Ellen White wrote about business and its principles more than many realize. We hope the following words inspire you with the same zeal that inspired the pioneers of the Adventist movement.—Editors.
“There is a fearfulness to venture out and to run risks in this great work, fearing that the expenditure of means would not bring returns. What if means are used and yet we cannot see that souls have been saved by it? What if there is a dead loss of a portion of our means? Better work and keep at work than to do nothing. You know not which shall prosper, this or that.”1
Speaking to the inclination to bury talents God has given, she wrote, “Many become inefficient by evading responsibilities for fear of failure.”2
“Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption, heaven itself was imperiled.”3
“Some have no idea of running any risk or venturing anything themselves. But somebody must venture; someone must run risks in this cause.”4
Back to the Future
Have you heard of the Waldenses? Of these “renegades” Ellen White wrote in The Great Controversy:
“To have made known the object of their mission would have ensured its defeat; therefore they carefully concealed their real character. Every minister possessed a knowledge of some trade or profession, and the missionaries prosecuted their work under cover of a secular calling. Usually they chose that of merchant or peddler. ‘They carried silks, jewelry, and other articles, at that time not easily purchasable save at distant marts; and they were welcomed as merchants where they would have been spurned as missionaries.’—Wylie, b. 1, ch. 7.
“All the while their hearts were uplifted to God for wisdom to present a treasure more precious than gold or gems. They secretly carried about with them copies of the Bible, in whole or in part; and whenever an opportunity was presented, they called the attention of their customers to these manuscripts. Often an interest to read God’s Word was thus awakened, and some portion was gladly left with those who desired to receive it.”5
Creating a Kind Work Culture
“All the workers in the office are under the supervision of God, and are expected to speak respectfully because they are in His presence just as verily as if they could see him. They are to show love and respect, cheerfulness and true courtesy, to one another, remembering that in this life they are in a school where they can learn lessons that will prepare them for promotion to the school above.
“It costs nothing to speak kindly, and kindness fulfills the law of Christ. By the constant practice of this virtue, habits are formed that will make beautiful characters—characters fit for entrance into the courts above. Thus men and women may become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. My brethren and sisters, will you not set a watch upon your lips, that you may speak no unpleasant words?”6
“Words of kindness are as welcome as the smile of angels.”7
Creating an Amazing Customer Experience
“In your association with others, put yourself in their place. Enter into their feelings, their difficulties, their disappointments, their joys, and their sorrows. Identify yourself with them, and then do to them as, were you to exchange places with them, you would wish them to deal with you. This is the true rule of honesty. It is another expression of the law, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Matthew 22:39.”8
Witnessing Through Business
“A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument in favor of the gospel that can be produced.”9
Best Management Practices
“The Lord disciplines His workers, that they may be prepared to fill the places appointed them. He desires to fit them to do more acceptable service. There are those who wish to be a ruling power, and who need the sanctification of submission. God brings about a change in their lives. Perhaps He places before them duties that they would not choose. If they are willing to be guided by Him, He will give them grace and strength to perform these duties in a spirit of submission and helpfulness. Thus they are being qualified to fill places where their disciplined abilities will make them of great service. . . .
“There are many who are not satisfied to serve God cheerfully in the place that He has marked out for them, or to do uncomplainingly the work that He has placed in their hands. It is right to be dissatisfied with the way in which we perform duty, but we are not to be dissatisfied with the duty itself because we would rather do something else. In His providence God places before human beings service that will be as medicine to their diseased minds. Thus He seeks to lead them to put aside the selfish preference, which, if gratified, would disqualify them for the work He has for them. If they accept and perform this service, their minds will be cured. If they refuse it, they will be left at strife with themselves and others.”10
Work in Heaven?
“There will be employment in heaven. The redeemed state is not one of idle repose. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God, but it is a rest found in loving service.”11
1 Ellen G. White, The Publishing Ministry (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1983), p. 391.
2 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 500.
3 Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900, 1941), p. 196.
4 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 3, p. 316.
5 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 71.
6 Ellen G. White, Ellen G. White 1888 Materials (Silver Spring, Md.: Ellen G. White Estate, 1987), vol. 4, pp. 1790, 1791.
7 Ellen G. White, Christian Service (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1925), p. 189.
8 Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), pp. 134, 135.
9 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 3, p.238.
10 Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1915), pp. 269, 270.
11 Ellen G. White, Letter 203, 1905, in The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments, vol. 3, p. 1164.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the spiritual gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.