JUST a moment, please! Before you rent that motel room, before you make that trip the church will be paying for, before you hire that rental car, re member who is paying the bill. It is the conference, of course, but actually you and I as workers in God's cause are spending the Lord's money money given by the members of our church. Some of that money was given at great sacrifice it was literally the widow's mite. One elderly sister in a conference where I once served received $41 per month for her sustenance. When an appeal for the needs of the work was made she placed a $10 bill in the offering plate. One of our ministers and his wife who had been saving for a lifetime to build their retirement home responded to an appeal by giving their life's savings. A young couple had laid big plans for their wedding. Their hearts were touched by the needs of the work. They gave up their big wedding plans, gave the money for the Lord's work, and had a simple home wedding instead.
Anyone who studies the beginnings of the Adventist Church understands that the foundations of this work were laid by workers who sacrificed. James White, for instance, worked hard with his hands to find money to care for his family's needs and advance the work of God on earth. Once, while hauling stones for a railroad being built between Portland and Brunswick, Maine, his hands be came so raw from the rough stones that blood oozed from them. In order to get money for him and Ellen to attend a meeting some distance away, he contracted with others to mow one hundred acres of hay. One day when it was raining and he couldn't work, he wrote to a friend stating, "God gives me strength to labor hard all day. . . . Praise the Lord! I hope to get a few dollars here to use in the cause of God." —VIRGIL ROBIN SON, James White, (Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1976), p. 48.
Those who labored in early Adventist institutions worked long hours and received little pay. They did so because their hearts were baptized with the ministry of love.
What a heritage these dauntless pioneers have left for us upon whom the ends of the earth are come. You and I both know that much of the money we spend in our work is given as the result of true sacrifice. We then should be most careful in our expenses. "Economy is needed in every department of the Lord's work. . . . Quite a sum may be expended in hotel bills that are not at all necessary." —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 400.
When we have to travel on the Lord's business, let us practice economy. There are expensive hotels and motels. There are good, clean, moderately priced accommodations available also. I believe it is pleasing to the Lord when we seek to practice economy in the expenditure of His funds.
The long-distance phone calls we make—it is so easy to pick up the phone and talk for ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, sometimes wandering from our subject, when we might have written a letter or sent a telex. Phone calls cost money. Why not keep ours to the minimum, commensurate with doing our work effectively?
The trips we plan—is every trip absolutely necessary? Could we have saved the fare, the hotel expense, by writing a letter or making a phone call? Are we truly careful in planning our trips, so that we make every day and every dollar count toward a finished work?
We need to spend God's money care fully and prayerfully in the expenses we incur for which the conference reimburses us.
One day we will have to stand before the great Judge of the universe and give an account of the way we have spent the Lord's money. Will our report be all that we would wish it to be in that awesome day?
"There are persons who practice self-denial in order to give means to the cause of God," Ellen White reminds us. "Then let the workers in the cause also practice self-denial by limiting their expenses as far as possible. It would be well for all our workers to study the history of the Waldensian missionaries and to imitate their example of sacrifice and self-denial." —Ibid.
Before you spend that dollar for travel expense, remember, it is God's dollar!