Let no man seek his own, etc. - Let none, for his private gratification or emolument, disturb the peace or injure the soul of another. Let every man live, not for himself, but for every part of the great human family with which he is surrounded.
Let no man seek his own - This should be properly interpreted of the matter under discussion, though the direction assumes the form of a general principle. Originally it meant, “Let no man, in regard to the question about partaking of the meat offered in sacrifice to idols, consult his own pleasure, happiness, or convenience; but let him, as the leading rule on the subject, ask what will be for the welfare of others. Let him not gratify his own taste and inclinations, regardless of their feelings, comfort, and salvation; but let him in these things have a primary reference to their welfare.” He may dispense with these things without danger or injury; He cannot indulge in them without endangering the happiness or purity of others. His duty therefore requires him to abstain. The injunction, however, has a general form, and is applicable to all Christians, and to all cases “of a similar kind.” It does not mean that a man is not in any instance to regard his own welfare, happiness, or salvation; it does not mean that a man owes no duty to himself or family; or that he should neglect all these to advance the welfare of others; but the precept means, that “in cases like that under consideration,” when there is no positive law, and when a man‘s example would have a great influence, he should be guided in his conduct, not by a reference to his own ease, comfort or gratification, but by a reference to the purity and salvation of others. And the observance of this simple rule would make a prodigious change in the church and the world.
But every man another‘s wealth - The word “wealth” is not in the Greek. Literally, “that which is of another;” the word τὸ toreferring to anything and everything that pertains to his comfort, usefulness, happiness, or salvation - The sentiment of the whole is, “when a man is bound and directed by no positive law, his grand rule should be the comfort and salvation of others.” This is a simple rule; it might be easily applied; and this would be a sort of balance-wheel in the various actions and plans of the world. If every man would adopt this rule, he could not be in much danger of going wrong; he would be certain that he would not live in vain.
Elder C lost his influence and the power of the truth by engaging in speculations, and that out of his brethren. This was peculiarly offensive to God in a minister of Christ. But you have done the same. You have made Elder C's course an excuse for your love of traffic. You have justified your course of advantaging yourself, because other ministers have pursued this course. Other ministers are no criterion for you. If they injure their influence, and deprive themselves of the approbation of God and the confidence of their brethren, their course should be shunned. Christ is your example, and you have no excuse for taking the course of erring men for example unless their lives are in accordance with the life of Christ. Your influence will be death to the cause of God if you continue to pursue the course that you have pursued for a few years past. Your trafficking and trading, and gathering up from your brethren means that you have not earned, is a great sin in the sight of God. 2T 622.1
Some have really deprived themselves of means necessary for the comfort of their families, and some of even the necessaries of life, to help you, and you have received it. Paul writes to his Philippian brethren: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” He also writes to his Corinthian brethren: “Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth.” Again, he mournfully says: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” 2T 622.2
The spirit which you cherish, of looking out for your selfish interest, is increasing upon you, and your conversation has been with covetousness. Paul admonishes his Hebrew brethren: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” You are sacrificing your reputation and your influence to an avaricious spirit. God's precious cause is reproached because of this spirit that has taken hold of its ministers. You are blinded and do not see how peculiarly offensive to God these things are. If you have decided to go in and get all of the world you can, do so; but do not do it under cover of preaching Christ. Your time is either devoted to the cause of God or it is not. Your own interest has been paramount. The time that you should devote to the cause of God is devoted too much to your own personal concerns, and you receive, from the treasury of God, means that you do not earn. You are willing to receive means from those who are not as comfortable as yourself. You do not look on their side and have bowels of sympathy and compassion. You do not closely investigate to see whether those who help you can afford to do so. Frequently it would be more in place for you to help those from whom you receive help. You need to be a transformed man before the work of God can prosper in your hands. Your home and farm cares have occupied your mind. You have not given yourself to the work. As an excuse for being so much at home, you have said that your children needed your presence and care, and that you must be with them in order to carry out the light given you in vision. But, Brother B, have you done this? You excuse yourself by saying that your children are now beyond your control, too old for you to command. In this you mistake. None of your children are too old to respect your authority and obey your commands while they have the shelter of your roof. How old were Eli's sons? They were married men; and Eli, as a father and a priest of God, was required to restrain them. 2T 623.1Read in context »
At Jerusalem the delegates from Antioch met the brethren of the various churches, who had gathered for a general meeting, and to them they related the success that had attended their ministry among the Gentiles. They then gave a clear outline of the confusion that had resulted because certain converted Pharisees had gone to Antioch declaring that, in order to be saved, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. AA 191.1
This question was warmly discussed in the assembly. Intimately connected with the question of circumcision were several others demanding careful study. One was the problem as to what attitude should be taken toward the use of meats offered to idols. Many of the Gentile converts were living among ignorant and superstitious people who made frequent sacrifices and offerings to idols. The priests of this heathen worship carried on an extensive merchandise with the offerings brought to them, and the Jews feared that the Gentile converts would bring Christianity into disrepute by purchasing that which had been offered to idols, thereby sanctioning, in some measure, idolatrous customs. AA 191.2
Again, the Gentiles were accustomed to eat the flesh of animals that had been strangled, while the Jews had been divinely instructed that when beasts were killed for food, particular care was to be taken that the blood should flow from the body; otherwise the meat would not be regarded as wholesome. God had given these injunctions to the Jews for the purpose of preserving their health. The Jews regarded it as sinful to use blood as an article of diet. They held that the blood was the life, and that the shedding of blood was in consequence of sin. AA 191.3Read in context »