One of the fundamental requirements of the minister of God is that he accept responsibility as it comes to him, and be willing to do disagreeable things if necessary. In this connection we usually think of the minister's willingness to rebuke sin as a test of his faithfulness. Yet, there are many other ways not so commonly considered in which this test may be applied. The Seventh-day Adventist minister is more than a preacher of sermons; he is in a very real sense an executive for God. He must be an organizer, a financier, an evangelist, a pastor, a teacher, and a friend.
Particularly in financial matters is it easy for a minister to evade his responsibilities. As a pastor he may fail to uphold the hands of the leaders of the work in dealing faithfully with the church. Would God I were judge, said Absalom, indicating that he would be more kindly in his dealings in that event. "These goals are too hard for us to reach—the General Conference is expecting too much of us; they ought to know we cannot get money in these hard times." Such an attitude on the part of the pastor may promote disloyalty and disaffection, and wither the spirituality of his church.
A conference president may close his eyes to the trend of financial matters in his conference, and hope that some miracle will rescue him from financial disaster, when he should face the issue and take such steps as will insure safe operating, even at the risk of personal popularity. Putting an expenditure "into the budget," will never pay the bill when it comes due.
A pastor or a president may fail to meet such a difficulty as an old indebtedness because of the unpleasant features involved. It is so much easier to evade such a difficulty, blame the man who contracted the debt, and carry the indebtedness on the books, than manfully to attempt to raise the money to pay the debt.
An evasion of one's solemn duty in the matter of bringing the subject of the tithe before our people has been responsible for much loss. Some who are very earnest in expressing the need of their salary are at little pains to aid in its being in the treasury. But on a fundamentally deeper and broader basis the failure to pay tithe is a robber of spiritual growth, and the faithful minister will bring this matter to the attention of the people.
A man must place the cause of God first in everything. His own conference, church, or department of the work must never be advanced at the expense of another, or of the cause as a whole. A man may exercise his selfishness very really in connection with his own branch of the work, thus thinking he is doing God's service, when underneath he is thinking only of his own reputation and his own advancement. How much of our work will the great Judge count as nothing but leaves, because the fruit of mutual helpfulness and cooperation has not entered more into our service!