May 26, 1851. The Christian should never worry about tomorrow or give sparingly because of a possible future need. Only the present moment is ours to serve the Lord, and tomorrow may never come. Money is really worth no more than as it can be used to accomplish the Lord's work. Life is worth as much as it is spent for the Lord's service.
Any occupation can be used to serve the Lord, but certain principles must be followed in secular work. The Christian must guard against any attitudes or practices that will keep him from experiencing God's, abundant prosperity. God is not likely to bless anything that leads a believer to depend more on himself or his circumstances than on the living God. For example, the Christian businessman should not feel compelled to have an extravagant shop, use boastful advertisements, or rent the most desirable and expensive location in order to have a prosperous business. Of course, his shop should be clean and orderly, he should announce the availability of his product and be located conveniently for customers. But he must not trust in these things as the reason for his ultimate success. A believer should rest and trust only in God.
The children of God often use such expressions as "This is our busy time," or "This is our slow time." This implies that they are not seeking God daily about their calling. Instead, they ascribe their prosperity to times and seasons. The scripture, "He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief" (Matt. 13:58) contains a truth which may be applied here. The child of God should say, "About this time of the year, business is generally slow. But I desire to serve God in my business and to help those who are in need. By prayer and faith, I can obtain a blessing from my heavenly Father, although this is usually not a busy season."
A further reason why God may not bless His children in their business may be because they are careful to hire "good salesmen"-people who have such persuasive ways that they gain an advantage over the customers. They convince them not only to buy the articles for which they ask, whether suitable or not, but they also induce customers to buy things they did not intend to buy at all. This is no less than defrauding people in a subtle way, leading them into the sin of purchasing beyond their means or, at least, spending their money needlessly. Although such sinful tricks may be allowed to prosper in the case of a man of the world, a child of God who uses such tactics will not be blessed.
Another reason why children of God do not succeed in their calling is that they try to begin their business with too little capital. If a believer has no capital at all, or very little capital in comparison with what his business requires, he should ask himself, "If it is my heavenly Father's will that I begin this business, He would have given me the money I need to get started. And since He has not, is this a plain indication that for now I should remain at my present job?"
God can provide the money in a variety of ways. But if He does not remove the hindrance, and the brother still goes into business and buys everything he needs on credit, he will only give himself reason to worry about bills. The best thing for a brother to do in this circumstance is to acknowledge his sin and seek God's merciful help to bring him into a right position.
Suppose all these previous points are carried out, but we neglect to seek God's blessing on our calling. We should not be surprised if we meet with difficulty upon difficulty. It is not enough that we seek God's help for spiritual things. We should seek His help and blessing by prayer and supplication for all our ordinary concerns in life. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5-6).
May 30. Our work among the Orphans is growing. Since the formation of the institution in 1834 until today, 5,343 children were taught in the various day schools in Bristol alone. The Sunday school had 2,379 people and 1,896 persons were in the adult school. We also assisted thousands in the schools outside of Bristol. The Lord gladdened our hearts by the working of His Holy Spirit among the orphans.
I am depending on God alone to enlarge the orphan work. Before I told anyone else what I planned to do, I gave the record of my thoughts on this subject to a dear Christian friend to read. I did this so that I might have the counsel of a prayerful, wise, and cautious man of God. When this brother returned the manuscript, he encouraged me and gave me some money for the building fund. This was my first donation for the house, and it was a precious confirmation to me that I should go ahead with my plans.
June 21. Twenty-four days have passed since I have waited in faith on the Lord for money. So far only a little more than twenty-eight pounds have come in, but I am not discouraged. The less that comes in, the more earnestly I pray, the more I look out for answers, and the more assured I am that the Lord, in His own time, will send me all I need.
August 12. I have been praying earnestly every day that the Lord would send in money for the building fund. My soul is at peace, although only a little money has come in. Satan tries to shake my confidence and lead me to question whether I had been mistaken concerning this whole matter. Yet he has not been allowed to triumph over me. I have asked the Lord to refresh my spirit by sending a large donation.
This morning I received five hundred pounds for the new building. I was expecting a large donation, and I would not have been surprised if five thousand pounds had come in. Praise the Lord for this precious encouragement!
September 13. Patience and faith are still needed. My desire is to let patience have its perfect work. Not one penny has come in today for the building fund, but five more orphans have applied for admission. The more I look at things according to natural appearances, the less likely it seems that I will ever get the sum I need. But I have faith in God, and my expectation is from Him alone. The Lord can change the circumstances instantly. I continue, therefore, to wait upon God and seek to encourage my heart by His Word. While He delays giving me answers, I will be occupied in His blessed work. The number of applications for admission of orphans quickens me to prayer and encourages me that the Lord will give me the desire of my heart-to provide a home for these children.
March 17, 1852. My heart has been greatly encouraged by a donation of nearly one thousand pounds. I cannot describe to anyone how refreshing this donation is to my faith. After waiting for weeks and receiving so little, this answer to many prayers is sweet to my spirit.
May 20. Several of the orphans who left the establishment during this year had been converted before they left. Several other young people who were under our care a few years ago are strong Christians today. The spiritual growth of children gives us joy and comfort. Amid difficulties, trials, and discouragements, we have abundant reason to praise God for His goodness and to go forward in the strength of the Lord.