March 12, 2006 – March 18, 2006
“For if there be first a willing mind, [it is] accepted according to that a man hath, [and] not according to that he hath not.” 11 Corinthians 8:12.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 390–404.
“However short our service or humble our work, if in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may receive. Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 404.
1 In the building of the sanctuary in the wilderness, what spirit was necessary on the part of those who gave the materials? Exodus 25:2. In the time of the judges, what did the same spirit lead the people to do? Judges 5:2.
note: “For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. ‘Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering’ [Exodus 25:2] was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 343.
2 On what basis is our service and sacrifice acceptable to God? What alone commends our service to Him? 11 Corinthians 8:12.
note: “It is not the length of time we labor but our willingness and fidelity in the work that makes it acceptable to God. In all our service a full surrender of self is demanded. The smallest duty done in sincerity and self-forgetfulness is more pleasing to God than the greatest work when marred with self-seeking. He looks to see how much of the spirit of Christ we cherish, and how much of the likeness of Christ our work reveals. He regards more the love and faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 402.
3 What is said of him who sows sparingly? Bountifully? How should one give? Upon whom is the love of God placed? 11 Corinthians 9:6, 7. How bountifully has God given both temporal and spiritual blessings to His earthly children? Verses 9–11.
note: “God will furnish facilities so that the faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. [11 Corinthians 9:9, 10 quoted.] The seed sown with full, liberal hand is taken charge of by the Lord. He who ministers seed to the sower gives His worker that which enables him to co-operate with the Giver of the seed.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 132.
4 What instruction does the apostle Paul command Timothy to give to those who are blessed with this world’s goods? 1 Timothy 6:17, 18. By following this counsel, for what are they preparing? Verse 19.
note: “God desires us to choose the heavenly in place of the earthly. He opens before us the possibilities of a heavenly investment. He would give encouragement to our loftiest aims, security to our choicest treasure. He declares, ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ Isaiah 13:12. When the riches that moth devours and rust corrupts shall be swept away, Christ’s followers can rejoice in their heavenly treasure, the riches that are imperishable. . . .
“Then let your property go beforehand to heaven. Lay up your treasures beside the throne of God. Make sure your title to the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 374, 375.
5 What did Paul say to the Philippians concerning his own experience? Philippians 4:15–17. What kindness shown to the apostle Paul did he say was “well pleasing” to God? Of what was Paul assured for them? Verses 18, 19.
note: “Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God, and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 395.
6 With what parable did Jesus illustrate God’s dealing with His workers? Matthew 20:1. What was the reward promised to the first laborers hired? Verse 2.
note: “There is work for everyone in the vineyard of the Lord. None should be idle. Angels of God are all astir, ascending to heaven and descending to earth again with messages of mercy and warning. These heavenly messengers are moving upon minds and hearts. There are men and women everywhere whose hearts are susceptible of being inspired with the truth. If those who have a knowledge of the truth would now work in unison with the Spirit of God, we would see a great work accomplished.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 64.
7 What promise did the householder make to those called at the third, sixth, and ninth hours? Verses 3–5. At the eleventh hour, whom did he find in the market place? What arrangement did he make with them? Verses 6, 7.
note: “The words of Christ apply to the church: ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle?’ [Matthew 20:6.] Why are you not at work in some capacity in His vineyard? Again and again He has bidden you: ‘Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.’ [Verse 7.] But this gracious call from heaven has been disregarded by the large majority. Is it not high time that you obey the commands of God? There is work for every individual who names the name of Christ. A voice from heaven is solemnly calling you to duty. Heed this voice, and go to work at once in any place, in any capacity. Why stand ye here all the day idle? There is work for you to do, a work that demands your best energies. Every precious moment of life is related to some duty which you owe to God or to your fellow men, and yet you are idle!” Testimonies, vol. 5, 203, 204.
8 When the time of rewards came, what procedure did the householder follow? How much did each worker receive? What complaint was made? Verses 8–12. What reply did the householder make? Verses 13–16.
note: “The first laborers of the parable represent those who, because of their services, claim preference above others. They take up their work in a self-gratulatory spirit, and do not bring into it self-denial and sacrifice. They may have professed to serve God all their lives; they may have been foremost in enduring hardship, privation, and trial, and they therefore think themselves entitled to a large reward. They think more of the reward than of the privilege of being servants of Christ. In their view their labors and sacrifices entitle them to receive honor above others, and because this claim is not recognized, they are offended.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 399, 400.
9 In what way will the saints of God have made a covenant with the Lord? Psalm 50:5.
note: “Church-members are to contribute cheerfully toward the support of the ministry. They should practice self-denial and economy, that they may come behind in no good gift. We are pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, and every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. The time for saving souls is short, and whatever is not needed in supplying positive necessities, should be brought as a thank-offering to God.” Gospel Workers (1915), 454.
10 What will be the reward of all who have willingly and loyally consecrated their all to Christ’s service? Romans 2:6, 7; Revelation 22:12.
note: “There are many who have given themselves to Christ, yet who see no opportunity of doing a large work or making great sacrifices in His service. These may find comfort in the thought that it is not necessarily the martyr’s self-surrender which is most acceptable to God; it may not be the missionary who has daily faced danger and death that stands highest in heaven’s records. The Christian who is such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that which is least, the one who in the home life represents the character of Christ—such a one may in the sight of God be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary or martyr.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 403.
11 Of what was the apostle Paul assured as he neared the close of his ministry? To how many is the same assurance given? 11 Timothy 4:8.
note: “The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love,—love that ‘vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, . . . seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5),—love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity.” The Desire of Ages, 549.
“Those who have brought into their service the spirit of true sacrifice, of self-abasement, are the ones who will stand first at last. The laborers who were first hired, represented those who have an envious, self-righteous spirit, and claim that, for their services, preference should be given to them rather than to others. The householder said to the one who questioned his right to give more to others than to him, ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?’ [Matthew 20:13.] I have kept my part of the agreement.
“In a subordinate sense we should all have respect unto the recompense of the reward. But while we appreciate the promise of blessing, we should have perfect confidence in Jesus Christ, believing that He will do right, and give us reward according as our works have been. The gift of God is eternal life, but Jesus would have us not so anxious concerning rewards, as that we may do the will of God because it is right to do it, irrespective of all gain.
“Paul kept in view the crown of life to be given him, and not only to be given to him, but to all who love His appearing. It was the victory gained through faith in Jesus Christ that made the crown so desirable.” Counsels on Stewardship, 339, 340.
12 What do those become who accept of the salvation bought by the blood of Jesus? 11 Corinthians 6:1, first part; 1 Corinthians 3:9, first part.
note: “There must be an awakening among the people of God. The entire church is to be tested. The worldly-wise man, who meditates and plans, and whose business is ever in his mind, should seek to become wise in matters of eternal interest. If he would put forth as much energy to secure the heavenly treasure and the life which measures with the life of God as he does to secure worldly gain, what could he not accomplish?
“The unfaithful steward did not enrich himself with his master’s goods; he merely wasted them. He let idleness take the place of sincere, wholehearted labor. He was unfaithful in the appropriation of his lord’s goods. Unfaithful steward, do you not see that you will lose your soul if you do not co-operate with God and make the most of your talents for the Master? Your mind was given that you might understand how to work. Your eyes were given that you might be keen to discern your God-given opportunities. Your ears are to listen for the commands of God. Your knees are to bow three times a day in heartfelt prayer. Your feet are to run in the way of God’s commandments. Thought, effort, talent, should be put into exercise, that you may be prepared to graduate into the school above and hear from the lips of One who has overcome all temptations in our behalf the words: ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’ Revelation 3:21; Zechariah 3:7. If you do not co-operate with the Lord by giving yourself to Him and doing His service you will be judged unfit to be a subject of His pure, heavenly kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 297, 298.