“A stingy church cannot be a true church. It cannot be rich in faith and trust in God. It cannot be rich in works to benefit and bless man or to honor and glorify God. It cannot continue rich in this world’s goods. A stingy man may gather together and hold for a time, money and property. A stingy man with millions hoarded is a poor man. A poor, stingy, sordid soul may have property, but he lives a pinched, poverty-stricken life, watching and caring for and adding to his money, but enjoying nothing of it. He does not enjoy it, but it is an oppressive burden to him. He may cling to it while he lives; but when death loosens his clutches upon it, his family soon scatter it to the four winds, and come down to grinding poverty. It works the same with churches as with individuals….”
“All the good a man gets out of what passes through his hands here is from what he uses for good in serving God. What he properly uses for himself and for his own family, if they are serving God or if it is helping them to serve God, is as much used in the service of God as what he gives to others to help them. Everything that is used for selfish purposes and to promote the fleshly desires of himself or family is lost, is worse than lost. It is positive injury and hurt to himself and family. True happiness is found here on earth, not in the gratification of the desires and appetites of the flesh. A larger proportion of those who seek happiness by gratifying the flesh in a few years tire of the disappointments and burdens, and a greater proportion of this class seek forgetfulness of life’s evils and burdens in suicide than of any other class. Churches, like individuals, to enjoy life and prosper, must be liberal and self-denying in their labor and in the use of their means in doing good to others. This is the only true good to be gotten out of property, talent, or ability of any kind. The man who uses his means and opportunities otherwise squanders his means and trifles with his opportunities. He is a spiritual profligate who hoards his money, keeps his property and refuses to so use it as to abound to his spiritual account at the last day.
“These are called ‘strenuous times.’ This means the struggle for existence has become sharp and fierce. A man must ‘hustle’ if he makes a living for himself and family. If he is indolent and idle he and his family must want. They will suffer for food and raiment. These strenuous times affect the spiritual conditions as much as the pecuniary. If a church is not active, alive, energetic in using its means and opportunities to save and help others, it will come to penury and want. By virtue of its indolence and indifference to its own growth and the salvation of others, it will take the dry rot and die.”
David Lipscomb, “Use of Means and Opportunities,” Gospel Advocate (19 December 1907), 807.