Chapter 2—The Temperance Worker

Personal Labor Called For—Missionary work does not consist merely of preaching. It includes personal labor for those who have abused their health and have placed themselves where they have not moral power to control their appetites and passions. These souls are to be labored for as those more favorably situated. Our world is full of suffering ones.—Evangelism, 265. Te 130.3

The Example of Self-Control—Those who control themselves are fitted to labor for the weak and erring. They will deal with them tenderly and patiently. By their own example, they will show what is right, and then they will seek to place the erring where they will be under good influences. Te 130.4

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” Te 131.1

If any of you find others who are in uncertainty as to what they should do, you are to show them. Everyone should be engaged in the work of soulsaving. Everyone should be prepared to give instruction in regard to the science of salvation.—Manuscript 38a, 1905. Te 131.2

Be Compassionate and Sympathetic—Let us seek to understand how to reach the people. There is no better way to do this than to be compassionate and sympathetic. If you know of those who are sick and in need of assistance, help them, try to relieve them in their distress. As you do this work, the power of the Lord will speak through it to the soul.—The General Conference Bulletin, April 23, 1901. Te 131.3

Win by Sympathy and Love—Persons are attracted by sympathy and love; and many may thus be won to the ranks of Christ and reform; but they cannot be forced or driven. Christian forbearance, candor, consideration, and courtesy toward all who do not see the truth as we do, will exert a powerful influence for good. We must learn not to move too fast, and require too much of those who are newly converted to the truth.—Manuscript 1, 1878. Te 131.4

Encouragement of Little Attentions—In all our associations it should be remembered that in the experience of others there are chapters sealed from mortal sight. On the pages of memory are sad histories that are sacredly guarded from curious eyes. There stand registered long, hard battles with trying circumstances, perhaps troubles in the home life, that day by day weaken courage, confidence, and faith. Those who are fighting the battle of life at great odds may be strengthened and encouraged by little attentions that cost only a loving effort. To such the strong, helpful grasp of the hand by a true friend is worth more than gold or silver. Words of kindness are as welcome as the smile of angels.—The Ministry of Healing, 158. Te 131.5

Offer Something Better—Don't Attack—It is of little use to try to reform others by attacking what we may regard as wrong habits. Such effort often results in more harm than good. In His talk with the Samaritan woman, instead of disparaging Jacob's well, Christ presented something better. “If thou knewest the gift of God,” He said, “and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water.” John 4:10. He turned the conversation to the treasure He had to bestow, offering the woman something better than she possessed, even living water, the joy and hope of the gospel. This is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. We must offer men something better than that which they possess, even the peace of Christ, which passeth all understanding. We must tell them of God's holy law, the transcript of His character, and an expression of that which He wishes them to become. Show them how infinitely superior to the fleeting joys and pleasures of the world is the imperishable glory of heaven. Tell them of the freedom and rest to be found in the Saviour. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” (verse 14), He declared. Te 132.1

Lift up Jesus, crying, “Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” John 1:29, A.R.V. He alone can satisfy the craving of the heart, and give peace to the soul. Te 132.2

Unselfish, Kind, Courteous—Of all people in the world, reformers should be the most unselfish, the most kind, the most courteous. In their lives should be seen the true goodness of unselfish deeds. The worker who manifests a lack of courtesy, who shows impatience at the ignorance or waywardness of others, who speaks hastily or acts thoughtlessly, may close the door to hearts so that he can never reach them. Te 132.3

As the dew and the still showers fall upon the withering plants, so let words fall gently when seeking to win men from error. God's plan is first to reach the heart. We are to speak the truth in love, trusting in Him to give it power for the reforming of the life. The Holy Spirit will apply to the soul the word that is spoken in love. Te 133.1

Naturally we are self-centered and opinionated. But when we learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, we become partakers of His nature; henceforth we live His life. The wonderful example of Christ, the matchless tenderness with which He entered into the feelings of others, weeping with those who wept, rejoicing with those who rejoiced, must have a deep influence upon the character of all who follow Him in sincerity. By kindly words and acts they will try to make the path easy for weary feet.—The Ministry of Healing, 156-158. Te 133.2

The Lost Coin—Precious Still—The lost coin, in the Saviour's parable, though lying in the dirt and rubbish, was a piece of silver still. Its owner sought it because it was of value. So every soul, however degraded by sin, is in God's sight accounted precious. As the coin bore the image and superscription of the reigning power, so man at his creation bore the image and superscription of God. Though now marred and dim through the influence of sin, the traces of this inscription remain upon every soul. God desires to recover that soul, and to retrace upon it His own image in righteousness and holiness. Te 133.3

How little do we enter into sympathy with Christ on that which should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him,—compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! The inhumanity of man toward man is our greatest sin. Many think that they are representing the justice of God, while they wholly fail of representing His tenderness and His great love. Often the ones whom they meet with sternness and severity are under the stress of temptation. Satan is wrestling with these souls, and harsh, unsympathetic words discouraging them, and cause them to fall a prey to the tempter's power.—The Ministry of Healing, 163. Te 133.4

No Censure for the Straying Sheep—The parable of the lost sheep is a forcible illustration of the Saviour's love for the erring. The Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine in the shelter of the fold, while He goes out to search for the one lost, perishing sheep; and when it is found, He places it upon His shoulder, and returns with rejoicing. He did not find fault with the straying sheep; He did not say, “Let him go if he will;” but He went forth amid frost and sleet and tempest, to save the one that was lost. And He patiently continued His search until the object of His solicitude was found. Te 134.1

Thus are we to treat the erring, wandering one. We should be ready to sacrifice our own ease and comfort when a soul for whom Christ died is in peril. Said Jesus, “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” As joy was manifested at the recovery of the one lost sheep, so will exceeding joy and gratitude be manifested by the true servants of Christ when one soul is saved from death.—Manuscript 1, 1878. Te 134.2

Christ Will Show Us How—We are called upon to work with more than human energy, to labor with the power that is in Jesus Christ. The One who stooped to take human nature is the One who will show us how to conduct the battle. Christ has left His work in our hands, and we are to wrestle with God, supplicating day and night for the power that is unseen. It is laying right hold of God through Jesus Christ that will gain the victory.—Testimonies for the Church 6:111. Te 134.3

Gratitude of the Saved—The worth of a soul cannot be fully estimated by finite minds. How gratefully will the ransomed and glorified ones remember those who were instrumental in their salvation! No one will then regret his self-denying efforts and persevering labors, his patience, forbearance, and earnest heart-yearnings for souls that might have been lost had he neglected his duty or become weary in well-doing.—Manuscript 1, 1878. Te 135.1

Safeguards for the Worker—The temptations to which we are daily exposed make prayer a necessity. Dangers beset every path. Those who are seeking to rescue others from vice and ruin are especially exposed to temptation. In constant contact with evil, they need a strong hold upon God, lest they themselves be corrupted. Short and decisive are the steps that lead men down from high and holy ground to a low level. In a moment decisions may be made that fix one's condition forever. One failure to overcome leaves the soul unguarded. One evil habit, if not firmly resisted, will strengthen into chains of steel, binding the whole man. Te 135.2

The reason why so many are left to themselves in places of temptation is that they do not set the Lord always before them. When we permit our communion with God to be broken, our defense is departed from us. Not all your good purposes and good intentions will enable you to withstand evil. You must be men and women of prayer. Your petitions must not be faint, occasional, and fitful, but earnest, persevering, and constant. It is not always necessary to bow upon your knees in order to pray. Cultivate the habit of talking with the Saviour when you are alone, when you are walking, and when you are busy with your daily labor. Let the heart be continually uplifted in silent petition for help, for light, for strength, for knowledge. Let every breath be a prayer. Te 135.3

Protection for Those Who Make God Their Trust—As workers for God we must reach men where they are, surrounded with darkness, sunken in vice, and stained with corruption. But while we stay our minds upon Him who is our sun and our shield, the evil that surrounds us will not bring one stain upon our garments. As we work to save the souls that are ready to perish, we shall not be put to shame if we make God our trust. Christ in the heart, Christ in the life, this is our safety. The atmosphere of His presence will fill the soul with abhorrence of all that is evil. Our spirit may be so identified with His that in thought and aim we shall be one with Him.—The Ministry of Healing, 509-511. Te 135.4