A Genuine Interest in the welfare of others
We are challenged to make a difference.
“It was to be impressed upon the minds of all that the poor have as much right to a place in God’s world as have the more wealthy. Such were the provisions made by our merciful Creator, to lessen suffering, to bring some ray of hope, to flash some gleam of sunshine, into the life of the destitute and distressed.
“The Lord would place a check upon the inordinate love of property and power. Great evils would result from the continued accumulation of wealth by one class, and the poverty and degradation of another. Without some restraint the power of the wealthy would become a monopoly, and the poor, though in every respect fully as worthy in God’s sight, would be regarded and treated as inferior to their more prosperous brethren.
“The sense of this oppression would arouse the passions of the poorer class. There would be a feeling of despair and desperation which would tend to demoralize society and open the door to crimes of every description. The regulations that God established were designed to promote social equality.”1
“God’s Word sanctions no policy that will enrich one class by the oppression and suffering of another. In all our business transactions it teaches us to put ourselves in the place of those with whom we are dealing, to look not only on our own things, but also on the things of others. He who would take advantage of another’s misfortunes in order to benefit himself, or who seeks to profit himself through another’s weakness or incompetence, is a transgressor both of the principles and of the precepts of the Word of God.”2
Those Who Are Disenfranchised
“God-fearing men and women have been brought to the depths of poverty by illness or misfortune, often through the dishonest scheming of those who live by preying upon their fellows.”3
“Families live in hovels, with scant furniture and clothing, without tools, without books, destitute both of comforts and conveniences and of means of culture. Imbruted souls, bodies weak and ill-formed, reveal the results of evil heredity and of wrong habits. These people must be educated from the very foundation. They have led shiftless, idle, corrupt lives, and they need to be trained to correct habits.
True beneficence means more than mere gifts. It means a genuine interest in the welfare of others.
“How can they be awakened to the necessity of improvement? How can they be directed to a higher ideal of life? How can they be helped to rise? What can be done where poverty prevails and is to be contended with at every step?
“Certainly the work is difficult. The necessary reformation will never be made unless men and women are assisted by a power outside of themselves. It is God’s purpose that the rich and the poor shall be closely bound together by the ties of sympathy and helpfulness. Those who have means, talents, and capabilities are to use these gifts in blessing their fellow [men and women].”4
“Real charity helps [men and women] to help themselves. If one comes to our door and asks for food, we should not turn [them] away hungry; [their] poverty may be the result of misfortune.
“But true beneficence means more than mere gifts. It means a genuine interest in the welfare of others. We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.”5
“Attention should be given to the establishment of various industries so that poor families can find employment.
“In ministry to the poor there is a wide field of service for women as well as for men. The efficient cook, the housekeeper, the seamstress, the nurse—the help of all is needed.”6 “. . . Those who are taught to earn what they receive will more readily learn to make the most of it.
“And in learning to be self-reliant, they are acquiring that which will not only make them self-sustaining, but will enable them to help others. Teach the importance of life’s duties to those who are wasting their opportunities. . . .Bible religion never makes [men and women] idlers. Christ always encouraged industry.”7
Let Us Stand for the Right
“Jesus sought to correct the world’s false standard of judging the value of [men and women]. He took His position with the poor, that He might lift from poverty the stigma that the world had attached to it. He has stripped from it forever the reproach of scorn, by blessing the poor, the inheritors of God’s kingdom. He points us to the path He trod, saying, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ [Luke 9] Verse 23.”8
“We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves. The law of mutual dependence runs through all classes of society.”9
“‘The poor always ye have with you’ (John 12:8), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? . . .
“Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ Matthew 7:12.”10
- Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 534.
- The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 187.
- Ibid., p. 190.
- Ibid., pp. 192, 193.
- Ibid., p. 195.
- Ibid., p. 194.
- Ibid., pp. 194, 195.
- Ibid., pp. 197, 198.
- Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 534, 535.
- The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 640.
This excerpt is taken from A Call to Stand Apart (original Ellen G. White source material for the paraphrase), pages 61, 62. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.