Those Sabbathkeeping brethren who shift the responsibility of their stewardship into the hands of their wives, while they themselves are capable of managing the same, are unwise and in the transfer displease God. The stewardship of the husband cannot be transferred to the wife. Yet this is sometimes attempted, to the great injury of both. A believing husband has sometimes transferred his property to his unbelieving companion, hoping thereby to gratify her, disarm her opposition, and finally induce her to believe the truth. But this is no more nor less than an attempt to purchase peace, or to hire the wife to believe the truth. The means which God has lent to advance His cause the husband transfers to one who has no sympathy for the truth; what account will such a steward render when the great Master requires His own with usury?
Believing parents have frequently transferred their property to their unbelieving children, thus putting it out of their power to render to God the things that are His. By so doing they lay off that responsibility which God has laid upon them, and place in the enemy's ranks means which God has entrusted to them to be returned to Him by being invested in His cause when He shall require it of them. It is not in God's order that parents who are capable of managing their own business should give up the control of their property, even
to children who are of the same faith. These seldom possess as much devotion to the cause as they should, and they have not been schooled in adversity and affliction so as to place a high estimate upon the eternal treasure and less upon the earthly. The means placed in the hands of such is the greatest evil. It is a temptation to them to place their affections upon the earthly and trust to property and feel that they need but little besides. When means which they have not acquired by their own exertion comes into their possession, they seldom use it wisely.
The husband who transfers his property to his wife opens for her a wide door of temptation, whether she is a believer or an unbeliever. If she is a believer and naturally penurious, inclined to selfishness and acquisitiveness, the battle will be much harder for her with her husband's stewardship and her own to manage. In order to be saved, she must overcome all these peculiar, evil traits and imitate the character of her divine Lord, seeking opportunity to do others good, loving others as Christ has loved us. She should cultivate the precious gift of love possessed so largely by our Saviour. His life was characterized by noble, disinterested benevolence. His whole life was not marred by one selfish act.
Whatever the motives of the husband, he has placed a terrible stumbling block in his wife's way to hinder her in the work of overcoming. And if the transfer be made to the children, the same evil results may follow. God reads his motives. If he is selfish and has made the transfer to conceal his covetousness and excuse himself from doing anything to advance the cause, the curse of Heaven will surely follow. God reads the purposes and intents of the heart, and tries the motives of the children of men. His signal, visible displeasure may not be manifested as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, yet in the end the punishment will in no case be lighter than that which was inflicted upon them. In trying to deceive
men, they were lying to God. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
Such can stand the test of the judgment no better than the man who received the one talent and hid it in the earth. When called to account, he accused God of injustice: "I knew Thee that Thou art an hard man, reaping where Thou hast not sown, and gathering where Thou hast not strewed: and I was afraid, and went and hid Thy talent in the earth [where the cause of God could not be benefited with it]: lo, there Thou hast that is Thine." Saith God: "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. . . . And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This man was afraid that his Lord would be benefited by the improvement of his talent.
I saw that there are many who have wrapped their talent in a napkin and hid it in the earth. They seem to think that every penny which is invested in the cause of God is lost to them beyond redemption. To those who feel thus, it is even so. They will receive no reward. They give grudgingly only because they feel obliged to do something. God loveth the cheerful giver. Those who flatter themselves that they can shift their responsibility upon the wife or children are deceived by the enemy. A transfer of property will not lessen their responsibility. They are accountable for the means which Heaven has entrusted to their care, and in no way can they excuse themselves from this responsibility until they are released by rendering back to God that which He has committed to them.
The love of the world separates from God. "If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." It is impossible for any to discern the truth while the world has their affections. The world comes between them and God, beclouding the vision and benumbing the sensibilities to such a degree that it is impossible for them to discern sacred
things. God calls upon such: "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness." Those who have stained their hands with the pollution of the world are required to cleanse themselves from its stains. Those who think they can serve the world and yet love God are double-minded. But they cannot serve God and mammon. They are men of two minds, loving the world and losing all sense of their obligation to God, and yet professing to be Christ's followers. They are neither the one thing nor the other. They will lose both worlds unless they cleanse their hands and purify their hearts through obedience to the pure principles of truth. "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked." "Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world." "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
It is worldly lust that is destroying true godliness. Love of the world and the things that are in the world is separating from the Father. The passion for earthly gain is increasing among those who profess to be looking for the soon appearing of our Saviour. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life control even professed Christians. They are seeking for the things of the world with avaricious lust, and many will sell eternal life for unholy gain.