That they do good - That they relieve the wants of their fellow creatures, according to the abundance which God has given them. The highest luxury a human being can enjoy on this side of the grave.
Rich in good works - That their good works may be as abundant as their riches.
Ready to distribute - Ευμεταδοτους ειναι· That they give nothing through partiality or favor, but be guided in their distribution by the necessities of the objects presented to them; and that they confine not their charity at home, but scatter it abroad.
Willing to communicate - Κοινωνικους· Bringing every poor person into a state of fellowship with themselves.
That they be rich in good works - “That their good works may be as abundant as their riches.”
Ready to distribute - To divide with others; compare Acts 4:34. The meaning is, that they should be liberal, or bountiful.
Willing to communicate - Margin, or “sociable.” The translation in the text is a more correct rendering of the Greek. The idea is, that they should be willing to share their blessings with others, so as to make others comfortable; see the notes on Hebrews 13:16; compare the argument of Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, and the notes on that passage.
God has made a law for His people that a tenth of all the increase shall be His. I have given you, says God, nine tenths; I ask one tenth of all the increase. That one tenth the rich man had withheld from God. If he had not done this, if he had loved God supremely instead of loving and serving himself, he would not have accumulated so great treasures that there would be lack of room to bestow them. Had he bestowed his goods upon his needy brethren to supply their necessities, there would have been no need of tearing down and building greater barns. But he had disregarded the principles of the law of God. He had not loved the Lord with all his heart and his neighbor as himself. Had he used his wealth as a bounty lent him of God with which to do good he would have laid up treasure in heaven and been rich in good works. 3T 546.1
The length and usefulness of life do not consist in the amount of our earthly possessions. Those who use their wealth in doing good will see no necessity for large accumulations in this world; for the treasure which is used to advance the cause of God and which is given to the needy in Christ's name is given to Christ, and He lays it up for us in the bank of heaven in bags which wax not old. He who does this is rich toward God, and his heart will be where his treasures are secured. He who humbly uses what God has given for the honor of the Giver, freely giving as he has received, may feel the peace and assurance in all his business that God's hand is over him for good, and he himself will bear the impress of God, having the Father's smile. 3T 546.2
Many have pitied the lot of the Israel of God in being compelled to give systematically, besides making liberal offerings yearly. An all-wise God knew best what system of benevolence would be in accordance with His providence, and has given His people directions in regard to it. It has ever proved that nine tenths are worth more to them than ten tenths. Those who have thought to increase their gains by withholding from God, or by bringing Him an inferior offering,—the lame, the blind, or the diseased,—have been sure to suffer loss. 3T 546.3Read in context »
Great is the work and mission of women, especially those who are wives and mothers. They can be a blessing to all around them. They can have a powerful influence for good if they will let their light so shine that others may be led to glorify our heavenly Father. Women may have a transforming influence if they will only consent to yield their way and their will to God, and let Him control their mind, affections, and being. They can have an influence which will tend to refine and elevate those with whom they associate. But this class are generally unconscious of the power they possess. They exert an unconscious influence which seems to work out naturally from a sanctified life, a renewed heart. It is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree of divine planting. Self is forgotten, merged in the life of Christ. To be rich in good works is as natural as their breath. They live to do others good and yet are ready to say: We are unprofitable servants. 2T 465.1
God has assigned woman her mission; and if she, in her humble way, yet to the best of her ability, makes a heaven of her home, faithfully and lovingly performing her duties to her husband and children, continually seeking to let a holy light shine from her useful, pure, and virtuous life to brighten all around her, she is doing the work left her of the Master, and will hear from His divine lips the words: Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. These women who are doing with ready willingness what their hands find to do, with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens, and training their children for God, are missionaries in the highest sense. They are engaged in an important branch of the great work to be done on earth to prepare mortals for a higher life, and they will receive their reward. Children are to be trained for heaven and fitted to shine in the courts of the Lord's kingdom. When parents, especially mothers, have a true sense of the important, responsible work which God has left for them to do, they will not be so much engaged in the business which concerns their neighbors, with which they have nothing to do. They will not go from house to house to engage in fashionable gossip, dwelling upon the faults, wrongs, and inconsistencies of their neighbors. They will feel so great a burden of care for their own children that they can find no time to take up a reproach against their neighbor. Gossipers and news carriers are a terrible curse to neighborhoods and churches. Two thirds of all the church trials arise from this source. 2T 465.2
God requires all to do with faithfulness the duties of today. This is much neglected by the larger share of professed Christians. Especially is present duty lost sight of by the class I have mentioned, who imagine that they are of a finer order of beings than their fellow mortals around them. The fact that their minds turn in this channel is proof that they are of an inferior order, narrow, conceited, and selfish. They feel high above the lowly and humble poor, such as Jesus says He has called. They are forever trying to secure position, to gain applause, to obtain credit for doing some great work that others cannot do. But it disturbs the fine grain of their refined organism to associate with the humble, the unfortunate. They mistake the reason altogether. The reason why they shun any of these duties not so agreeable is found in their supreme selfishness. Dear self is the center of all their actions and motives. 2T 466.1Read in context »
Here is portrayed the value of eternal riches, in contrast with the treasures of earth. If the purpose and aim of your life is to lay up treasure in heaven, you will be lifted above the base, sordid, demoralizing influence of an inordinate desire to obtain wealth in this life. Laying up treasure in heaven will give nobility to the character; it will strengthen benevolence, encourage mercy; cultivate sympathy, brotherly kindness, and charity. It will unite the soul of man with Christ, by links that can never be broken. You may lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven by being rich in good works—rich in imperishable and spiritual things. OHC 195.2Read in context »
It is not preachers merely, to go among the churches and pray and exhort occasionally, that Vermont needs. A cry for laborers could be consistently raised among God's people in Vermont. Earnest, zealous workmen are needed to strengthen the things that remain by ministering to the spiritual wants of the people. The cause of God everywhere, especially in Vermont, needs burden bearers. Men go over and over the same ground, but accomplish very little, if anything. They have a good visit with their brethren, and this is frequently all that is accomplished; and yet they expect to be remunerated for their time. 2T 649.1
The case of Brother and Sister K comes before me as I write. They have not practiced caring for others. They have not felt the responsibility resting upon them to be burden bearers. Brother K was shown me among others who have felt that they had a work to do for the Lord. Indeed he has, and so have very many others, if they will do it. There are thorough workmen in the cause of God, who have an experience in the work and who devote their time and strength to the service of God. These should be liberally sustained. But those who are merely starting out to visit the churches occasionally—especially those who have no families to provide for and who have a competency themselves—should not draw upon the treasury of the Lord. 2T 649.2
Neither Brother nor Sister K has an experience in sacrificing for the truth, in being rich in good works, laying up their treasures in heaven. Their sympathy, care, and patience have not been called into exercise by dependent, loving children. They have consulted their own selfish convenience. Their hearts have not been a wellspring sending forth the living streams of tenderness and affection. In blessing others by kindly words of love and acts of mercy and benevolence, they would realize a blessing themselves. They have been too narrow in their sphere of usefulness. Unless such become transformed in mind and being, and are renewed by the spirit of Christ, they cannot become thorough, efficient workmen in the Redeemer's cause. His life is the example for Christians. Self-sacrifice and disinterested benevolence should characterize their lives. Self-interest is too prominent. Oh, how little does Brother K know of what it is to labor for God, to lift the cross of Christ and walk in the footsteps of the self-denying Redeemer! 2T 649.3Read in context »