In just over two weeks we come to the most solemn occasion of the year — God's Passover. Now is the time to take a quick inventory of our lives. A man running a business takes inventory of his stock each year. Each individual runs a very important business — his own life — especially if he has been called out of this world into God's earthly family, the Church of God.
The business each of us is managing is our own lives. What we are building — and we are in the building business — is perfect righteous character, the very character of the eternal God. But in this business, in today's modern world, we have competitors on every side — those in Satan's world are in the competing business of building Satan's character.
To really understand, I say once again we must go back to the beginning. Those of us who have been called find ourselves in the same position that faced the first man, Adam. He had to decide how to live his life — how to go about the business of building character. He had two choices. (We each have the same two choices.) One was to rely on God, the other to rely on himself. To rely on God meant to receive all instructions and knowledge of how to live from God, and receive the power to live God's way from God. But he chose to rely on himself, to decide for himself the way to live — to decide what is right and what is wrong. And he relied on himself for the power to live the way he chose. Had he taken of the tree of life he would have received from God both the knowledge of the way of life (God's law of love) — and also the love of God as the power to live that way.
All the world about us — our competition — has tried to decide humanly for themselves what is right and what is wrong — and has relied on self-power and will to live as humanly decided. Mankind has built, under Satan's sway and guidance, his own society — his own world. Mankind has organized into governments and nations. Each government has its own law-making body — a city council, a national Congress or Parliament or Diet.
But human beings do not know of themselves right from wrong. For example, the United States government right now cannot decide whether abortion is right or wrong. The Supreme Court usually cannot unanimously agree on whether a law is constitutional — whether it is right or wrong. Only God can tell us right from wrong, and he does so by his law, and his law is a basic principle that, if we apply it, will tell us unerringly what is right on any question.
We are God's Church. The word Church means "come-out-ones." We must come out of sin, and sin is the transgression of God's law.
WHY must we put leaven out of our homes for seven days at Passover time? To show us we must put every sin out of our lives. This is the time to take inventory in our business — to check up and see if we have put every sin completely out of our lives.
We are taking inventory of the work of God's Church. We are stewards running God's business for him through the power of his Spirit. I can report to God and to you that the work is growing now as never before. We must be pleasing God for he is blessing us in his work. But time is short and we must try even harder. We must pray more earnestly and more often. We must each do our part to the extent of our ability.
This is the time of year when the work faces its greatest financial need and when cash reserves are lowest. The Church has to depend on Holy Day special offerings to fill up the deficiency. This does take financial sacrifice on the part of all of us.
This is the time of year for spiritual rejuvenation — and financial rejuvenation must accompany it. It is a solemn time — yet a happy time.