Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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Our money has not been given us that we might honor
and glorify ourselves. As faithful stewards we are to use
it for the honor and glory of God. Some think that only
a portion of their means 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.
Money has great value, because it can do great good.
In the hands of God's children it is food for the hungry,
drink for the thirsty, and clothing for the naked. It is a
defense for the oppressed, and a means of help to the sick.
But money is of no more value than sand, only as it is put
to use in providing for the necessities of life, in blessing
others, and advancing the cause of Christ. [p. 352]
Hoarded wealth is not merely useless, it is a curse. In
this life it is a snare to the soul, drawing the affections
away from the heavenly treasure. In the great day of God
its witness to unused talents and neglected opportunities
will condemn its possessor. The Scripture says, "Go to
now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that
shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your
garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered;
and the rust of them shall bear witness against you, and
shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure
together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers
who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept
back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have
reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth."
But Christ sanctions no lavish or careless use of means.
His lesson in economy, "Gather up the fragments that
remain, that nothing be lost," is for all His followers.
(John 6:12.) He who realizes that his money is a talent
from God will use it economically, and will feel it a duty
to save that he may give.
The more means we expend in display and self-indulgence,
the less we can have to feed the hungry and clothe
the naked. Every penny used unnecessarily deprives the
spender of a precious opportunity of doing good. It is
robbing God of the honor and glory which should flow back
to Him through the improvement of His entrusted talents.
Kindly Impulses and Affections
Kindly affections, generous impulses, and a quick
apprehension of spiritual things are precious talents, and lay
their possessor under a weighty responsibility. All are to
be used in God's service. But here many err. Satisfied
with the possession of these qualities, they fail to bring [p. 353] them into active service for others. They flatter themselves
that if they had opportunity, if circumstances were
favorable, they would do a great and good work. But they
are awaiting the opportunity. They despise the narrowness
of the poor niggard who grudges even a pittance to the
needy. They see that he is living for self, and that he is
responsible for his misused talents. With much complacency
they draw the contrast between themselves and such
narrow-minded ones, feeling that their own condition is
much more favorable than that of their mean-souled neighbors.
But they are deceiving themselves. The mere
possession of unused qualities only increases their responsibility.
Those who possess large affections are under obligation
to God to bestow them, not merely on their friends,
but on all who need their help. Social advantages are
talents, and are to be used for the benefit of all within
reach of our influence. The love that gives kindness to only
a few is not love, but selfishness. It will not in any way
work for the good of souls or the glory of God. Those who
thus leave their Master's talents unimproved are even more
guilty than are the ones for whom they feel such contempt.
To them it will be said, Ye knew your Master's will,
but did it not.
Talents Multiplied by Use
Talents used are talents multiplied. Success is not the
result of chance or of destiny; it is the outworking of God's
own providence, the reward of faith and discretion, of
virtue and persevering effort. The Lord desires us to use
every gift we have; and if we do this, we shall have greater
gifts to use. He does not supernaturally endow us with
the qualifications we lack; but while we use that which
we have, He will work with us to increase and strengthen [p. 354] every faculty. By every wholehearted, earnest sacrifice
for the Master's service our powers will increase. While
we yield ourselves as instruments for the Holy Spirit's
working, the grace of God works in us to deny old inclinations,
to overcome powerful propensities, and to form new
habits. As we cherish and obey the promptings of the
Spirit, our hearts are enlarged to receive more and more
of His power, and to do more and better work. Dormant
energies are aroused, and palsied faculties receive new life.
The humble worker who obediently responds to the call
of God may be sure of receiving divine assistance. To
accept so great and holy a responsibility is itself elevating
to the character. It calls into action the highest mental
and spiritual powers, and strengthens and purifies the mind
and heart. Through faith in the power of God, it is
wonderful how strong a weak man may become, how decided
his efforts, how prolific of great results. He who begins
with a little knowledge, in a humble way, and tells what
he knows, while seeking diligently for further knowledge,
will find the whole heavenly treasure awaiting his demand.
The more he seeks to impart light, the more light he will
receive. The more one tries to explain the word of God
to others, with a love for souls, the plainer it becomes to
himself. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our
powers, the more knowledge and power we shall have.
Every effort made for Christ will react in blessing upon
ourselves. If we use our means for His glory, He will give
us more. As we seek to win others to Christ, bearing the
burden of souls in our prayers, our own hearts will throb
with the quickening influence of God's grace; our own
affections will glow with more divine fervor; our whole
Christian life will be more of a reality, more earnest, more
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