I am writing from 39,000 feet up in the air, returning from Jerusalem, where I left fifty Ambassador College students working on the big archeological project for the summer. Half of these students went from the campus in England, and the other 25 from the two United States campuses. They are uncovering 3,000 years of history. Articles to come in The PLAIN TRUTH will tell you the exciting things being dug up.
I have just finished writing my Personal article for the August number of TOMORROW'S WORLD. You will read it when that issue arrives. But I want to send part of what I wrote to you now, in this personal letter — and even if you read part of it over a second time in TOMORROW'S WORLD, I hope you will read it then, as now. I hope you really like this NEW magazine, and that it brings you very precious UNDERSTANDING, knowledge and instruction from our GOD!
What I wrote in this Personal article is about the GREATNESS, the POWER, HONOR, and GLORY of our God. It is in answer to the question: "What is the GREATEST SIN that anyone can possibly commit?"
For many years I have known what it is. But the seriousness of it was indelibly impressed on my mind as I was reading in I Chronicles 29, in the Fenton translation.
It was 3,000 years ago. David was king over Israel ln Jerusalem. He was then in the very spot our students are digging down to, now. It was in the heart of David to build a HOUSE FOR GOD at Jerusalem. God said that David had done well in desiring to build the Temple. But, because he had been a man of war and killed many, David was not allowed to build it. God decreed his son Solomon should build it, after David's death.
Nevertheless, David was allowed to make great preparations for the Temple before he died. So David sent out a request to God's people Israel for contributions for this special building fund. The people were tremendously stirred with joy and anticipation. They responded with GREAT LIBERALITY! In I Chronicles 29:9 you will read: "Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with PERFECT HEART they offered willingly to the ETERNAL: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy!"
They were stirred, inspired, MOVED, fired up to willingly sacrifice other things they may have planned or wanted to buy, to give and to honor their God! Dear Co-Workers, should we not ask, WHY can't we, today, be stirred to put the WORK OF GOD first, ahead of personal desires and wants? Can't we do as generously as they?
David was moved deeply and emotionally, because he knew that all they gave came from the Great GOD! He was inspired to realize HOW GREAT is our God! He was moved to an inspiring prayer, publicly expressing gratitude and praise for the living God. It was this prayer which I read in the Fenton translation that inspired my Personal article for TOMORROW'S WORLD. It begins with the very next verse after the one quoted above:
"Blessed be YOU, the EVER-LIVING,— The GOD of Our Father Israel, — From Eternity to Eternity! With You, LORD, is Greatness, and Power, And Beauty, and Splendour, and Glory! For all the Heavens and the Earth are Yours, LORD! The Government, and Exaltation, And Headship of All!" The Fenton translation omits part of the next verse — the 12th., so I continue in the Moffatt translation in modern English:
"Riches and Honor come from thee, who reignest over all; in thy hand lie POWER and MIGHT, and in thy hand it lies to make all great and strong. Hence, O our God, we ever thank thee and praise thy glorious name. Yet who am I, what is my people, that we should be able to offer such freewill offerings? All gifts come from thee, and we only give thee what is thine." (I Chronicles 29:10-14).
I seemed to catch the vision of the GREATNESS, the POWER, the BEAUTY, the SPLENDOR and GLORY of God — and of His throne in Heaven! Do you fully realize it? God is not the author of ugliness, but of BEAUTY! Not of unsightliness, or drab, colorless, depressing surroundings, but of magnificence, inspiration, culture! Not the source or giver of cheapness, inferiority, but of quality and CHARACTER! Not of darkness, but of LIGHT and BRILLIANCE!
Some people have the very wrong idea that we ought to live in drab, depressing, inferior surroundings. God Himself dwells in brilliant SPLENDOR! From His throne in Heaven brilliant lightning flashes forth! It is resplendent in BEAUTY, brilliance and GLORY beyond description!
Said the inspired David, "Riches and honor come from thee!" Not poverty, cheapness, inferiority — RICHES, HONOR, CHARACTER, QUALITY! God is the GIVER of all the GOOD THINGS! Poverty is a punishment brought on humans by humans. Filth and squalor do not come from God, but from disobedience to His Laws! It is RICHES that come from God, to those who UNDERSTAND and follow HIS WAYS!
All — absolutely ALL GOOD THINGS, wanted things, desirable things, come from GOD! God is one who GIVES, not one who TAKES! He SHARES, and has given us precious promises that, if we yield to Him and His right WAYS, ALL THAT HE HAS we may SHARE! If we are Christ's, we are His children and heirs — heirs to inherit all that God HAS! To SHARE it all with Him! I mean His GLORY! I mean the UNIVERSE! I mean His POWER! I mean ALL! I mean ETERNAL LIFE, to enjoy it FOREVER! Can your mind comprehend that?
God IS, and HAS, the ULTIMATE! It is the SUPREME of SUPERLATIVES MAGNIFIED! Yet all His power and glory we may share! We may INHERIT! Absolutely ALL the GOOD THINGS come from GOD!
What, then, is the MOST COLOSSAL SIN of all?
It is that which cuts you off from receiving the greatest possible GOOD — both here and now in this life — but also ETERNALLY in the life to come! Since EVERYTHING GOOD comes from God — and since sin is that which harms YOU as well as others — the greatest sin is that which harms YOU the most — which cuts you off from the greatest GOOD!
In other words, the SUPREME sin of all is to have ANOTHER god before the true God. We don't bow down to worship carved idols made of wood, stone, gold, or other substance today. We have IDOLATRY, just the same. I will tell you the false god which I worshipped, when you read the article in August. God SHATTERED my idol to bits. I quit worshipping it 42-1/2 years ago.
But you may put pleasures AHEAD of God, so that pleasure seeking becomes another god before Him. Or excessive television viewing — or viewing the wrong kind of program. How much time do you spend before your TV set — MORE than you spend with God in prayer and Bible reading and study? Or, it could be something not really needed that you desire MORE than YOUR PART in helping finance GOD'S WORK! Perhaps you should be putting more offerings WITH A Perfect HEART into the Work of God. Remember, the EARTH belongs to God. All you have comes from Him . You only GIVE what is His! And He prospers the giver!
Brethren and Co-Workers, let's not commit the GREATEST SIN of all by failing to do our FULL SHARE, GENEROUSLY, for God's Work, even as God's people of David's day gave for the Temple! WE ARE NOT RECEIVING THE USUAL AND DIRELY NEEDED INCREASE IN INCOME THIS YEAR, as in past years.
The MOST IMPORTANT ACTIVITY ON EARTH today is this great worldwide WORK OF GOD! It is reaching up to 150,000,000 people today — that's one hundred and fifty MILLION! But our Work is FAR from finished — and time is SHORT and fast becoming shorter. We MAY have no more than 2 - 1/2 more years to go!
Without harm to yourself — without denying yourself real NEEDS, CAN'T you increase your freewill offerings for GOD? The income for this Work MUST increase markedly the last half of this year, or THE WORK WILL HAVE TO RETRENCH. That must not happen!
God will Give of all the GOOD THINGS to us, even as WE give to HIM! His Work needs a REAWAKENING on the part of His Co-Workers! The self-addressed reply envelope is enclosed. THANK YOU for your GENEROUS part!