character, that selfishness is overcome, and the mind of Christ is exemplified. The Holy Spirit, working upon human hearts and characters, will expel all tendency to covetousness, to deceptive dealing.
When the Lord’s messenger bears a message to the church, God is speaking to the people, awakening the conscience to see that they have not been rendering an honest tithe to the Lord, and that when it was not convenient to give, they have failed to present their offerings to Him. They have used the Lord’s own money for themselves, in building houses, in purchasing horses, carriages, or lands. They do this in the hope of large returns, and every year they have the same excuse. “Will a man rob God?” (Malachi 3:8). Oh, yes, he has done this many times, because he has not been spiritual, to discern the spiritual things.
On some occasions the Lord has moved decidedly upon worldly, selfish men. Their minds were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, their hearts felt its softening, subduing influence. Under a sense of the abundant mercy and grace of God, they felt it their duty to promote His cause, to build up His kingdom. They remembered the requirement, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20). They felt a desire to have a share in the kingdom of God, and they pledged to give of their means to some of the various enterprises of the Lord’s cause. That pledge was not made to man, but to God in the presence of His angels, who were moving upon the hearts of these selfish, money-loving men.—The Review and Herald, May 23, 1893.
Ye Shall Receive Power p. 89
—-Please pray for E and children that God will take complete control and not let the enemy cause any more trouble. R
—-Please pray for J and family. God knows the situation. A
When my mother was in her teens, (in the 1930’s) she wanted to be like some of the wilder girls in her school. They seemed so fashionable with their short skirts and makeup acting in ways that my grandmother did not approve. They had many arguments over the matter. It hurt and perplexed my grandmother to think that her daughter desired to be like these girls, but she never bothered to explain the reason why she should not do these things. She just told her that she must obey “because I said so.”
All the contention made my high-strung mother very nervous, but she persisted in her rebellion. One day, she thought of a plan to keep peace and still have her own way. Very carefully she hid a tube of bright red lipstick that she had bought at Van Avery’s Drug Store amongst her schoolbooks. Off to school she went feeling happier than she had in many a week. As soon as she got several blocks away, she entered a telephone booth and rolled her skirt up as high as she dared. The roll of cloth was a little uncomfortable around her waist, but at least she would be “in style.” Then she pulled the lipstick out of its hiding place and applied it. Satisfied that she now could be like the other girls, she continued on her way.
How often we do the same. Our Dear Saviour has given us standards by which we must live. These standards are for our benefit and happiness, Yet how often we desire to act like those around us who do not recognize their Redeemer. He explains the futility of such a plan, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt 6:24 John urges, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17
Like my mother tried to hide her rebellion from her mother, we attempt to hide our desires, thoughts, words, and actions from our Heavenly Father; but there is no hiding from Him. “Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” Ps 90:8 He knows us better than we know ourselves. Nothing is hidden from Him for “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Heb 4:13 Our Loving Redeemer assures us, “Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD.” Jer 23:23,24 “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt 10:29-31 Indeed, our Great Creator was at work creating us, shaping us in our mother’s womb. He says to us as He said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” Jer 1:5 David prayed, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret… Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Ps 139:15,16
What comfort this gives us! Not only does He see what we do, think, and feel, but He is always near, watching us, guiding us, caring for us, assuring us “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” Ps 32:8 He knows what is happening in our lives. He sees when we stray, yes, but He also sees our problems, our trials, our tears. “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?” Ps 56:8 In seeing these things, He knows what to do to help us. If we ask Him, He will untangle the tangled up messes we get ourselves into. He will comfort our sorrows. He will wipe away our tears and give us hope and strength. Precious Redeemer Who assures us, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer 29:11-13 May we heed Solomon’s advice when he said, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecc 12:13,14