July 9, 2006 – July 15, 2006
“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 335–345.
“God declares, ‘Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters.’ Isaiah 32:20. A continual imparting of God’s gifts wherever the cause of God or the needs of humanity demand our aid, does not tend to poverty. ‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.’ Proverbs 11:24. The sower multiplies his seed by casting it away. So it is with those who are faithful in distributing God’s gifts. By imparting they increase their blessings. ‘Give, and it shall be given unto you,’ God has promised; ‘good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.’ Luke 6:38.” The Acts of the Apostles, 345.
1 Whom does God love? 11 Corinthians 9:7.
note: “All our offerings should be presented with cheerfulness; for they come from the fund which the Lord has seen fit to place in our hands for the purpose of carrying forward His work in the world, in order that the banner of truth may be unfurled in the highways and byways of the earth. If all who profess the truth would give to the Lord His own in tithes and gifts and offerings, there would be meat in the house of the Lord. The cause of benevolence would no longer be dependent on the uncertain gifts of impulse, and vary according to the changing feelings of men. God’s claims would be welcomed, and His cause would be considered as justly entitled to a portion of the funds entrusted to our hands.” Counsels on Stewardship, 199, 200.
2 What is necessary on our part in order that God may accept the gift we make? 11 Corinthians 8:12.
note: “The church of God is made up of vessels large and small. The Lord does not ask for anything unreasonable. He does not expect the smaller vessels to hold the contents of the larger ones. He looks for returns according to what a man has, not according to what he has not. Do your best, and God will accept your efforts. Take up the duty lying nearest you, and perform it with fidelity, and your work will be wholly acceptable to the Master. Do not, in your desire to do something great, overlook the smaller tasks awaiting you.” Messages to Young People, 96.
3 How will liberality affect the soul? Proverbs 11:24, 25.
note: “Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence, in all its branches, twice blessed. He who gives to the needy blesses others and is blessed himself in a still greater degree.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 253.
“The Christian is to be a benefit to others. Thus he himself is benefited. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself.’ Proverbs 11:25. This is a law of the divine administration, a law by which God designs that the streams of beneficence shall be kept, like the waters of the great deep, in constant circulation, perpetually returning to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the power of Christian missions.” Ibid., vol. 7, 170.
4 Upon what principle should man always give? 1 Corinthians 16:2.
note: “God has devised a plan by which all may give as He has prospered them, and which will make giving a habit without waiting for special calls. Those who can do this, but will not because of their selfishness, are robbing their Creator, who has bestowed upon them means to invest in His cause to advance its interests. Until all shall carry out the plan of systematic benevolence, there will be a failure in coming up to the apostolic rule. Those who minister in word and doctrine should be men of discrimination. They should, while they make general appeals, become acquainted with the ability of those who respond to their appeals, and should not allow the poor to pay large pledges. After a man has once consecrated a certain sum to the Lord, he feels that it is sacred, consecrated to a holy use. This is true, and therefore our preaching brethren should be well informed of whom they accept pledges.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 411.
5 How much of a man’s possession does God sometimes require? Mark 10:21.
note: “I saw that God could carry on his work without any of man’s help; but this is not his plan. The present world is designed as a scene of probation for man. He is here to form a character which will pass with him into the eternal world. Good and evil are placed before him, and his future state depends upon the choice he makes. Christ came to change the current of his thoughts and affections. His heart must be cut off from his earthly treasure, and placed upon the heavenly. By his self-denial, God can be glorified. The great sacrifice has been made for man, and now man will be tested and proved to see if he will follow the example of Jesus, and make a sacrifice for his fellowman. Satan and his angels are combined against the people of God; but Jesus is seeking to purify them unto himself. He requires them to advance his work. God has deposited enough in this world among his people to carry forward his work, without embarrassment, and it is his plan that the means which he has entrusted to his people be used judiciously. Sell that ye have and give alms, is a part of God’s sacred word. The servants of God must arise, cry aloud, and spare not, ‘Show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.’ [Isaiah 58:1.] The work of God is to be more extensive, and if his people follow his counsel, there will not be much means in their possession to be consumed in the final conflagration. All will have laid up their treasure where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and the heart will not have a cord to bind it to earth.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 37, 38.
“Christ left His riches and glory, and became poor, that man through His poverty might be made rich. He now requires him for the sake of these riches to yield earthly things and secure heaven. Christ knew that while the affections were upon worldly treasure, they would be withdrawn from God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 49.
6 What notice does the Saviour take of the smallest gift in the Lord’s treasury? Luke 21:1–3.
note: “The poor widow who cast her two mites into the Lord’s treasury little knew what she was doing. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has brought to the treasury of God gifts from the high and the low, the rich and the poor. It has helped to sustain missions, to establish hospitals, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and preach the gospel to the poor. Multitudes have been blessed through her unselfish deed. And the outworking of all these lines of influence she, in the day of God, will be permitted to see.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 310.
“Men act out the true character of the heart. There are about us those who have a meek and lowly spirit, the spirit of Christ, who do many little things to help those around them, and who think nothing of it; they will be astonished at last to find that Christ has noticed the kind word spoken to the disheartened, and taken account of the smallest gift given for the relief of the poor, that cost the giver some self-denial. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.” Review and Herald, July 3, 1894.
7 Upon what principle did the poor widow give more than all the rich? Luke 21:4.
note: “It is the motive that gives character to our acts, stamping them with ignominy or with high moral worth. Not the great things which every eye sees and every tongue praises does God account most precious. The little duties cheerfully done, the little gifts which make no show, and which to human eyes may appear worthless, often stand highest in His sight. A heart of faith and love is dearer to God than the most costly gift. The poor widow gave her living to do the little that she did. She deprived herself of food in order to give those two mites to the cause she loved. And she did it in faith, believing that her heavenly Father would not overlook her great need. It was this unselfish spirit and childlike faith that won the Saviour’s commendation.
“Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.” The Desire of Ages, 615.
8 What encouragement is given to those who do all they can? Proverbs 13:7.
note: “The offerings of the poor, given through self-denial to aid in extending the precious light of saving truth, will not only be a sweet-smelling savor to God, and wholly acceptable to Him as a consecrated gift, but the very act of giving expands the heart of the giver, and unites him more fully to the Redeemer of the world. He was rich; but for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. The smallest sums given cheerfully by those who are in limited circumstances are fully as acceptable to God, and even of more value in His sight, than the offerings of the rich who can bestow their thousands, and yet exercise no self-denial and feel no lack.” Review and Herald, October 31, 1878.
“Christ came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. He was our example, and God has apportioned to us our work, to minister to the necessities of others, according to the ability He has given us. As we use this ability to the best account, it will increase. Those who do all they can on their part with what God has entrusted to them, and bear their whole weight upon Him, He will strengthen them just when strength is required. In thus doing, we give God room to work for us; to teach and lead and impress us, and make us channels through which His light can be communicated to many who are in darkness.” Ibid., January 5, 1869.
9 What church contributed to the apostles while in Thessalonica? Philippians 4:15, 16.
note: “Paul’s letter to the Philippians, like the one to the Colossians, was written while he was a prisoner at Rome. The church at Philippi had sent gifts to Paul by the hand of Epaphroditus, whom Paul calls ‘my brother, and companion in labor, and fellow soldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.’ [Philippians 2:25.] . . .
“By Epaphroditus, Paul sent the Philippian believers a letter, in which he thanked them for their gifts to him. Of all the churches, that of Philippi had been the most liberal in supplying Paul’s wants.” The Acts of the Apostles, 479.
“In order that the gospel may go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples, self-sacrifice must be maintained. Those in positions of trust are in all things to act as faithful stewards, conscientiously guarding the funds that have been created by the people. There must be care to prevent all needless outlay. In erecting buildings and providing facilities for the work, we should be careful not to make our preparation so elaborate as to consume money unnecessarily; for this means in every case inability to provide for the extension of the work in other fields, especially in foreign lands. Means are not to be drawn from the treasury to establish institutions in the home field, at a risk of crippling the advancement of truth in regions beyond.
“God’s money is to be used not only in your immediate vicinity, but in distant countries, in the islands of the sea. If His people do not engage in this work, God will surely remove the power that is not rightly appropriated.” The Publishing Ministry, 31, 32.
10 Why did the apostle encourage them to give? Philippians 4:17.
note: “Many who profess to be Christians provide abundantly for themselves, supplying all their imaginary wants, while they give no heed to the wants of the Lord’s cause. They have thought it gain to rob God by retaining all, or a selfish proportion, of His gifts as their own. But they meet with loss instead of gain. Their course results in the withdrawal of mercies and blessings. By their selfish, avaricious spirit, men have lost much. If they had fully and freely acknowledged God’s requirements and met His claims, His blessing would have been manifest in increasing the productions of the earth. The harvests would have been greater. The wants of all would have been abundantly supplied. The more we give, the more we shall receive.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.