Section C: God’s Truth and You
Most people would consider it a great honour and privilege to be asked to invest and become a partner in a growing, active business venture. And God is calling for Christians today to do just that – to invest in a partnership with Himself in the greatest business enterprise of all, that of preparing for His future kingdom of glory.
God has given man many ways to invest in His kingdom. In the first place, He has given everyone time, abilities, and material blessings. The purpose is not just for these things to be a blessing only to the individual but to others as well. Ask yourself, “How am I using the gifts lent to me?” Nothing which man has can be truly called his own. Everything, including his life and health, are the outworking of the providence of God. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; … for we are also His offspring.” Acts 17:28. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1. “For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are Mine.” Psalm 50:10,11. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:8. We ourselves belong to God. See Psalm 79:13.
By what authority does God claim such ownership? “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. “Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3
In addition to being created by God, man was redeemed from the kingdom of darkness by Jesus Christ. Thus we are His twice over! “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18, 19.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. Before we act in any affair of life, we are to keep the principle always in view that “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Jesus used a parable to illustrate man’s relationship to the goods of this world. “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Matthew 25:14. Upon his return, the master called his servants to account for their use of his goods. See Matthew 25:19-30.
Missionaries for God
Just as the servants in the parable were entrusted with resources and received a commission, so all Christians have been entrusted with resources and given a commission to be co-workers in His great plan of salvation. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:18-20.
God wants us to be co-workers with Him. This requires our willingness to somehow use every ability we possess to further His enterprise – His kingdom. Often in Bible history God called men and women from the midst of other seemingly important work to do a great work for Him. Moses and David were tending sheep. Gideon was threshing wheat to keep his people from starvation. Elisha was plowing his father’s field. Paul was Saul, that great enemy of God’s people, until Jesus turned him around from his goal of persecuting Christians. The disciples were working at other jobs – fishermen, tax collectors, etc. Each gladly took up the mission assigned him by God. Not everyone is called to enter full-time missionary work, but each is given certain abilities to be fully dedicated to the Master’s use – to be invested wisely for the advancement of God’s kingdom.
Time – the Sabbath
One talent, which is entrusted to every person, is time. Each one is given 24 hours, 7 days a week, not to be used selfishly but wisely. At creation, God set limits to how much of his time man was to use solely for himself. “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.” Genesis 2:2,3
God placed a blessing upon the seventh day of the week. In sanctifying this day, He set it apart for holy time – not to be used as any other day but to be special time. Therefore, we should find out from the Bible how this time is to be spent. First, we must remember that to God the day begins not at midnight but at sundown. See Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31. “…From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” Leviticus 23:32. The Lord asks man to set apart 1/7 of his time to be used for God; namely, from, according to present-day reckoning, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. This is the Sabbath of the Lord, as is further commanded in the fourth commandment. See Exodus 20:8-11.
God promises a rich blessing to those who faithfully invest this time for God. “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour Him, not doing thing own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah 58:13, 14.
God realized that man is in danger of forgetting His holy day. That is why He began the fourth commandment with the word “Remember.” Throughout the week, we are to remember and make all our plans so we may keep the seventh day holy. Especially on Friday, the day before the Sabbath, we are to take care of all secular affairs so these things will not rob time from God. For this reason, the day preceding the Sabbath is called in the Scriptures the “preparation day.” “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” Mark 15:42.
The Sabbath is a great blessing when properly observed – when the clothing is prepared, the house cleaned, the cooking done, and the baths taken beforehand. Whatever can be done before the Sabbath should be done. “When the Sabbath commences, we should place a guard upon ourselves, upon our acts and our words, lest we rob God by appropriating to our own use that time which is strictly the Lord’s. We should not do ourselves, nor suffer our children to do, any manner of our own work for a livelihood or anything which could have been done on the six working days. Friday is the day of preparation. Time can then be devoted to making the necessary preparation for the Sabbath and to thinking and conversing about it.” Ellen G. White, Child Guidance, p. 529.
If for some reason some work remains uncompleted, lay it aside until after the Sabbath is over. Note the example given by the Christian women after Jesus; crucifixion. “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” Luke 23:56
The Sabbath is a time to worship God in His house. “And He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogues on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. Luke 4:16. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25.
It is also proper to spend a part of the Sabbath in nature. “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.” Acts 16:13. Deeds of mercy are in full harmony with the keeping of the Sabbath. See Luke 13:14-16.
Great blessings are in store for those who faithfully set aside the sacred time of the seventh day of the week to honour the God of creation.
Tithe and offerings
The Lord also asks man to return to Him a portion of the wealth entrusted to him. Remember that everything we possess actually belongs to God, including ourselves. We can ask ourselves the question, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits toward me?” Psalm 116:12. God’s word answers our inquiry and promises a blessing as well. “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Proverbs 3:9,10.
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.” Malachi 3:8-11.
Tithe means simply giving the Lord 1/10 of our increase; and besides the tithe, the Lord also asks for freewill offerings. Those who have faithfully given the Lord His own with a thankful heart can tell you from experience that God does give the blessings He has promised. Their 90% goes further than the 100% of others. Why not put God to the test? He promises a measureless blessing.
The first record of tithe paying was in the time of Abraham. See Genesis 14:18-20. Jacob promised to pay a tithe to the Lord. See Genesis 28:20-22.
For what purpose is tithe to be used? “And, behold, I have given the children of Levi [those who ministered in the sanctuary] all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Numbers 18:21. “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:14. Remember that the tithe does not belong to man but to God it is holy and so should be used only to support the proclamation of the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30-33.
What interest does your investment in the bank of heaven pay? “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Luke 6:38. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:6. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” Matthew 25:21.