Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4


Chapter 55—Faithful Workers

The management of so large and important an institution as the sanitarium necessarily involves great responsibility, both in temporal and spiritual matters. It is of the highest importance that this asylum for those who are diseased in body and mind shall be such that Jesus, the Mighty Healer, can preside among them, and all that is done may be under the control of His Spirit. All connected with this institution should qualify themselves for the faithful discharge of their God-given responsibilities. They should attend to every little duty with as much fidelity as to matters of great importance. All should study prayerfully how they can themselves become most useful and make this retreat for the sick a grand success. 4T 554.1

We do not realize with what anxiety patients with their various diseases come to the sanitarium, all desiring help, but some doubtful and distrusting, while others are more confident that they shall be relieved. Those who have not visited the institution are watching with interest every indication of the principles which are cherished by its managers. 4T 554.2

All who profess to be children of God should unceasingly bear in mind that they are missionaries, in their labors brought in connection with all classes of minds. There will be the refined and the coarse, the humble and the proud, the religious and the skeptical, the confiding and the suspicious, the liberal and the avaricious, the pure and the corrupt, the educated and the ignorant, the rich and the poor; in fact, almost every grade of character and condition will be found among the patients at the sanitarium. Those who come to this asylum come because they need help; and thus, whatever their station or condition, they acknowledge that they are not able to help themselves. These varied minds cannot be treated alike; yet all, whether they are rich or poor, high or low, dependent or independent, need kindness, sympathy, and love. By mutual contact our minds should receive polish and refinement. We are dependent upon one another, closely bound together by the ties of human brotherhood. 4T 554.3

Heaven, forming each on other to depend,
A master, or a servant, or a friend,
Bids each on other for assistance call,
Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
4T 555.1

It is through the social relations that Christianity comes in contact with the world. Every man or woman who has tasted of the love of Christ, and has received into the heart the divine illumination, is required of God to shed light on the dark pathway of those who are unacquainted with the better way. Every worker in that sanitarium should become a witness for Jesus. Social power, sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, must be improved to win souls to the Saviour. 4T 555.2

He who has to deal with persons differing so widely in character, disposition, and temperament will have trials, perplexities, and collisions, even when he does his best. He may be disgusted with the ignorance, pride, and independence which he will meet; but this should not discourage him. He should stand where he will sway, rather than be swayed. Firm as a rock to principle, with an intelligent faith, he should stand uncorrupted by surrounding influences. The people of God should not be transformed by the various influences to which they must necessarily be exposed, but they must stand up for Jesus and by the aid of His Spirit exert a transforming power upon minds deformed by false habits and defiled by sin. 4T 555.3

Christ is not to be hid away in the heart and locked in as a coveted treasure, sacred and sweet, to be enjoyed solely by the possessor. We are to have Christ in our hearts as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life, refreshing all who come in contact with us. We must confess Christ openly and bravely, exhibiting in our characters His meekness, humility, and love, till men shall be charmed by the beauty of holiness. It is not the best way to preserve our religion as we bottle perfumes lest the fragrance should escape. 4T 555.4

The very conflicts and rebuffs we meet are to make us stronger and give stability to our faith. We are not to be swayed, like a reed in the wind, by every passing influence. Our souls, warmed and invigorated by the truths of the gospel, and refreshed by divine grace, are to open and expand, and shed their fragrance upon others. Clad in the whole armor of righteousness, we can meet any influence and our purity remain untarnished. 4T 556.1

All should consider that God's claims upon them are paramount to all others. God has given to every person capabilities to improve, that he may reflect glory to the Giver. Everyday some progress should be made. If the workers leave the sanitarium as they entered it, without making decided improvement, gaining in knowledge and spiritual strength, they have met with loss. God designs that Christians shall grow continually, grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. All who do not grow stronger, and become more firmly rooted and grounded in the truth, are continually retrograding. 4T 556.2

A special effort should be made to secure the services of conscientious, Christian workers. It is the purpose of God that a health institution should be organized and controlled exclusively by Seventh-day Adventists; and when unbelievers are brought in to occupy responsible positions, an influence is presiding there that will tell with great weight against the sanitarium. God did not intend that this institution should be carried on after the order of any other health institute in the land, but that it should be one of the most effectual instrumentalities in His hands of giving light to the world. It should stand forth with scientific ability, with moral and spiritual power, and as a faithful sentinel of reform in all its bearings; and all who act a part in it should be reformers, having respect to its rules, and heeding the light of health reform now shining upon us as a people. 4T 556.3

All can be a blessing to others if they will place themselves where they will correctly represent the religion of Jesus Christ. But there has been greater anxiety to make the outward appearance in every way presentable that it may meet the minds of worldly patients, than to maintain a living connection with heaven, to watch and pray, that this instrumentality of God may be wholly successful in doing good to the bodies and also to the souls of men. 4T 556.4

What can be said, and what can be done, to awaken conviction in the hearts of all connected with this important institution? How can they be led to see and feel the danger of making wrong moves unless they daily have a living experience in the things of God? The physicians are in a position, where, should they exert an influence in accordance with their faith, they would have a molding power upon all connected with the institution. This is one of the best missionary fields in the world, and all in responsible positions should become acquainted with God and ever be receiving light from heaven. There has never been so important a period in the history of the sanitarium as the present, never a time when so much was at stake. We are surrounded with the perils of the last days. Satan has come down with great power, working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; for he knows that his time is short. The light must now shine forth in our words and deportment with increased brightness on the path of those who are in darkness. 4T 557.1

There are some who are not what the Lord would have them to be. They are abrupt and harsh, and need the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God. It is never convenient to take up the cross and follow in the path of self-denial, and yet this must be done. God wants all to have His grace and His Spirit to make fragrant their life. Some are too independent, too self-sufficient, and do not counsel with others as they should. 4T 557.2

My brethren, we are living in a solemn time. An important work is to be done for our own souls and for the souls of others or we shall meet with an infinite loss. We must be transformed by the grace of God or we shall fail of heaven, and through our influence others will fail with us. Let me assure you that the struggles and conflicts which must be endured in the discharge of duty, the self-denials and sacrifices which must be made if we are faithful to Christ, are not created by Him. They are not imposed by arbitrary or unnecessary command; they do not come from the severity of the life which He requires us to lead in His service. Trials would exist in greater power and number were we to refuse obedience to Christ and become the servants of Satan and the slaves of sin. 4T 557.3

Jesus invites us to come to Him and He will lift the weights from our weary shoulders and place upon us His yoke, which is easy, and His burden, which is light. The path in which He invites us to walk would never have cost us a pang had we always walked in it. It is when we stray from the path of duty that the way becomes difficult and thorny. The sacrifices which we must make in following Christ are only so many steps to return to the path of light, of peace and happiness. Doubts and fears grow by indulgence, and the more they are indulged, the harder are they to overcome. It is safe to let go every earthly support and take the hand of Him who lifted up and saved the sinking disciple on the stormy sea. 4T 558.1

God calls upon you to mingle the trusting simplicity of the child with the strength and maturity of the man. He would have you develop the true gold of character, and through the merits of Christ you can do this. My soul is burdened for those who do not feel their need of constant connection with heaven in order to do the work devolving upon them as faithful sentinels for God. 4T 558.2

Religion is what is needed. We must eat of the bread of life and drink of the water of salvation. We must cherish love, not that which is falsely called charity, which would lead us to love sin and cherish sinners, but Bible charity and Bible wisdom, that is first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. 4T 558.3

There must be, with all who have any influence in the sanitarium, a conforming to God's will, a humiliation of self, an opening of the heart to the precious influence of the Spirit of Christ. The gold tried in the fire represents love and faith. Many are nearly destitute of love. Self-sufficiency blinds their eyes to their great need. There is a positive necessity for a daily conversion to God, a new, deep, and daily experience in the religious life. 4T 558.4

There should be awakened in the hearts of the physicians, especially, a most earnest desire to have that wisdom which God alone can impart; for as soon as they become self-confident they are left to themselves, to follow the impulses of the unsanctified heart. When I see what these physicians may become in connection with Christ, and what they will fail to become if they do not daily connect with Him, I am filled with apprehension that they will be content with reaching a worldly standard, and have no ardent longings, no hungering and thirsting, for the beauty of holiness, the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 4T 559.1

The peace of Christ, the peace of Christ—money cannot buy it, brilliant talent cannot command it, intellect cannot secure it; it is the gift of God. The religion of Christ—how shall I make all understand their great loss if they fail to carry its holy principles into the daily life? The meekness and lowliness of Christ is the Christian's power. It is indeed more precious than all things which genius can create or wealth can buy. Of all things that are sought, cherished, and cultivated, there is nothing so valuable in the sight of God as a pure heart, a disposition imbued with thankfulness and peace. 4T 559.2

If the divine harmony of truth and love exists in the heart, it will shine forth in words and actions. The most careful cultivation of the outward proprieties and courtesies of life has not sufficient power to shut out all fretfulness, harsh judgment, and unbecoming speech. The spirit of genuine benevolence must dwell in the heart. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. Love illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire man. It brings him into harmony with God, for it is a heavenly attribute. 4T 559.3

Many are in danger of thinking that in the cares of labor, in writing and practicing as physicians, or performing the duties of the various departments, they are excusable if they lay down prayer, neglect the Sabbath, and neglect religious service. Sacred things are thus brought down to meet their convenience, while duties, denials, and crosses are left untouched. Neither physicians nor helpers should attempt to perform their work without taking time to pray. God would be the helper of all who profess to love Him, if they would come to Him in faith and, with a sense of their own weakness, crave His power. When they separate from God, their wisdom will be found to be foolishness. When they are small in their own eyes and lean heavily upon their God, then He will be the arm of their power, and success will attend their efforts; but when they allow the mind to be diverted from God, then Satan comes in and controls the thoughts and perverts the judgment. 4T 560.1

None are in greater danger than he who feels that his mountain standeth sure. It is then that his feet will begin to slide. Temptations will come, one after another, and so imperceptible will be their influence upon the life and character, that, unless kept by divine power, he will be corrupted by the spirit of the world and will fail to carry out the purpose of God. All that man has, God has given him, and he who improves his abilities to God's glory will be an instrument to do good; but we can no more live a religious life without constant prayer and the performance of religious duties than we can have physical strength without partaking of temporal food. We must daily sit down at God's table. We must receive strength from the living Vine, if we are nourished. 4T 560.2

The course which some have pursued, in using worldly policy to accomplish their purposes, is not in harmony with the will of God. They see evils which need correcting, but they do not wish to bring down reproach upon their own heads, and instead of courageously meeting these things, they throw the burden upon another and let him meet the difficulties which they have shunned and in too many cases the one who uses plain speech is made the great offender. 4T 560.3

Brethren, I entreat you to move with an eye single to the glory of God. Let His power be your dependence, His grace your strength. By study of the Scriptures and earnest prayer seek to obtain clear conceptions of your duty, and then faithfully perform it. It is essential that you cultivate faithfulness in little things, and in so doing you will acquire habits of integrity in greater responsibilities. The little incidents of everyday life often pass without our notice, but it is these things that shape the character. Every event of life is great for good or for evil. The mind needs to be trained by daily tests, that it may acquire power to stand in any difficult position. In the days of trial and of peril you will need to be fortified to stand firmly for the right, independent of every opposing influence. 4T 561.1

God is willing to do much for you, if you will only feel your need of Him. Jesus loves you. Ever seek to walk in the light of God's wisdom, and through all the changing scenes of life do not rest unless you know that your will is in harmony with the will of your Creator. Through faith in Him you may obtain strength to resist every temptation of Satan and thus increase in moral power with every test from God. 4T 561.2

You may become men of responsibility and influence if, by the power of your will, united with divine strength, you earnestly engage in the work. Exercise the mental powers, and in no case neglect the physical. Let not intellectual slothfulness close up your path to greater knowledge. Learn to reflect as well as to study, that your minds may expand, strengthen, and develop. Never think that you have learned enough and that you may now relax your efforts. The cultivated mind is the measure of the man. Your education should continue during your lifetime; every day you should be learning and putting to practical use the knowledge gained. 4T 561.3

You are rising in true dignity and moral worth as you practice virtue and cherish uprightness in heart and life. Let not your character be affected by a taint of the leprosy of selfishness. A noble soul, united with a cultivated intellect, will make you men whom God will use in positions of sacred trust. 4T 562.1

It should be the first work of all connected with this institution to be right before God themselves, and then to stand in the strength of Christ, unaffected by the wrong influences to which they will be exposed. If they make the broad principles of the word of God the foundation of the character, they may stand wherever the Lord in His providence may call them, surrounded by any deleterious influence, and yet not be swayed from the path of right. 4T 562.2

Many fail where they should be successful, because they do not realize how great is the influence of their words and actions. They are affected by circumstances, and seem to think that their lives are their own, and that they may pursue whatever course seems most agreeable to themselves, irrespective of others. Such persons will be found self-sufficient and unreliable. They do not prayerfully consider their position and their responsibilities, and fail to realize that only by a faithful discharge of the duties of the present life can they hope to win the future, immortal life. 4T 562.3

If these persons would make the word of God their study and their guide, they would see that no man “liveth to himself.” They would learn from the Inspired Record that God has placed a high value upon the human family. The works of His creation upon each successive day were called good; but man, formed in the image of his Creator, was pronounced “very good.” No other creature that God has made has called forth such exhibitions of His love. And when all was lost by sin, God gave His dear Son to redeem the fallen race. It was His will that they should not perish in their sins, but live to use their powers in blessing the world and honoring their Creator. Professed Christians who do not live to benefit others, follow their own perverse will rather than the will of God, and they will be called to account by the Master for their abuse of the blessings which He has given them. 4T 562.4

Jesus, heaven's great Commander, left the royal courts to come to a world seared and marred by the curse. He took upon Himself our nature, that with His human arm He might encircle the race, while with His divine arm He grasps Omnipotence, and thus links finite man to the infinite God. Our Redeemer came to the world to show how man should live in order to secure immortal life. Our heavenly Father made an infinite sacrifice in giving His Son to die for fallen man. The price paid for our redemption should give us exalted views of what we may become through Christ. 4T 563.1

As John beholds the height, the depth, and the breadth of the Father's love toward our perishing race, he is filled with admiration and reverence. He cannot find suitable language to express this love, but he calls upon the world to behold it: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” What a value this places upon man! Through transgression the sons of men became subjects of Satan. Through the infinite sacrifice of Christ, and faith in His name, the sons of Adam become the sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are granted another trial and are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may educate, improve, and elevate themselves, that they may indeed become worthy of the name sons of God.” 4T 563.2

Such love is without a parallel. Jesus requires that those who have been bought by the price of His own life shall make the best use of the talents which He has given them. They are to increase in the knowledge of the divine will, and constantly improve in intellect and morals, until they shall attain to a perfection of character but little lower than that of the angels. 4T 563.3

If those who profess to believe present truth were indeed representatives of the truth, living up to all the light which shines upon their pathway, they would constantly exert upon others an influence for good, thus leaving a bright track heavenward for all who are brought in contact with them. But a lack of faithfulness and integrity among its professed friends is a serious hindrance to the prosperity of God's cause. Satan works through men who are under his control. The sanitarium, the church, and other institutions at Battle Creek have less to fear from the infidel and the open blasphemer than from inconsistent professors of Christ. These are the Achans in the camp, who bring shame and defeat. These are the ones who keep back the blessing of God and dishearten the zealous, self-denying workers in the cause of Christ. 4T 563.4

In their conduct toward the patients all should be actuated by higher motives than selfish interest. Everyone should feel that this institution is one of God's instrumentalities to relieve the disease of the body and point the sin-sick soul to Him who can heal both soul and body. In addition to the performance of the special duties assigned them, all should have an interest for the welfare of others. Selfishness is contrary to the spirit of Christianity. It is altogether satanic in its nature and development. 4T 564.1

In one of His precious lessons to His disciples, our Saviour described God's care for His creatures in these words: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” He who stoops to notice even the little birds has a special care for all branches of His work. All who are employed in our institutions are under the eye of the infinite God. He sees whether their duties are performed with strict integrity or in a careless, dishonest manner. Angels are walking unseen through every room of these institutions. Angels are constantly ascending to heaven, bearing up the record with joy or sadness. Every act of fidelity is registered, every act of dishonesty also is recorded, and every person is finally to be rewarded as his works have been. 4T 564.2