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 18, 1836. The Lord has crowned the prayers of His servant concerning the establishment of an Orphan House with great success. My prayer was that He would graciously provide a house, either as a loan or as a gift, or that someone might be led to pay the rent for one. Furthermore, I asked that He would give me one thousand pounds for the work and suitable individuals to take care of the children. A day or two later, I asked that He would put it into the hearts of His people to send me articles of furniture and some clothes for the children.
In answer to these petitions, many articles of furniture, clothing, and food were sent. A conditional offer of a house, as a gift, was made, and several individuals offered to take care of the children. Various sums of money were also given, varying from one hundred pounds to a halfpenny. The above results have come in answer to prayer, without me asking anyone for one single thing. I did not keep silent about our needs on account of lack of confidence in the brethren or because I doubted their love for the Lord, but I wanted to see the hand of God much more clearly.
I brought even the most minute circumstances concerning the Orphan House before the Lord, being conscious of my own weakness and ignorance. One point I had never prayed about, however, was for the Lord to send more children. I took it for granted that there would be plenty of applications.
The appointed time came, and no applications were being made. This circumstance led me to bow low before my God in prayer and to examine the motives of my heart once more. I could still say that His glory was my chief aim-that others might see it is not a vain thing to trust in the living God.
Continuing in prayer, I was at last able to say from my heart that I would rejoice in God being glorified in this matter, even if it meant bringing the whole plan to nothing. But it still seemed more glorifying to God to establish and prosper the Orphan House. I then asked Him heartily to send applications.
I now enjoyed a peaceful state of heart concerning the subject and was also more assured than ever that God would establish the work. The very next day the first application was made, and within a short time forty-three more were received. I rented a house, which because of its cheapness and size, was very suitable.
We intended to take in children from seven to twelve years of age. But after six applications had been made for children between four and six years, it became a subject of solemn and prayerful consideration whether to accept these children as long as there were vacancies. I came at last to the conclusion to take in the little girls under seven years of age.
An Orphan House was needed for male children under seven years old also. Clothing was even sent for little boys. Since the Lord has done far above what I could have expected, I. decided to establish an Infant Orphan House.