The question of Christian stewardship holds a large place in the progress of our message. Every new convert to the faith should be well instructed regarding his personal responsibility and relation to this truth. Stewardship includes our time, talents, strength, means—yes, everything God has given to man. Becoming a part of the advent movement requires the same consecration that was demanded of the disciples in Christ's day. Leaving their fishing nets signified to the world their "all-out" policy for His gospel work.
As the new convert faithfully tithes the means God gives him, the blessing of partnership with the Master in winning souls is realized. As the various calls for home and foreign missions multiply, he learns a new economy. Where the family is united in this new-found truth, these sacrifices become an act of devotion in which all in the home are equally interested. But when just one person in the family takes his stand for an unpopular message, often a conflict begins. The new convert then finds himself torn between the desire to give liberally and the consideration of the family financial burdens. The problem sometimes becomes greatly aggravated because of conflicting views.
The new believer may find himself in trying straits because of his new relations, first to God and then to his family. He must be constantly encouraged to be faithful in that which is least. Vows should be made to God, and these must be regarded as sacred promises to be fulfilled to the best of one's ability. At this juncture a timely lesson should be impressed upon the new believer, that love is to become the ruling motive in every service for the Master. Tactful guidance during a new member's early training in church responsibility will help him solve his problems according to principle rather than emotion. When this is once understood in the light of the Bible, it greatly helps to settle him in the faith.
Modern business methods sometimes creep into the promotion of our church campaigns. It may be well to check our own experience as leaders. Our example counts with new people especially. They watch us and copy our ways. How important then that in our enthusiasm for God's closing work we implant real principles of righteousness in their lives. Souls won for the kingdom must be the true goal of every church project. Never must we stoop to the ways of the world by unsanctified competition. This stretching ourselves to outdo another's attainment merely to make a better showing is not the way of Christ. Neither zeal nor strenuous labor can atone for our lack of vision in this respect; yet there is a place for sanctified enthusiasm, devotion, and sacrifice for the cause of God. The true Christian is free from self-seeking, envy, and pride.
There is another important feature that must be watched in the convert's zeal for the truth. During a church campaign new believers frequently show more enthusiasm than the established members. To suggest a working load equal to spiritual strength and experience is far more wholesome than to overestimate this newborn zeal for service. This procedure often kills enthusiasm after the first few years. Because of such wrong conceptions, we sometimes stress money and time spent in service rather than loving, increasing devotion to the Saviour. As workers, we sometimes set a poor example of balanced Christian experience, thereby weakening the life we wish to strengthen to carry heavy church loads later. The wise spiritual parent will at this stage give direction and guidance. Perhaps the Bible instructor can be as helpful now as anyone, for these new people in the faith enjoy working with those who brought them into the church. And while we are suggesting caution, let us suggest that we always refrain from building up the enemy's program of righteousness by works, instead of by faith in Christ.
A special caution should be remembered when dealing with juniors in the church. True, they are active and willing, and they are thrilled to be doing exploits for God and man. Yet we must consider unfavorable reactions which may mar their young lives. The principle of stopping while it still tastes good applies to more than food. A meal may be eaten with relish, but health reform would suggest to us that there is a limit for one's appetite. As wise directors of God's work, let us plan as sensible men and women who have the grave responsibility of souls on our hearts.
New believers should be informed concerning the disposal of their possessions in case of decease. Every worker, including our Bible instructors, should be conversant with the plans proposed to us by God's messenger. We wield a great influence over those lives God has entrusted to us, and the occasions to speak a word in season may be tactfully improved in this respect. Had we been more faithful to duty in teaching the right disposition of property, the cause would today realize much more of the means now flowing into the coffers of the world.
It takes time to make really strong Adventists, who will be pillars for the message. Yet this is a bounden duty. Too many today have but a flimsy grip on the rugged truths which will figure in the testing experiences of the future. May our Bible instructors be clear before God that they have fully taught their converts and have grounded them so well that they will add strength and power to the advent movement in these closing days.