Lessons in Economy and Self-Denial
Much might be said to the young people regarding their privilege to help the cause of God by learning lessons of economy and self-denial. Many think that they must indulge in this pleasure and that, and in order to do this, they accustom themselves to live up to the full extent of their income. God wants us to do better in this respect.
We sin against ourselves when we are satisfied with enough to eat and drink and wear. God has something higher than this before us. When we are willing to put away our selfish desires, and give the powers of heart and mind to the work of the cause of God, heavenly agencies will co-operate with us, making us a blessing to humanity.
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Even though he may be poor, the youth who is industrious and economical can save a little for the cause of God. When I was only twelve years old, I knew what it was to economize. With my sister I learned a trade, and although we would earn only twenty-five cents a day, from this sum we were able to save a little to give to missions.
We saved little by little until we had thirty dollars. Then when the message of the Lord’s soon coming came to us, with a call for men and means, we felt it a privilege to hand over the thirty dollars to father, asking him to invest it in tracts and pamphlets to send the message to those who were in darkness.
It is the duty of all who touch the work of God to learn economy in the use of time and money. Those who indulge in idleness reveal that they attach little importance to the glorious truths committed to us. They need to be educated in habits of industry, and to learn to work with an eye single to the glory of God.
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Deny Self and Improve Talent
Those who have not good judgment in the use of time and money, should advise with those who have had experience. With the money that we had earned at our trade, my sister and I provided ourselves with clothes. We would hand our money to mother, saying,
Buy, so that after we have paid for our clothing, there will be something left to give for missionary work.
And she would do this, thus encouraging in us a missionary spirit.
The giving that is the fruit of self-denial, is a wonderful help to the giver. It imparts an education that enables us more fully to comprehend the work of Him who went about doing good, relieving the suffering, and supplying the needs of the destitute.
The Saviour lived not to please himself. In his life there was no trace of selfishness. Though in a world that he himself had created, he claimed no part of it as his home. “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,” he said; “but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
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If we make the best use of our talents, the Spirit of God will continually lead us to greater efficiency. To the man who had faithfully traded with his talents the Lord said, “Well done, 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 thy Lord.” The one-talented man was also expected to do his best. Had he traded with his lord’s goods, the Lord would have multiplied the talent.
To every man God has given his work, “according to his several ability.” God has the measure of our ability, and knows just what to lay upon us. Of the one who is found faithful, the command is given, Entrust him with greater responsibility. If he proves faithful to that trust, the word is given again, Trust him with still more. Thus through the grace of Christ he grows to the full measure of a man in Christ Jesus.
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Have you only one talent? Put it out to the exchangers, by wise investment increasing it to two. Do with your might what your hands find to do. Use your talent so wisely that it will fulfil its appointed mission. It will be worth everything to you to hear the words spoken to you at last, “Well done.” But only to those who have done well, will the “Well done” be spoken.
No Time to Lose
Young men and women, you have no time to lose. Seek earnestly to bring solid timbers into your character building. We beseech you for Christ’s sake to be faithful. Seek to redeem the time.
Consecrate yourselves every day to the service of God, and you will find that you do not need many holidays to spend in idleness, nor much money to spend in self-gratification. Heaven is watching for those who are seeking to improve and to become molded to the likeness of Christ. When the human agent submits to Christ, the Holy Spirit will accomplish a great work for him.
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Every true, self-sacrificing worker for God is willing to spend and be spent for the sake of others. Christ says,
He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
By earnest, thoughtful efforts to help where help is needed, the true Christian shows his love for God and for his fellow beings. He may lose his life in service; but when Christ comes to gather his jewels to himself, he will find it again.