In doing research for this article, I found a statement that startled me. It said: “Often we lament the scanty resources available, but were Christians thoroughly in earnest, they could multiply the resources a thousandfold.” Ministry of Healing, 206. [All emphasis supplied.] As I prayed that God would help me earn money for the shortwave radio station, I wondered how He could turn a dollar of mine into a thousand dollars for His cause. Nevertheless, I prayed that the Lord would help me to earn money for the radio station.
The idea of house-sitting (watching people’s houses while they are away) came to my mind. That Thursday evening when I called the Wichita Eagle to place an advertisement in the classified section, the lady who took my information said, “I’ll try and get this in for free. If I have any trouble, I’ll call you back and let you know.” She never called back. One month of advertising—free!
Friday afternoon, as I was preparing for the Sabbath, the telephone rang. “Is this the place to call for the advertisement in the paper for a housesitter?”
“Yes,” I replied. The man went on to tell me that he and his wife would be traveling together for two months this winter and needed someone to watch their house while they were away. They have a nice house, he told me, and though they do not have pets, they do have plants that would need watering; and when they return, they want the house to have the “lived in” look.
As he sounded genuine, I decided to be very up front and frank with him. I told him that I worked at Steps to Life and that I was doing this to earn money for a mission project. I explained that I was a Bible worker whose duties also included work in the office, and while I could be there at night and some other time as well, I would be gone the better part of most days. He said it sounded perfect and he would have his wife call to set up a time when I could meet their housekeeper who came in on Wednesdays. (I would not even have to clean the house!) Then he said, “We would pay you $275 a week.”
I tried to act casual and replied. “That would be fine.”
The total amount I will earn for the radio station will be $2,200. Do you believe that God can work things out for His people to earn a little extra money for His work? I know that He can. “A thousand doors of usefulness are open before us. Often we lament the scanty resources available, but were Christians thoroughly in earnest, they could multiply the resources a thousandfold. Ibid.
Even as a child, Ellen White knew what it meant to sacrifice for the cause. Listen to her personal experience:
“Even though he may be poor, the youth who is industrious and economical can save a little for the cause of God. When I was only twelve years old, I knew what it was to economize. With my sister I learned a trade, and although we would earn only twenty-five cents a day, from this sum we were able to save a little to give to missions. We saved little by little until we had thirty dollars. Then when the message of the Lord’s soon coming came to us, with a call for men and means, we felt it a privilege to hand over the thirty dollars to father, asking him to invest it in tracts and pamphlets to send the message to those who were in darkness.” Messages to Young People, 299
Not every person may be able to give a thousand dollars. Some may be able to give only a small amount of money, but that small amount is needed.
“Every dollar is required in the work of saving souls. The money invested by the professed people of God in getting pictures made of human faces would support several missionaries in the field. Many small streams, when put together, swell into a large river.” Ibid., 317. “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.” Counsels on Stewardship, 30
The promise to the poor everywhere is, “It is in the power of all to do something for the cause of God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 18
God wants us to be innovative in thinking of ways to multiply funds; but He also requires of each one of us personal sacrifice, whether we are rich or poor. We are to exercise self-denial in our appetite, in our dress, and in the way we furnish our homes. Self really is the greatest hindrance to the cause of God. “We have no enemy without that we need to fear. Our greatest conflict is with unconsecrated self.” Review and Herald, March 5, 1908
To be victorious in the battle with self, we should daily contemplate three things:
- The result received from acts of self-denial and sacrifice,
- The result received from acts of selfishness, and
- The sacrifice Jesus made in our behalf.
Let us look first at the results of selfishness. “When God’s bounties, so richly and abundantly given, are withheld from Him, and selfishly bestowed upon ourselves, God’s curse, in the place of His blessing, will surely be experienced; for this the Lord has declared….Selfishness is a deadly evil. Self-love and careless indifference to the specific terms of agreement between God and man, the refusal to act as His faithful stewards. Have brought upon them His curse, just as he declared would be the case. These souls have separated themselves from God by precept and example they have led others to disregard God’s plain commandments, and He could not bestow His blessing upon them.” Youth’s Instructor, August 26, 1897
“Even if we do not lose our souls, we shall realize in eternity the result of our unused talents.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 363
“He who refuses to become a ‘laborer together with God,’—the man who for the sake of selfish indulgence ignores the wants of his fellow men, the miser who heaps up his treasures here,—is withholding from himself the richest blessing that God can give him.” Counsels on Stewardship, 23
What are those blessings that we withhold from ourselves when we heap up treasures here on this earth. Through the practice of self-denial we receive the following blessings:
We are better able to understand the work of our Savior. “The giving that is the fruit of self-denial is a wonderful help to the giver. It imparts an education that enables us more fully to comprehend the work of Him who went about doing good, relieving the suffering, and supplying the needs of the destitute.” Messages to Young People, 300
Our character is thus molded into the likeness of our Savior. “While some go forth to preach, He calls upon others to answer his claims upon them for offerings with which to support His cause in the earth. He has placed means in the hands of men, that His divine gifts may flow through human channels in doing the work appointed us in saving our fellow men. This is one of God’s ways of exalting man. It is just the work that man needs, for it will stir the deepest sympathies of his heart, and call into exercise the highest capabilities of the mind.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 255
We are brought into unity with God and with one another. “Christ’s believing people are to perpetuate His love. This love is to draw them together around the cross. It is to divest them of all selfishness and bind them to God and to one another.” Ibid., 256
We are enabled to cooperate with heavenly intelligences. “When we are willing to put away our selfish desires and give the powers of heart and mind to the work of the cause of God, heavenly agencies will co-operate with us, making us a blessing to humanity.” Messages to Young People, 299
The message will go with power. “When those who know the truth practice the self-denial enjoined in God’s Word, the message will go with power. The Lord will hear our prayers for the conversion of souls. God’s people will let their light shine forth, and unbelievers, seeing their good works, will glorify our heavenly Father.” Ibid., 315
We will see souls we have helped to win to Christ in heaven. “The means used to bless others will bring returns. Riches rightly employed will accomplish great good. Souls will be won to Christ. He who follows Christ’s plan of life will see in the courts of God those for whom he has labored and sacrificed on earth.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 373
Investment. What is the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it business enterprises, real estate, stocks and bonds, or savings accounts? Or maybe you thing back to the days when investment was called for in the Sabbath School department. All of these can be very valid and useful tools for the work of the Lord is employed in His service; but they are dim in comparison to the most costly investment which has ever been made or ever will be made throughout the eons of eternity—the investment God made in the human race.
Will we then, seeing our Saviour’s tremendous sacrifice, allow our hearts to remain cold, hard, and selfish? Can we see Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane and on Calvary and cling tenaciously to our habits of ease, slothfulness, and indolence, giving nothing to the cause of God? God forbid.
“The Lord God of heaven collected all the riches of the universe, and laid them down in order to purchase the pearl of lost humanity. The Father gave all His divine resources into the hands of Christ in order that the richest blessings of heaven might be poured out upon a fallen race….This gift was given to man to convince him that God had left nothing undone that He could do, that there is nothing held in reserve, but that all heaven has been poured out in one vast gift.” Lift Him Up, 232
Yes, God has invested everything in the effort to bring to lost, degraded mankind the gift of salvation. While we were yet sinners, while we showed Him contempt, while we trampled upon His law, while we were in rebellion against His law, God invested all that He had to save us. We should respond with an investment, in percentage, no less than God invested in us—everything we have.
“Some think that only a portion of their money is the Lord’s. When they have set apart a portion for religious and charitable purposes, they regard the remainder as their own, to be used as they see fit. But in this they mistake. All we possess is the Lord’s and we are accountable to Him for the use we make of it. In the use of every penny it will be seen whether we love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 351
We are to account at the bar of God for the way that we spend every penny, but that is not all. We are also responsible for what we could have returned to God if we would have been wise managers of our time, influence, and money. Remember the story of the talents in Matthew 25? God actually required more in return than what He gave the servant with two talents. What are we to learn from this? God wants us to be more industrious and energetic than we have often realized.
Make a covenant with God.
- Choose a day of the week and dedicate all proceeds billed that day to the shortwave radio station. (And be prepared for a busy day!)
- Pledge all of your new pay clients over the next six months.
- Dedicate the profits from one project to the proclamation of the three angel’s messages through the means of the shortwave station.
- Donate a certain percentage of profits (above tithe and offerings) to the Lord.
- Give all new accounts to the shortwave project.
- Consecrate a certain percentage of profits to the project.
- Invest in something with eternal dividends! Sell your stocks and save taxes, too! (Contact Cecil Reed for particulars.)
- Land / Property Owners:
- Deed a piece of land to the cause of God and make your estate investment in heaven sure. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 692.)
- Pray about a second job such as house-sitting for families going on vacation and needing someone to stay in their home, baby-sitting, etc.
- Sell your collectibles! Stamp collections, coin collections, Hummels, etc.—they are worth money now, but soon will not be. Sell now and save souls for eternity!
Children and youth:
- Collect aluminum cans.
- Shovel snow or do yard work.
- Ask friends, neighbors, and relatives if there is anything you can do to help earn money for a mission project. (Tell them about the shortwave station!)
- Have a garage, attic, or yard sale, and donate the proceeds to the station.
- Dedicate the profits from two or more Sundays a month of colporteuring with your children to the radio station—a wonderful experience for your family, and soul-saving in two ways! (Call Steps to Life to order books and/or a suggested canvas.)
- Decide as a family to save all of the money spent on needless things such as gum, candy, and soda pop, and put it in a “self-denial box.”