The Southern Work


An Appeal for the South—3

The World's Redeemer clearly defines what our duty is. To the lawyer who asked Him how he should obtain eternal life, He said: “What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbour?” Then Jesus related the parable of the good Samaritan, and clearly showed that he is our neighbor who most needs our charity and help. We are to practice the commandments of God, and stand true to the relation which God has designed shall exist between man and his fellow man. It was never God's purpose that society should be separated into classes, that there should be an alienation between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the learned and the unlearned. But the practice of separating society into distinct circles is becoming more and more decided. God designed that those to whom He entrusted talents of means, ability, and gifts of grace, should be good stewards of His beneficence, and not seek to reap all the advantages for themselves. God does not estimate man by the amount of wealth, talent, or education that he may have. He values man in proportion as he becomes a good steward of His mercy and love. SWk 37.1

Those who center everything upon themselves misinterpret the character of God. The Lord designed that the gifts He bestows upon men should be used to minister to the unfortunate and the suffering ones among humanity. SWk 37.2

We are in God's world, and are handling His goods, and we shall be called upon to render a strict account of the use that we have made of His entrusted riches. If we have hoarded God's gifts for our own advantage, if we have indulged in luxury, if we have heaped up treasure for ourselves, and have been indifferent to the wants of those who are suffering around us, we shall be charged as guilty of embezzling God's goods. The cries of suffering humanity go up to God, and He hears their complaints of hunger, of ignorance, and of darkness. He will surely judge those who neglect His purchased possession, who leave the suffering to perish when it is in their power to relieve them. He will hold us accountable for the guilt of those who are left to be the sport of Satan's temptations, and who in their ignorance and blindness charge God with dealing partially with the human race. It is because the rich neglect to do the work for the poor that God designed they should do, that they grow more proud, more self-sufficient, more self-indulgent and hardhearted. They separate the poor from them simply because they are poor, and thus give them occasion to become envious and jealous. Many become bitter, and are imbued with hatred toward those who have everything when they have nothing. SWk 37.3

God weighs actions, and every one who has been unfaithful in his stewardship, who has failed to remedy evils which it was in his power to remedy, will be of no esteem in the courts of heaven. Those who are indifferent to the wants of the needy will be counted unfaithful stewards, and will be registered as enemies of God and man. Those who misappropriate the means that God has entrusted to them to help the very ones who need their help, prove that they have no connection with Christ, because they fail to manifest the tenderness of Christ toward those who are less fortunate than themselves. As Christians, we are to manifest to the world the character of Christ in all the affairs of life. To be a Christian means to act in Christ's stead, to represent Christ. We are not to seek to get rid of the responsibilities that connect us with our fellow men. God has not placed us in the world simply to please and honor and glorify ourselves. The character of our Christianity is tested by the dependent ones who are around us, who are ignorant and helpless. It is not proper to pile building upon building in localities where there are abundant facilities, and neglect fields that are nigh and afar off, where there is need of starting missionary enterprises. Instead of closing our eyes and senses to the wants of those who have nothing, instead of adding more and more facilities to those that are already abundant, let us seek to see what we can do to relieve the distresses of the poor, bruised souls of the colored people. Those who are heaping advantages upon advantages where there are already more than ample facilities, are not doing a work that will strengthen men in spirituality; and for neglecting destitute fields they are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary and are found wanting. The Lord has given abundant light upon the subject of diffusing the knowledge of the truth, and no one is justified in following a selfish course. Those to whom God has entrusted much, who command the largest resources in doing a good work in behalf of the needy, and who yet have failed to do it, have withdrawn themselves from their own flesh, and have neglected their ministry to God's purchased possession, in order to gratify their own inclination. How does God look upon those who have left the poor to their poverty, the ignorant to their darkness and ignorance? How does He regard those who are willing to let the lost remain the slaves of circumstances which could have been changed in such a way as to bring relief to the distressed? God calls upon men to become Bible Christians, to represent the example given them by Christ. Who can tell what will be the result of a self-denying, cross-bearing life? Eternity will reveal the result of following Jesus, and all will be amazed at the fruit that will be made manifest. SWk 38.1

We need men who will become leaders in home and foreign missionary enterprises. We need men whose sympathies are not congealed, but whose hearts go out to the perishing that are nigh and afar off. The ice that binds about souls that are frozen up with selfishness needs to be melted away, so that every brother shall realize that he is his brother's keeper. Then everyone will go forth to help his neighbor to see the truth and to serve God in an acceptable service. Then those who profess the name of Christ will aid others in the formation of a Christlike character. If everyone would work in Christ's lines, much would be done to change the condition that now exists among the poor and distressed. Pure religion and undefiled would gleam forth as a bright and shining light. God's love in the heart would melt away the barriers of race and caste and would remove the obstacles with which men have barred others away from the truth as it is in Jesus. True religion will induce its advocates to go forth into the highways and byways of life. It will lead them to help the suffering, and enable them to be faithful shepherds going forth into the wilderness to seek and to save the lost, to lead back the perishing sheep and lambs. SWk 39.1

The most unfortunate may bear the image of God, and they are of value to God. Those who have true religion will realize that it is their supreme duty to reveal Christ to men, to make manifest the fact that they have learned in the school of Christ. O that we might individually realize that we are simply stewards in trust of God's means, and that we are to use the gifts God has given us as Christ used His eternal riches in seeking and saving that which is lost. We are only trustees, only stewards, and by and by we must give a reckoning to the Master. He will inquire how we have used His goods, and whether or not we have ministered to His family in the world. If we have enjoyed the comforts and blessings of life, and have had no care for those who were less fortunate, and have failed to relieve those who were needy and suffering, for whom Christ has given His life, we shall not hear the words of approval, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” SWk 39.2

If God has entrusted to us the precious light of truth, and has given us a knowledge of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and we have failed to diffuse that light, we shall be confronted with the souls whom we have held in darkness in the great day of God. We shall be dealt with as we have dealt with others. The King will say to those on His right hand: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”—The Review and Herald, December 10, 1895. SWk 40.1