Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8


Chapter 5—The Work at Home and Abroad

St. Helena, California,

August 7, 1902

“Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathered fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.” John 4:35-37. 8T 30.1

After sowing the seed, the husbandman is compelled to wait for months for it to germinate and develop into grain ready to be harvested. But in sowing it he is encouraged by the expectation of fruit in the future. His labor is lightened with the hope of good returns in the time of reaping. 8T 30.2

Not so with the seeds of truth sown by Christ in the mind of the Samaritan woman during His conversation with her at the well. The harvest of His seed sowing was not remote, but immediate. Scarcely were His words spoken, before the seed thus sown sprang up and produced fruit, awakening her understanding, and enabling her to know that she had been conversing with the Lord Jesus Christ. She let the rays of divine light shine into her heart. Forgetting her water pitcher, she hastened away to communicate the good news to her Samaritan brethren. “Come,” she said, “see a man, which told me all the things that ever I did.” Verse 29. And they came out at once to see Him. It was then that He likened the souls of these Samaritans to a field of grain. “Lift up your eyes,” He said to His disciples, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” 8T 30.3

“So when the Samaritans were come unto Him, they besought Him that He would tarry with them: and He abode there two days.” And what busy days these were! What is the record of the result? “And many more believed because of His own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” Verses 40-42. 8T 30.4

Christ, in opening to the minds of the Samaritans the word of life, sowed many seeds of truth and showed the people how they, too, could sow seeds of truth in the minds of others. How much good might be accomplished if all who know the truth would labor for sinners, for those who need so much to know and understand Bible truth and who would respond to it as readily as the Samaritans responded to the words of Christ! How little do we enter into sympathy with God on the point that should be the strongest bond of union between us and Him-compassion for depraved, guilty, suffering souls, dead in trespasses and sins! If men shared the sympathies of Christ, they would have constant sorrow of heart over the condition of many needy fields, so destitute of workers. 8T 31.1

The work in foreign fields is to be carried forward earnestly and intelligently. And the work in the home field is in no wise to be neglected. Let not the fields lying in the shadow of our doors, such as the great cities in our land, be lightly passed over and neglected. These fields are fully as important as any foreign field. 8T 31.2

God's encouraging message of mercy should be proclaimed in the cities of America. Men and women living in these cities are rapidly becoming more and still more entangled in their business relations. They are acting wildly in the erection of buildings whose towers reach high into the heavens. Their minds are filled with schemes and ambitious devisings. God is bidding every one of His ministering servants: Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1. 8T 31.3

Let us thank the Lord that there are a few laborers doing everything possible to raise up some memorials for God in our neglected cities. Let us remember that it is our duty to give these workers encouragement. God is displeased with the lack of appreciation and support shown our faithful workers in our large cities by His people in our own land. The work in the home field is a vital problem just now. The present time is the most favorable opportunity that we shall have to work these fields. In a little while the situation will be much more difficult. 8T 32.1

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of the guilt and obstinacy of His chosen people. He weeps also over the hardheartedness of those who, professing to be co-workers with Him, are content to do nothing. Are those who should appreciate the value of souls carrying, with Christ, a burden of heaviness and constant sorrow, mingled with tears, for the cities of the earth? The destruction of these cities, almost wholly given up to idolatry, is impending. In the great day of final reckoning what answer can be given for neglecting to enter these cities now? 8T 32.2

While carrying forward the work in America, may the Lord help us to give to other countries the attention that they ought to have, so that the workers in these fields will not be bound about, unable to leave memorials for God in many places. Let us not allow too many advantages to be absorbed in this country. Let us not continue to neglect our duty toward the millions living in other lands. Let us gain a better understanding of the situation and redeem the past. 8T 32.3

My brethren and sisters in America, it may be that in lifting up your eyes to see afar off the fields white unto the harvest, you will receive into your own hearts the abundant grace of God. You who through unbelief have been spiritually poor will, through personal labor, become rich in good works. You will no longer starve your souls in the midst of plenty, but will appropriate the good things God has in store for you. When you begin to realize how destitute of means the laborers are to carry forward the work in foreign fields, you will do what you can to help, and your souls will begin to revive, your spiritual appetite will become healthy, and your mind will be refreshed with the word of God, which is a leaf from the tree of life for the healing of the nations. 8T 32.4

In answer to the Lord's inquiry, “Whom shall I send?” Isaiah responded, “Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8. You, my brother, my sister, may not be able to go into the Lord's vineyard yourself, but you may furnish the means to send others. Thus you will be putting your money out to the exchangers; and when the Master comes, you will be able to return to Him His own with usury. Your means can be used to send forth and sustain the messengers of God, who by voice and by influence will give the message: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” Matthew 3:3. Plans are being made for the advancement of the cause, and now is your time to work. 8T 33.1

If you work with self-denial, doing what you can to further the advancement of the cause in new fields, the Lord will help and strengthen and bless you. Trust in the assurance of His presence, which sustains you, and which is light and life. Do all for love of Jesus and the precious souls for whom He has died. Work with a pure, divinely inwrought purpose to glorify God. The Lord sees and understands, and He will use you, despite your weakness, if you offer your talent as a consecrated gift to His service; for in active, disinterested service the weak become strong and enjoy His precious commendation. The joy of the Lord is an element of strength. If you are faithful, the peace that passeth all understanding will be your reward in this life, and in the future life you will enter into the joy of your Lord. 8T 33.2


January 23, 1903.

I must write something in regard to the way in which our cities in America have been passed by and neglected, cities in which the truth has not been proclaimed. The message must be given to the thousands of foreigners living in these cities in the home field. 8T 34.1

I cannot understand why our people have so little burden to take up the work that the Lord has for years been keeping before me, the work of giving the message of present truth in the Southern States. Few have felt that upon them rested the responsibility of taking hold of this work. Our people have failed to enter new territory and to work the cities in the South. Over and over again the Lord has presented the needs of this field, without any special results. I have sometimes felt as if I could no longer bear the burden of this work. I thought that, if men should continue to neglect this work, I would let matters drift and pray that the Lord would have mercy upon the ignorant and those who are out of the way. 8T 34.2

But the Lord has a controversy with our ministers and people, and I must speak, placing upon them the burden of the Southern work and of the cities of our land. Who feels heavily burdened to see the message proclaimed in Greater New York and in the many other cities as yet unworked? Not all the means that can be gathered up is to be sent from America to distant lands, while in the home field there exist such providential opportunities to present the truth to millions who have never heard it. Among these millions are the representatives of many nations, many of whom are prepared to receive the message. Much remains to be done within the shadow of our doors—in the cities of California, New York, and many other states. 8T 34.3


God says to His people: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1. Why, then, do they feel so little burden to plant the standard of truth in new places? Why do they not obey the word: “Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not”? Luke 12:33. Why do they not return to the Lord His own, to be invested in heavenly merchandise? Why is there not a more earnest call for volunteers to enter the whitening harvest field? Unless more is done than has been done for the cities of America, ministers and people will have a heavy account to settle with the One who has appointed to every man his work. 8T 35.1

We repeat the prayer: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10. Are we doing our part to answer this prayer? We profess to believe that the commission which Christ gave to His disciples is given also to us. Are we fulfilling it? May God forgive our terrible neglect in not doing the work that as yet we have scarcely touched with the tips of our fingers. When will this work be done? It makes my heart sick and sore to see such blindness on the part of the people of God. 8T 35.2

There are thousands in America perishing in ignorance and sin. And looking afar off to some distant field, those who know the truth are indifferently passing by the needy fields close to them. Christ says: “Go work today in My vineyard.” “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Matthew 21:28; 4:35. 8T 35.3

Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to His church. 8T 36.1

The Lord lives and reigns. Soon He will arise in majesty to shake terribly the earth. A special message is now to be borne, a message that will pierce the spiritual darkness and convict and convert souls. “Haste thee, flee for thy life,” is the call to be given to those dwelling in sin. We must now be terribly in earnest. We have not a moment to spend in criticism and accusation. Let those who have done this in the past fall on their knees in prayer, and let them beware how they put their words and their plans in the place of God's words and God's plans. 8T 36.2


We have no time for dwelling on matters that are of no importance. Our time should be given to proclaiming the last message of mercy to a guilty world. Men are needed who move under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. The sermons preached by some of our ministers will have to be much more powerful than they are now, or many backsliders will carry a tame, pointless message, which lulls people to sleep. Every discourse should be given under a sense of the awful judgments soon to fall on the world. The message of truth is to be proclaimed by lips touched with a live coal from the divine altar. 8T 36.3

My heart is filled with anguish when I think of the tame messages borne by some of our ministers, when they have a message of life and death to bear. The ministers are asleep; the lay members are asleep; and a world is perishing in sin. May God help His people to arouse and walk and work as men and women on the borders of the eternal world. Soon an awful surprise is coming upon the inhabitants of the world. Suddenly, with power and great glory, Christ will come. Then there will be no time to prepare to meet Him. Now is the time for us to give the warning message. 8T 37.1


We are stewards, entrusted by our absent Lord with the care of His household and His interests, which He came to this world to serve. He has returned to heaven, leaving us in charge, and He expects us to watch and wait for His appearing. Let us be faithful to our trust, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping. 8T 37.2