Integrity in Business Affairs

These portions of sacred history teach an important lesson. Those who profess to love and fear God should cherish sympathy and love for one another, and should guard the interests of others as their own. Christians should not regulate their conduct by the world’s standard. In all ages the people of God are as distinct from worldlings as their profession is higher than that of the ungodly. From the beginning to the end of time, God’s people are one body.

The love of money is the root of all evil. In this generation the desire for gain is the absorbing passion. If wealth can not be secured by honest industry, men seek to obtain it by fraud. Widows and orphans are robbed of their scanty pittance, and poor men are made to suffer for the necessaries of life. And all this that the rich may support their extravagance, or indulge their desire to hoard.

The terrible record of crime daily committed for the sake of gain, is enough to chill the blood and fill the soul with horror. The fact that even among those who profess godliness the same sins exist to a greater or less extent, calls for deep humiliation of soul and earnest action on the part of the followers of Christ. Love of display and love of money have made this world a den of thieves and robbers. But Christians are professedly not dwellers upon the earth; they are in a strange country, stopping, as it were, only for a night. They should not be actuated by the same motives and desires as are those who have their home and treasure here. God designed that our lives should represent the life of our great Pattern: that, like Jesus, we should live to do others good.

The customs of the world are no criterion for the Christian. He is not to imitate their sharp practise, overreaching, and extortion, even in a small matters. Every unjust act toward a fellow-mortal, though he be the veriest sinner, is a violation of the golden rule. Every wrong done to the children of God, is done to Christ himself in the person of his saints. Every attempt to advantage one’s self by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another, is registered as fraud in the ledger of heaven.

He who truly fears God would rather toil day and night, and eat the bread of poverty, than to indulge a passion for gain which would oppress the widow and the fatherless, or turn the stranger from his right. Our Saviour sought to impress upon his hearers that a man who would venture to defraud his neighbor in the smallest item, would, if the opportunity were favorable, overreach in larger matters. The slightest departure from rectitude breaks down the barriers, and prepares the heart to do greater injustice. By precept and example, Christ taught that the strictest integrity should govern our conduct toward our fellow-men. Said the divine Teacher, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

Just to the extent that man would advantage himself at the disadvantage of another, will his soul become insensible to the influence of the Spirit of God. Gain obtained at such a cost is a fearful loss. It is better to want than to lie; better to hunger than to defraud; better to die than to sin. Extravagance, overreaching, extortion indulged by those professing godliness, are corrupting their faith, and destroying their spirituality. The church is in a great degree responsible for the sins of her members. She gives countenance to the evil, if she fails to lift her voice against it. The influence from which she has most to fear is not that of open opposers, infidels, and blasphemers, but of inconsistent professors of Christ. These are the ones who keep back the blessing of the God of Israel.

All who would form characters for heaven must be Bible Christians. They must be diligent in the study of the Chart of Life, and must carefully and prayerfully examine the motives that prompt them to action. The business world does not lie outside the limits of God’s government. True religion is not to be merely paraded on the Sabbath, and displayed in the sanctuary; it is for every day and for every place. Its claims must be recognized and obeyed in every act of life. Men who possess the genuine article will in all their business affairs show as clear a perception of right, as when offering their supplications at the throne of grace.

God can not be excluded from any transaction in which the rights of his children are concerned. Over every one that is serving him in sincerity, his hand is spread as a buckler. None can wound the humblest disciple of Jesus without smiting that hand which holds the sword of justice.

The apostle James, looking down to the last days, addresses a solemn and fearful warning to those who have heaped up riches by fraud and oppression: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabbaoth.”1White, E. G. (1904, May 10). Integrity in Business Affairs. The Southern Watchman.

References   [ + ]

The Watchman

The Watchman

In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light - bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import, - the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention. Evangelism, p. 119

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Words of Life

Reverence should be shown for God’s representatives—for ministers, teachers, and parents who are called to speak and act in His stead. In the respect shown to them He is honored.

— Ellen G. White, Education, p. 244