Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


Christian Sociability and Courtesy

Christian sociability is altogether too little cultivated by God's people. This branch of education should not be neglected or lost sight of in our schools. 6T 172.1

Students should be taught that they are not independent atoms, but that each one is a thread which is to unite with other threads in composing a fabric. In no department can this instruction be more effectually given than in the school home. Here students are daily surrounded by opportunities which, if improved, will greatly aid in developing the social traits of their characters. It lies in their own power so to improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to be drawn upon to bless others by friendly associations, lose many blessings; for by mutual contact minds receive polish and refinement; by social intercourse, acquaintances are formed and friendships contracted which result in a unity of heart and an atmosphere of love which is pleasing in the sight of heaven. 6T 172.2

Especially should those who have tasted the love of Christ develop their social powers, for in this way they may win souls to the Saviour. Christ should not be hid away in their hearts, shut in as a coveted treasure, sacred and sweet, to be enjoyed solely by themselves; nor should the love of Christ be manifested toward those only who please their fancy. Students are to be taught the Christlikeness of exhibiting a kindly interest, a social disposition, toward those who are in the greatest need, even though these may not be their own chosen companions. At all times and in all places Jesus manifested a loving interest in the human family and shed about Him the light of a cheerful piety. Students should be taught to follow in His steps. They should be taught to manifest Christian interest, sympathy, and love for their youthful companions, and endeavor to draw them to Jesus; Christ should be in their hearts as a well of water springing up into everlasting life, refreshing all with whom they come in contact. 6T 172.3

It is this willing, loving ministry for others in times of necessity that is accounted precious with God. Thus even while attending school, students may, if true to their profession, be living missionaries for God. All this will take time; but the time thus employed is profitably spent, for in this way the student is learning how to present Christianity to the world. 6T 173.1

Christ did not refuse to mingle with others in friendly intercourse. When invited to a feast by Pharisee or publican, He accepted the invitation. On such occasions every word that He uttered was a savor of life unto life to His hearers; for He made the dinner hour an occasion of imparting many precious lessons adapted to their needs. Christ thus taught His disciples how to conduct themselves when in the company of those who were not religious as well as of those who were. By His own example He taught them that, when attending any public gathering, their conversation need not be of the same character as that usually indulged in on such occasions. 6T 173.2

When students sit at the table, if Christ is abiding in the soul there will come forth from the treasure house of the heart words which are pure and uplifting; if Christ is not abiding there, a satisfaction will be found in frivolity, in jesting and joking, which is a hindrance to spiritual growth and a cause of grief to the angels of God. The tongue is an unruly member, but it should not be so. It should be converted; for the talent of speech is a very precious talent. Christ is ever ready to impart of His riches, and we should gather the jewels that come from Him, that, when we speak, these jewels may drop from our lips. 6T 173.3

The temper, the personal peculiarities, the habits from which character is developed—everything practiced in the home will reveal itself in all the associations of life. The inclinations followed will work out in thoughts, in words, in acts of the same character. If every student composing the school family would make an effort to restrain all unkind and uncourteous words, and speak with respect to all; if he would bear in mind that he is preparing to become a member of the heavenly family; if he would guard his influence by sacred sentinels, that it should not scatter away from Christ; if he would endeavor to have every act of his life show forth the praises of Him who has called him out of darkness into His marvelous light, what a reformatory influence would go forth from every school home! 6T 174.1