If Christ had that which is His own in tithes and offerings, so much would not be left for selfish outlay on nicknacks and display. Less would be spent for dress, for pleasure excursions, for entertainments, or for display in table fare. We may confess Christ by making no elaborate preparations for visitors; we may deny Him by making more than ordinary preparations, which takes time that rightly belongs to the Lord. Not only do you rob your family of the attention they need, in order to prepare an elaborate entertainment, but the practice is followed by others whom you have influenced by your example. The Lord does not judge us according to the highness and elevation of our various spheres, but according to the faithfulness with which we fill them. Before you enter into amusement for the gratification of self, ask yourself the question, Is not this God's time and money that I am expending needlessly? Open your account book and see how your account stands with God, with your household, and with the world. 

     Have you confessed Christ by faithfully tithing the mint, the anise, and the rue? When we give the Lord the tithe, we are only giving Him that which is His own, to withhold which is theft and robbery. When we withhold the tithe we keep back that which God designs shall sustain His work on the earth. For this work of redemption God gave the richest gift of heaven; can we not give one tenth of what we have? Many have forgotten God, and have kept back the tithe. Does your account book reveal that you have dealt faithfully with your Lord? Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own.                                   

     By dealing truly with God, we really deal much more benevolently with ourselves; for when the great day of reckoning comes, every man will be asked, What have you done with the goods which I lent you? As we consider this question many of us need to walk more humbly and with greater self-denial before God. All who feel it a cross not to keep up an appearance in the eyes of the world, I would point to the life and work of Christ, who for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. The fear of not keeping up an appearance need not exist; for an appropriate course of action will bring honor rather than discredit from all sensible minds. Confess Christ in this particular; for He has said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" [Luke 9:23]. The neglect to confess Christ in your account books cuts you off from the great privilege of having your name registered in the Lamb's book of life. 

     Do you confess Christ by visiting the sick, the needy, and the poor? "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" [James 1:27]. Do your works testify, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me"? [Galatians 2:20].    

     As Christ represented the Father to the world, so we are to represent Christ; and every inducement is presented to us that we may represent Christ by keeping the way of the Lord, and faithfully living out every requirement of His Word. This is the power of the gospel. By doing this we will be as lights shining in a dark place, and will be of more value to the world than sermons or religious ceremonies. The world is watching us, and will criticize us severely. We are constantly making an impression, favorable or unfavorable, upon those with whom we associate. Through us others will look at Christ, but unless we practice the lessons of Christ, we are none of His, and cannot properly represent Him. Cheerfulness will be the fruit borne by the Christian tree, but levity and coarse, unruly conduct are as thorn berries. 

12MR 228, 229