Special instruction has been given me in regard to our ministers. It is not God's will that they should seek to be rich. They should not engage in worldly enterprises, for this disqualifies them for giving their best powers to spiritual things. But they are to receive wages enough to support themselves and their families. They are not to have so many burdens laid upon them that they cannot give proper attention to the church in their own family, for it is their special duty to train their children for the Lord.
It is a great mistake to keep a minister constantly at work in business lines, going from place to place, and sitting up late at night in attendance at board meetings and committee meetings. This brings upon him weariness and discouragement. Ministers should have time to rest to obtain from God's word the rich nourishment of the bread of life. They should have time to drink refreshing drafts of consolation from the stream of living water.
Let ministers and teachers remember that God holds them accountable to fill their office to the best of their ability, to bring into their work their very best powers. They are not to take up duties that conflict with the work that God has given them.
When ministers and teachers, pressed under the burden of financial responsibility, enter the pulpit or the schoolroom with wearied brain and overtaxed nerves, what else can be expected than that common fire will be used instead of the sacred fire of God's kindling? The strained, tattered efforts disappoint the listeners and hurt the speaker. He has had no time to seek the Lord, no time to ask in faith for the unction of the Holy Spirit.
That the efforts of God's workers may be successful, they must receive the grace and efficiency that He alone can give. "Ask, and ye shall receive" (John 16:24), is the promise. Then why not take time to ask, to open the mind to the impressions of the Holy Spirit, that the soul may be revived by a fresh supply of life? Christ Himself was much in prayer. Whenever He had opportunity, He went apart to be alone with God. As we bow before God in humble prayer, He places a live coal from His altar upon our lips, sanctifying them to the work of giving Bible truth to the people.
I am instructed to say to my fellow workers: If you would have the rich treasures of heaven, you must have secret communion with God. Unless you do this, your soul will be as destitute of the Holy Spirit as were the hills of Gilboa of dew and rain. When you hurry from one thing to another, when you have so much to do that you cannot take time to talk with God, how can you expect power in your work?
The reason so many of our ministers preach tame, lifeless discourses is that they allow a variety of things of a worldly nature to take their time and attention. Unless there is constant growth in grace, we shall be wanting in words suitable for the occasion. Commune with your own heart, and then commune with God. Unless you do this, your efforts will be fruitless, made thus by unsanctified hurry and confusion.
Ministers and teachers, let your work be fragrant with rich spiritual grace. Do not make it common by mixing it with common things. Move onward and upward. Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.
We need to be converted daily. Our prayers should be more fervent; then they will be more effectual.
Stronger and stronger should be our confidence that God's Spirit will be with us, making us pure and holy, as upright and fragrant as the cedar of Lebanon.
Gospel ministers are to keep their office free from all things secular or political, employing all their time and talents in lines of Christian effort.
To fasten a minister to one place by giving him the oversight of business matters connected with the work of the church is not conducive to his spirituality. To do this is not in accordance with the Bible plan as outlined in the sixth chapter of Acts. Study this plan, for it is approved of God. Follow the word.
He who holds forth the word of life is not to allow too many burdens to be placed upon him. He must take time to study the word and to examine self. If he closely searches his own heart, and gives himself to the Lord, he will better understand how to grasp the hidden things of God.
Instead of choosing the work most pleasing to us, and refusing to do something that our brethren think we should do, we are to inquire: "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Instead of marking out the way that natural inclination prompts us to follow, we are to pray: "Teach me Thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path." Psalm 27:11.
Financial Details of City Work . Our ministers should learn to let business and financial matters alone. Over and over again I have been instructed that this is not the work of the ministry. They are not to be heavily
burdened with the business details even of city work, but are to be in readiness to visit places where an interest in the message has been awakened, and especially to attend our camp meetings. When these meetings are in progress, our workers are not to think that they must remain in the cities to attend to business matters connected with various lines of city work; nor are they to hurry away from the camp meetings in order to do this kind of work.
Those in charge of our conferences should find businessmen to look after the financial details of city work. If such men cannot be found, let facilities be provided for training men to bear these burdens.
Consecrated Financiers . The Scandinavian institutions need not have been in the position in which they are, and they would not be in this position had our brethren in America, years ago, done what they should have done. A man of experience in business lines, with a practical knowledge of bookkeeping, should have been sent to Europe to superintend the keeping of the accounts in our institutions there. And if this work demanded more than one man, more than one should have been sent. Thus thousands and thousands of dollars would have been saved.
Such men should be employed in our work in America, men who are devoted to God, men who know what the principles of heaven are, men who have learned what it means to walk with God. If such men had superintended the financial affairs of our conferences and institutions, there would today be plenty of money in the treasury; and our institutions would now stand as God has declared they should stand, helping the work by self-denial and self-sacrifice.