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.
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.
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 »
Some who profess to believe the truth are lacking in discernment and fail to appreciate moral worth. Persons who boast much of their fidelity to the cause and talk as though they think they know all that is worth knowing, are not humble in heart. They may have money and property, and this is sufficient to give them influence with some; but it will not raise them one jot in favor with God. Money has power and sways a mighty influence. Excellence of character and moral worth are often overlooked if possessed by the poor man. But what does God care for money, for property? The cattle upon a thousand hills are His. The world and all that is therein are His. The inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers before Him. Men and property are but as the small dust of the balance. He is no respecter of persons. 1T 536.1
Men of property often look upon their wealth and say: By my wisdom have I gotten me this wealth. But who gave them power to get wealth? God has bestowed upon them the ability which they possess, but instead of giving Him the glory they take it to themselves. He will prove them and try them, and will bring their glorying to the dust; He will remove their strength and scatter their possessions. Instead of a blessing they will realize a curse. An act of wrong or oppression, a deviation from the right way, should no sooner be tolerated in a man who possesses property than in a man who has none. All the riches that the most wealthy ever possessed are not of sufficient value to cover the smallest sin before God; they will not be accepted as a ransom for transgression. Repentance, true humility, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit alone will be accepted of God. And no man can have true humility before God unless the same is exemplified before others. Nothing less than repentance, confession, and forsaking of sin is acceptable to God. 1T 536.2Read in context »
A Telling Influence-Counsel to a Sister—I hope, my sister, that you will have an influence in the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.... Get the oil of grace in the conscious and unconscious influence of words spoken, revealing the fact that you have the light of life to shine forth to others in a direct, positive testimony upon subjects where you can all agree, and this will leave a telling influence. My heart is with your heart in this work of temperance. I speak upon this subject most decidedly, and it has a decided influence upon other minds.—Manuscript 74, 1898. WM 164.1
Doing Missionary Work Without Neglecting Home Duties—Intelligent Christian women may use their talents to the very highest account. They can show by their life of self-denial and by their willingness to work to the best of their ability that they believe the truth and are being sanctified through it. Many need a work of this kind to develop the powers they possess. Wives and mothers should in no case neglect their husbands and their children, but they can do much without neglecting home duties, and all have not these responsibilities. WM 164.2
Who can have so deep a love for the souls of men and women for whom Christ died as those who are partakers of His grace? Who can better represent the religion of Christ than Christian women, women who are earnestly laboring to bring souls to the light of truth? Who else is so well adapted to the work of the Sabbath school? The true mother is the true, teacher of children. If with a heart imbued with the love of Christ, she teaches the children of her class, praying with them and for them, she may see souls converted and gathered into the fold of Christ. I do not recommend that woman should seek to become a voter or officeholder; but as a missionary, teaching the truth by epistolary correspondence, distributing reading matter, conversing with families and praying with the mother and children, she may do much and be a blessing.—The Signs of the Times, September 16, 1886. WM 164.3Read in context »