Lesson 8                                      *August 13–19

Lord of Our Resources


Memory Text: James 1:17, NKJV  17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

“Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Used by Permission.


Sabbath Afternoon

Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, August 17, 1891

August 17, 1891 Missionary Work.- By Mrs. E. G. White.

The cross of Calvary is to be a constant reminder of the future, nobler world, the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for all who love him. We are to be enthusiasts. And as we by faith view the glories within the temple of God, we shall seek to awaken enthusiasm in others, a desire to behold things unseen. Our work is to attract minds away from earth to heaven; to take others with us as companions, to walk the path that is cast up for the ransomed of the Lord. The children of the Heavenly King are to move among men, not as citizens of the world, but as citizens of the kingdom above. We are pilgrims and strangers in this world, seeking a better country, even a heavenly. "And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming." {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 1}

We do not realize the claims of redemption. Christ has purchased us by his own precious life. His tender care has been over us every moment of our existence. Then has he not a right to our service? He has the claims of redemption, but we have lost the sense of what it means. Redemption has been accepted in a vague way by us, but it seems like a long-past transaction, when we were lost to heaven, lost to God, condemned by the law, without hope. But here we are with the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon us. Look at the cross of Calvary. Shall its solemn mysteries fade from our minds? It is a theme that should quicken us into gratitude, that "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." How can the church look upon these words, and yet be slothful servants? {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 2}

The Lord has work for all to do. God intends that men shall be laborers together with him. He has laid fathers and mothers under tribute to him, to begin the work in their homes in a decided, Christ-like spirit, that the love of Christ may win their children. They must do everything possible to save their loved ones. Christ is constantly making intercession for the fallen race.  He will furnish the grace, the Holy Spirit, if human agencies will become his channels to communicate the same to the world. The benevolence of Christ, his yearning love for souls, is deep and full. Where are the workers to help him? Where is the money to sustain them in their fields of labor? {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 3}

The cross of Christ is to be the great center round which everything must revolve. Everything else must be in subordination to it. The cross is planted midway between divinity and humanity, between heaven and earth. It never moves nearer the earth. All things concerning the salvation of man must lie in the shadow of the cross. Heavenly intelligencies, uniting with the earthly, bow to this central attraction, and voices from heaven and earth unfold to the universe the plan of redemption. The cross is not to lose its significance to either world. All property, all wealth, that finds its way into the Lord's treasury, finds its true place in the arrangement of God. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 4}

The truth must ever struggle with error in order to lift high the standard of God's law, and to exalt Christ, because he bore its penalty that he might save man, and yet vindicate the immutability of the law. If Christians are like Christ, they will not hoard their Lord's money, or bind it up in worldly projects, but will invest their all in the cause of God and bring an ample revenue of glory to lay at the feet of their Redeemer. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 5}

Brethren and sisters, will you work for selfish purposes? Will you let the world with its selfish aims and principles come between you and your God? Will you serve mammon? Christ plainly declares that you cannot serve God and mammon. Will you subscribe your name on the pages of the world's record, or will you relate yourself to God, and let him write your name in the record books of heaven, to be immortalized in the universe of God? Christ has the first claim on you. "Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 6}

I entreat you, spring into action at once, and be all that the name Christian signifies. You will then have no desire to live for self. You will have the high distinction of living wholly for Christ. By his mediatorial right all things belong to Christ. For him and by him all things were created. But when man sinned, the Son of God chose to assume human nature, and come to our world to die for the guilty race. By the cross of Calvary was revealed to the sinless universe the character of Satan. In putting to death through human agencies the Lord of life and glory, Satan made manifest the wickedness of his deceptive character. Christ had cast up the immeasurable sum of guilt to be canceled because of sin, and he gathered to his dying soul this vast responsibility, taking the sins of the whole world upon himself. Human nature was to him a robe of suffering; and when the crisis came, when he yielded himself a victim to Satan's rage, when he hung agonizing upon the cross, dying the cruelest, most ignominious of deaths, the hosts of evil exulted, but man was saved. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 7}

While we contemplate the cross, the Son of God assuming the mass of human guilt, the mystery of redemption seems wonderful. Jesus points us to the love of God; the Father provided this propitiation because he loved us, that there might be a medium through which he could be reconciled to man and man to him. And our Lord, having committed himself to the wonderful work of redemption, would withhold nothing necessary to the completion of his plan.  He poured out all heaven to man in that one great gift. And then he completed the work by surrounding man with unlimited blessings, favor upon favor, gift upon gift, opening to our view all the treasures of the future world. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 8}

But what of man? Is he so palsied with sin that he is incapable of appreciating the elements of a divine life? Christ draws man, but, alas! how few respond to the influence. Human selfishness is the barrier to eternal life. How can Heaven look upon any disloyalty or rebellion against the authority of God? It is stirred with indignation at the greatness of the guilt of man, the widespread rebellion that would turn all things created by him for the benefit of man, into weapons of war against him, exalting human wisdom above God's, and human achievements above the works of God. Wherever we may go, into business places, into national councils and government offices, God is there to assert his original claims. He declares, "I made all things; all are mine." The cross was planted midway between heaven and earth in order that Christ might reach both ways, and bridge the gulf that sin had made between God and man. {ST, August 17, 1891 par. 9}


Giving Thanks for Every Good and Perfect Gift (James 1:16-17)

James 1:16-17 NKJV 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Acts 17:28 NKJV 28 "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'

Deuteronomy 8:7-18 NKJV 7 "For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; 8 "a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9 "a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10 "When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you. 11 "Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 "lest-when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 "and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 "when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; 15 "who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock;

Deuteronomy 8:16- 18 16 "who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end- 17 "then you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.' 18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.


Returning a Faithful Tithe

Leviticus 27:30 NKJV 30 'And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S. It is holy to the LORD.

Malachi 3:8-10 NKJV 8 "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. 9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this," Says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Genesis 14:20 NKJV 20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand." And he gave him a tithe of all.

Hebrews 7:2 NKJV 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace,"

Genesis 28:22 NKJV 22 "And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God's house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You."

Leviticus 27:30-32 NKJV 30 'And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD'S. It is holy to the LORD. 31 'If a man wants at all to redeem any of his tithes, he shall add one-fifth to it. 32 'And concerning the tithe of the herd or the flock, of whatever passes under the rod, the tenth one shall be holy to the LORD.

Numbers 18:24 NKJV 24 "For the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer up as a heave offering to the LORD, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said to them, 'Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance.'"

Numbers 18:26 NKJV 26 "Speak thus to the Levites, and say to them: 'When you take from the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you shall offer up a heave offering of it to the LORD, a tenth of the tithe.

Numbers 18:28 NKJV 28 'Thus you shall also offer a heave offering to the LORD from all your tithes which you receive from the children of Israel, and you shall give the LORD'S heave offering from it to Aaron the priest.

Deuteronomy 12:6 NKJV 6 "There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.

Deuteronomy 12:11 NKJV 11 "then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 12:17 NKJV 17 "You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand.

Hebrews 5:9-10 NKJV 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"

Hebrews 7:1-22 NKJV 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated "king of righteousness," and then also king of Salem, meaning "king of peace," 3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually. 4 Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils. 5 And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come from the loins of Abraham; 6 but he whose genealogy is not derived from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. 7 Now beyond all contradiction the lesser is blessed by the better. 8 Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. 9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak, 10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him. 11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. 13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. 15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest 16 who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. 17 For He testifies: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek."

Heb 7:18-22 18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, 19 for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 And inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath 21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: "The LORD has sworn And will not relent, 'You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek'"), 22 by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.

1 Corinthians 9:11-14 NKJV 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.


Laying Up Treasure in Heaven (Matt. 6:19-21).

Matthew 16:19-21 NKJV 19 "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.

1 John 2:15-17 NKJV 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Luke 12:16-21 NKJV 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."


Living as Faithful Stewards (Matt. 24:45-51)

Matthew 24:45-51 NKJV 45 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 "Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 48 "But if that evil servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' 49 "and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 "the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 "and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Learning to Be Content

1 Timothy 6:6 NKJV 6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.

Philippians 4:11-13 NKJV 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Hebrews 13:5 NKJV 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church. Vol. 1, p. 541

Paul in this letter to Timothy would impress upon his mind the necessity of giving such instruction as should remove the deception which so easily steals upon the rich, that because of their riches they are superior to those who are in poverty, that because of their ability to acquire they are superior in wisdom and judgment--in short, that gain is godliness. Here is a fearful deception. How few heed the charge which Paul commissioned Timothy to make to the rich! How many flatter themselves that their acquisitiveness is godliness! Paul declares, "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Although rich persons may devote their whole lives to the one object of getting riches, yet as they brought nothing into the world, they can carry nothing out. They must die and leave that which cost them so much labor to obtain. They staked their all, their eternal interest, to obtain this property, and have lost both worlds. {1T 541.1}

Paul shows what risks men will run to become rich. But (p. 542) many are determined to be rich; this is their study, and in their zeal eternal considerations are overlooked. They are blinded by Satan and make themselves believe that it is for good purposes they desire this gain; they strain their consciences, deceive themselves, and are constantly coveting riches. Such have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. They have sacrificed their noble, elevated principles, given up their faith for riches, and, if not disappointed in their object, they are disappointed in the happiness which they supposed riches would bring. They are entangled, perplexed with care; they have made themselves slaves to their avarice and compelled their families to the same slavery, and the advantages they reap are "many sorrows." "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." Men are not to hoard up their riches and take no good of them, depriving themselves of the comforts of life and virtually becoming slaves in order to retain or increase their earthly treasure. {1T 541.2}


Luke 12:13-21 NKJV 13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." 16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' 18 "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Ellen G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 256

By the parable of the foolish rich man, Christ showed the folly of those who make the world their all. This man had received everything from God. The sun had been permitted to shine upon his land; for its rays fall on the just and on the unjust. The showers of heaven descend on the evil and on the good. The Lord had caused vegetation to flourish, and the fields to bring forth abundantly. The rich man was in perplexity as to what he should do with his produce. His barns were full to overflowing, and he had no place to put the surplus of his harvest. He did not think of God, from whom all his mercies had come. He did not realize that God had made him a steward of His goods that he might help the needy. He had a blessed opportunity of being God's almoner, but he thought only of ministering to his own comfort. {COL 256.1}

The situation of the poor, the orphan, the widow, the suffering, the afflicted, was brought to this rich man's attention; there were many places in which to bestow his goods. He could easily have relieved himself of a portion of his abundance, and many homes would have been freed from want, many who were hungry would have been fed, many naked clothed, many hearts made glad, many prayers for bread and clothing answered, and a melody of praise would have ascended to heaven. The Lord had heard the prayers of the needy, and of His goodness He had prepared for the poor. (Ps. 68:10.) Abundant provision for the wants of many had been made in the blessings bestowed upon the rich man. But he closed his heart to the cry of the needy, and said to his servants, "This will I do: I will pull (p. 257) down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry." {COL 256.2}

John 3:1-2 NKJV 1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

John 19:38-40 NKJV 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105

Now, when the Jews were trying to destroy the infant church, Nicodemus came forward in its defense. No longer cautious and questioning, he encouraged the faith of the disciples and used his wealth in helping to sustain the church at Jerusalem and in advancing the work of the gospel. Those who in other days had paid him reverence, now scorned and persecuted him, and he became poor in this world's goods; yet he faltered not in the defense of his faith. {AA 105.1}

The persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great impetus to the work of the gospel. Success had attended the ministry of the word in that place, and there was danger that the disciples would linger there too long, unmindful of the Saviour's commission to go to all the world. Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service, they began to think that they had no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy. Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished. To scatter His representatives abroad, where they could work for others, God permitted persecution to come upon them. Driven from Jerusalem, the believers "went everywhere preaching the word." {AA 105.2}

Among those to whom the Saviour had given the commission, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations" (Matthew 28:19), were many from the humbler walks of life--men and women who had learned to love their Lord and who had determined to follow His example of unselfish service. (p. 106) To these lowly ones, as well as to the disciples who had been with the Saviour during His earthly ministry, had been given a precious trust. They were to carry to the world the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. {AA 105.3}