May 1, 1848. Whether we are called as missionaries or another trade or profession, we should carry on our business as stewards of the Lord. The child of God has been bought with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus. All that he possesses-his bodily strength, his mental strength, his ability of every kind, his trade or business, and his property-all belong to God. It is written, "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
The proceeds of our calling are not our own in the sense of having freedom to spend them on the gratification of our pride or our love of pleasure. We have to stand before our Lord and Master as His stewards to seek His will concerning how He will have us use the proceeds of our calling. In 1 Cor. 16:2, it is written, "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him." A contribution for the poor saints in Judea was to be made, and the brethren at Corinth were exhorted to give every Lord's day according to the measure of success which the Lord had blessed them during the week. Now, shouldn't the saints today also act according to this word? It is altogether in accordance with our pilgrim character to see how much we can afford to give to the poor or to the work of God every week.
We should also keep in mind the scriptural principle, "He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he that soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully" (2 Cor. 9:6). We are abundantly blessed in Jesus, and we need no stimulus to do good works. The forgiveness of our sins, having been made forever the children of God, having before us the Father's house as our home-these blessings should constrain us to serve God in love and gratitude all the days of our lives.
The verse is true, both in this life and in the life to come. If we have been sparingly using our property for Him, little treasure will be laid up in heaven. But if the love of Christ constrains a brother to sow bountifully, he will, even in this life, reap bountifully, both in blessings for his soul and in temporal things. "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself' (Prov. 11:24- 25).
"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Luke 6:38). This evidently refers to this life and temporal things.
Let us walk as stewards and not act as owners, keeping for ourselves the means with which the Lord has entrusted us. He has not blessed us that we may gratify our own carnal mind but for the sake of using our money in His service and to His praise.
A brother with small earnings may ask, "Should I also give? My earnings are already so small that my family can barely make ends meet."
My reply is, "Have you ever considered that the very reason your earnings remain so small may be because you spend everything on yourself? If God gave you more, you would only use it to increase your own comfort instead of looking to see who is sick or who has no work at all that you might help them."
A brother whose earnings are small may be greatly tempted to refuse the responsibility of assisting the needy and sick saints or helping the work of God. He thinks it should be the work of a few rich believers in the fellowship. Thus he robs his own soul!
How much should you give of your income? God lays down no rule concerning this point. We should give cheerfully and not because it is required. But if even Jacob, with the first dawning of spiritual light promised to God the tenth of all, how much should we believers in the Lord Jesus do for Him? (See Gen. 28:22). If the love of Christ causes us to give, we will have this verse fulfilled in our experience. The Lord will abundantly repay us, and in the end we will find that we are not losers even in temporal things. But the moment someone begins to give for the sake of receiving more back from the Lord, or he stops sowing bountifully in order to increase his own possessions, the river of God's bounty will no longer continue to flow.
The child of God must be willing to be a channel through which God's abundant blessings flow. This channel is narrow and shallow at first, yet some of the waters of God's bounty can pass through. If we cheerfully yield ourselves to this purpose, the channel becomes wider and deeper, allowing more of the bounty of God to pass through. We cannot limit the extent to which God may use us as instruments in communicating blessing if we are willing to yield ourselves to Him and are careful to give Him all the glory.
May 3. The work is now large, and the expenses are great. During the month we spent about five hundred pounds for the various supplies for the institution. I cannot expect the expenses to decrease-but I have no desire that they should! I have as much joy in writing checks for large amounts as I have in depositing the money which I receive from God through donors. The money is of no value to me unless I can use it for -God. The more I pay out for the work of God, the more prospect I have of being further supplied by Him. The larger the sum I obtain from Him, in answer to prayer, the greater is the proof of the blessedness and the reality of dealing directly with God alone for what I need. Therefore, I have as much joy in giving as in receiving.
With all my might I have devoted myself to have the Orphan House filled with children. As large sums are needed and expended, I will have a greater reason than ever to draw upon the inexhaustible treasures of God. Obviously, money obtained by prayer may not be wasted. If anyone would obtain means from God by prayer and then waste it, he would soon find that he was not able to pray in faith for further supplies.
January 17,1849. Further steps are to be taken to furnish the new Orphan House. More than two-thirds of the rooms are almost ready. I have prayed earnestly every day that the Lord would give me the money we still need. This evening I received six hundred pounds which will take care of the heavy expenses connected with furnishing the new Orphan House.
February 12. The new Orphan House is now almost entirely finished. In six weeks, with the help of God, all will be completed. I have been very busy during the last two weeks making the necessary arrangements for furnishing it. I began to pray still more earnestly that the Lord would give me the means which may yet be needed for the completion of the house.
A brother in the Lord came to me this morning and, after a few minutes of conversation, gave me two thousand pounds for furnishing the new Orphan House or for anything else needed in connection with the orphans. I have placed all of this sum, at least for the present, in the building fund.
Now I am able to meet all the expenses. In all probability I will even have several hundred pounds more than I need. The Lord not only gives as much as is absolutely necessary for His work, but He gives abundantly. This blessing filled me with inexpressible delight. He had given me the full answer to my thousands of prayers during these eleven hundred and ninety-five days.
February 26. After all the expenses had been met for the purchase of the land, the building, and furnishing of the new Orphan House, a balance remained of seven hundred and seventy-six pounds. This proved that the Lord can not only supply us with all we need in His service simply in answer to prayer, but He can also give us even more than we need.
June 18. Today, as the fruit of the prayers of three years and seven months, the children began to be moved from the four Orphan Houses in Wilson Street to the new Orphan House.
June 23. This has been a week of great blessing. All the orphans with their teachers and overseers have been moved into the new Orphan House.
About one hundred and forty people now live under one roof. The Lord has greatly helped us.
For more than three years, I have sought the help of God concerning everything connected with the new Orphan House. I expected His help, but He has done beyond my expectations. Although the last children were moved in only the day before yesterday, great order has already been established in the house, and everything is running smoothly. Praise the Lord for this! My soul magnifies Him for His goodness! Also, the Lord has met all the extraordinary expenses connected with moving the orphans from Wilson Street into the new Orphan House. I have more than five hundred pounds available to begin housekeeping in, the new Orphan House. How true that those who trust in the Lord will not be disappointed! After many great trials of faith during the thirteen years and two months the orphans were at Wilson Street, the Lord brought us from out from there in comparative abundance. May His holy name be praised!
August 30. I received a fifty-pound note with these words: "I send you a fifty-pound note, half for the missions, and half for the orphans, unless you are in any personal need. If so, take five pounds for yourself. This will be the last large sum I will be able to send you. Almost all the rest is already out at interest."
I took half of this fifty pounds for the orphans and half for missionaries. When the writer said, "the rest is already out at interest," he meant that he had given it away for the Lord. Indeed that is the best way of using the money the Lord entrusts to us.
[Since that time I have received other large donations from the same man. He used his money for God, and God soon trusted him with another large sum, which he again used for the Lord. This did not surprise me at all. In whatever way God makes us His stewards, whether in temporal or spiritual things, if we act as stewards and not as owners, He will make us stewards over more.]