Money May Be a Blessing or a Curse. --Money is not necessarily a curse; it is
of high value because if rightly appropriated, it can do good in the salvation
of souls, in blessing others who are poorer than ourselves. By an improvident or
unwise use, . . . money will become a snare to the user. He who employs money to
gratify pride and ambition makes it a curse rather than a blessing. Money is a
constant test of the affections. Whoever acquires more than sufficient for his
real needs should seek wisdom and grace to know his own heart and to keep his
heart diligently, lest he have imaginary wants and become an unfaithful steward,
using with prodigality his Lord's entrusted capital.
When we love God supremely, temporal things will occupy their right place in
our affections. If we humbly and earnestly seek for knowledge and ability in
order to make a right use of our Lord's goods, we shall receive wisdom from
above. When the heart leans to its own preferences and inclinations, when the
thought is cherished that money can confer happiness without the favour of God,
then the money becomes a tyrant, ruling the man; it receives his confidence and
esteem and is worshipped as a God. Honour, truth, righteousness, and justice are
sacrificed upon its altar. The commands of God's word are set aside, and the
world's customs and usages, which King Mammon has ordained, become a controlling
Seek Security in Home Ownership. --If the laws given by God had continued to
be carried out, how different would be the present condition of the world, morally, spiritually, and temporally. Selfishness and self-importance would
not be manifested as now, but each would cherish a kind regard for the happiness
and welfare of others. . . . Instead of the poorer classes being kept under the
iron heel of oppression by the wealthy, instead of having other men's brains to
think and plan for them in temporal as well as in spiritual things, they would
have some chance for independence of thought and action.
The sense of being owners of their own homes would inspire them with a strong
desire for improvement. They would soon acquire skill in planning and devising
for themselves; their children would be educated to habits of industry and
economy, and the intellect would be greatly strengthened. They would feel that
they are men, not slaves, and would be able to regain to a great degree their
lost self-respect and moral independence.
Educate our people to get out of the cities into the country, where they can
obtain a small piece of land and make a home for themselves and their children.
Caution Regarding Selling Homes. --There are poor men and women who are
writing to me for advice as to whether they shall sell their homes and give the
proceeds to the cause. They say the appeals for means stir their souls, and they
want to do something for the Master, who has done everything for them. I would
say to such: "It may not be your duty to sell your little homes just now,
but go to God for yourselves; the Lord will certainly hear your earnest prayers
for wisdom to understand your duty."
God does not now call for the houses His people need to live in; but if those
who have an abundance do not hear His voice, cut loose from the world, and
sacrifice for God, He will pass them by and will call for those who are willing to do
anything for Jesus, even to sell their homes to meet the wants of the cause.
A Praiseworthy Independence. --Independence of one kind is praiseworthy. To
desire to bear your own weight and not to eat the bread of dependence is right.
It is a noble, generous ambition that dictates the wish to be self-supporting.
Industrious habits and frugality are necessary.
Balancing the Budget. --Many, very many, have not so educated themselves that
they can keep their expenditures within the limit of their income. They do not
learn to adapt themselves to circumstances, and they borrow and borrow again and
again and become overwhelmed in debt, and consequently they become discouraged
Keep a Record of Expenditures. --Habits of self-indulgence or a want of tact
and skill on the part of the wife and mother may be a constant drain upon the
treasury; and yet that mother may think she is doing her best because she has
never been taught to restrict her wants or the wants of her children and has
never acquired skill and tact in household matters. Hence one family may require
for its support twice the amount that would suffice for another family of the
All should learn how to keep accounts. Some neglect this work as
nonessential, but this is wrong. All expenses should be accurately stated.
The Evils of Spendthrift Habits. --The Lord has been pleased to present
before me the evils which result from spendthrift habits, that I might admonish parents to teach their
children strict economy. Teach them that money spent for that which they do not
need is perverted from its proper use.
If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life at once. Unless
you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. Habits of economy, industry, and
sobriety are a better portion for your children than a rich dowry.
We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Let us not spend our means in
gratifying desires that God would have us repress. Let us fitly represent our
faith by restricting our wants.
A Parent Reproved for Extravagance. --You do not know how to use money
economically and do not learn to bring your wants within your income. . . . You
have an eager desire to get money, that you may freely use it as your
inclination shall dictate, and your teaching and example have proved a curse to
your children. How little they care for principle! They are more and more
forgetful of God, less fearful of His displeasure, more impatient of restraint.
The more easily money is obtained, the less thankfulness is felt.
To a Family Living Beyond Its Means. --You ought to be careful that your
expenses do not exceed your income. Bind about your wants.
It is a great pity that your wife is so much like you in this matter of
expending means so that she cannot be a help to you in this direction, to watch
the little outgoes in order to avoid the larger leaks. Needless expenses are
constantly brought about in your family management. Your wife loves to see her
children dress in a manner beyond their means, and because of this, tastes and habits are cultivated in your
children which will make them vain and proud. If you would learn the lesson of
economy and see the peril to yourselves and to your children and to the cause of
God in this free use of means, you would obtain an experience essential to the
perfection of your Christian character. Unless you do obtain such an experience,
your children will bear the mould of a defective education as long as they live.
. . .
I would not influence you to hoard up means--it would be difficult for you to
do this--but I would counsel you both to expend your money carefully and let
your daily example teach lessons of frugality, self-denial, and economy to your
children. They need to be educated by precept and example.
A Family Called to Self-denial. --I was shown that you, my brother and
sister, have much to learn. You have not lived within your means. You have not
learned to economize. If you earn high wages, you do not know how to make it go
as far as possible. You consult taste or appetite instead of prudence. At times
you expend money for a quality of food in which your brethren cannot afford to
indulge. Dollars slip from your pocket very easily. . . . Self-denial is a
lesson which you both have yet to learn.
Parents should learn to live within their means. They should cultivate
self-denial in their children, teaching them by precept and example. They should
make their wants few and simple, that there may be time for mental improvement
and spiritual culture.
Indulgence Not an Expression of Love. --Do not educate your children to think
that your love for them must be expressed by indulgence of their pride, extravagance, and love of
display. There is no time now to invent ways for using up money. Use your
inventive faculties in seeking to economize.
Economy Consistent With Generosity. --The natural turn of youth in this age
is to neglect and despise economy and to confound it with stinginess and
narrowness. But economy is consistent with the most broad and liberal views and
feelings; there can be no true generosity where it is not practised. No one
should think it beneath him to study economy and the best means of taking care
of the fragments.
The Other Extreme--Unwise Economy. --God is not honoured when the body is
neglected or abused and is thus unfitted for His service. To care for the body
by providing for it food that is relishable and strengthening is one of the
first duties of the householder. It is far better to have less expensive
clothing and furniture than to stint the supply of food.
Some householders stint the family table in order to provide expensive
entertainment for visitors. This is unwise. In the entertainment of guests there
should be greater simplicity. Let the needs of the family have first attention.
Unwise economy and artificial customs often prevent the exercise of
hospitality where it is needed and would be a blessing. The regular supply of
food for our tables should be such that the unexpected guest can be made welcome
without burdening the housewife to make extra preparation.
Our economy must never be of that kind which would lead to providing meagre
meals. Students should have an abundance of wholesome food. But let those in charge of the cooking gather
up the fragments that nothing be lost.
Economy does not mean niggardliness, but a prudent expenditure of means
because there is a great work to be done.
Provide Conveniences to Lighten Wife's Labour. -- Brother E's family live in
accordance with the principles of strictest economy. . . . Brother E had
conscientiously decided not to build a convenient woodshed and kitchen for his
large family, because he did not feel free to invest means in personal
conveniences when the cause of God needed money to carry it forward. I tried to
show him that it was necessary for the health as well as the morals of his
children that he should make home pleasant and provide conveniences to lighten
the labour of his wife.
Wife's Allowance for Personal Use. --You must help each other. Do not look
upon it as a virtue to hold fast the purse strings, refusing to give your wife
You should allow your wife a certain sum weekly and should let her do what
she please with this money. You have not given her opportunity to exercise her
tact or her taste because you have not a proper realization of the position that
a wife should occupy. Your wife has an excellent and a well-balanced mind.
Give your wife a share of the money that you receive. Let her have this as
her own, and let her use it as she desires. She should have been allowed to use
the means that she earned as she in her judgement deemed best. If she had had a
certain sum to use as her own, without being criticized, a great weight would
have been lifted from her mind.
Seek Comfort and Health. --Brother P has not made a judicious use of means.
Wise judgement has not influenced him as much as have the voices and desires of
his children. He does not place the estimate that he should upon the means in
his hands, and expend it cautiously for the most needful articles, for the very
things he must have for comfort and health. The entire family need to improve in
this respect. Many things are needed in the family for convenience and comfort.
The lack of appreciating order and system in the arrangement of family matters
leads to destructiveness and working to great disadvantage.
We cannot make the heart purer or holier by clothing the body in sackcloth or
depriving the home of all that ministers to comfort, taste, or convenience.
God does not require that His people should deprive themselves of that which
is really necessary for their health and comfort, but He does not approve of
wantonness and extravagance and display.
Learn When to Spare and When to Spend. --You should learn to know when to
spare and when to spend. We cannot be Christ's followers unless we deny self and
lift the cross. We should pay up squarely as we go; gather up the dropped
stitches; bind off your ravelling edges, and know just what you can call your
own. You should reckon up all the littles spent in self-gratification. You
should notice what is used simply to gratify taste and in cultivating a
perverted, epicurean appetite. The money expended for useless delicacies might
be used to add to your substantial home comforts and conveniences. You are not
to be penurious; you are to be honest with yourself and your brethren.
Penuriousness is an abuse of God's bounties. Lavishness is also an abuse. The
little outgoes that you think of as not worth mentioning amount to considerable in
The Surrendered Heart Will Be Guided. --It is not necessary to specify here
how economy may be practised in every particular. Those whose hearts are fully
surrendered to God, and who take His word as their guide, will know how to
conduct themselves in all the duties of life. They will learn of Jesus, who is
meek and lowly of heart; and in cultivating the meekness of Christ, they will
close the door against innumerable temptations.