Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

279/469

Ms 31, 1902

Fragments

NP

March 2, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

God’s Purpose in Trial

All God’s counsels to His covenant-keeping people are faithfulness and truth. It is only when our minds become confused and narrowed and cheapened by cherishing principles of worldly policy than we cannot in God’s discipline see His lovingkindness and compassion. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 1

Shall we not cease fretting and worrying and complaining, and learn through a study of the Word to see our heavenly Teacher’s lovingkindness in His restraint of the ambitious projects which He sees would make trouble for our souls and would bring dishonor to His name? He subjects us to discipline to humble us, to lead us, through disappointment and affliction, to see our weakness and draw near to Him. As we cry to Him for help, He will respond, “Here am I. What shall I do for you?” He is not regardless of the entreaties of His children. He bears long with their impenitence, and when they turn to Him, He receives them graciously. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 2

The Lord will not allow His people to become self-sufficient and self-exalted. He permits them to be afflicted for their present and eternal good, and when He sees that they are prepared to appreciate His blessings, He grants them His favors. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 3

In times of distress we are to seek unto God. Pour not your criticisms and complaints into human ears; for thus you may bring discouragement to souls, causing them to stumble and fall. Take all your troubles to God. He will never misunderstand you. He is the refuge of His people. Under the shadow of His protection they can pass unharmed. Believe in Him and trust Him. He will not give you up to the spoiler. Believe, believe! Flee to the stronghold, and learn that the power of the gospel to strengthen passes all comprehension. Open the door, and let Jesus in to fill your heart with His peace, His grace, His love, His joy. Then Christ can say of you, “Ye are my witnesses.” [Isaiah 43:10.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 4

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To Every Man His Work

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are diversities of administration, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretations of tongues; but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” [1 Corinthians 12:4-12.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 5

Study this Scripture carefully. God has not given to every one the same line of work. It is His plan that there shall be unity in diversity. When His plan is studied and followed, there will be far less friction in the working of the cause. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 6

There are many members in the body, and all the members have not the same office, but each one is essential to the perfection of the work. “The body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body?” [Verses 14-19.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 7

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” [Verses 27, 28.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 8

The Lord desires His church to respect every gift He has bestowed on the different members. Every one has some gift. Let us beware of allowing the mind to become fixed on self, thinking that no one can be serving God unless he is working on the same lines as those on which we are working. No one is to regard himself as a complete whole. Never is a worker to say, I do not want to labor in connection with that one, because he does not view things as I view them. I wish to work with some one who will agree with all I say and will follow out all my ideas. The one the worker thus refuses to connect with may have truths to present that have not yet been presented. Because of his refusal to accept the help the Lord provides, his work is made one-sided. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 9

The work is hurt unless there are brought into it all the gifts God has given. Many times the work has been hindered from progressing as it should have progressed, because the laborers thought their gifts all that were necessary for its advancement. The Lord has not done for His people what He would have done if so many of the workers had not limited the development of the work by refusing to co-operate with laborers who should have been given standing room and encouragement. In self-sufficiency, men have ignored and pushed aside those to whom God had given a work. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 10

Prudence is necessary and must be exercised. Discretion is necessary and must be shown. Let those in responsible positions wisely improve their gifts. But let them not feel, because their work is important, that they are the whole body. No one is to disparage another’s gifts. No one is to suppose that he is the only one who can bring truth from the treasure house of God. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 11

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. ... He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:4-8, 11-13.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 12

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Love to God and Man

On one occasion Christ was surrounded by a large number of people. In the crowd were Pharisees and Sadducees, priests and lawyers, there in the hope of asking some question which Jesus would answer in a way that would enable them to report Him to the Jewish authorities. At their suggestion, a lawyer asked Christ the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 13

As an open book Christ read the hearts of the plotters, and looking at the lawyer, he asked, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” And the lawyer answered, “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 neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” The lawyer knew that he had not obeyed these precepts, and desiring to justify himself, he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” [Verses 26-29.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 14

In reply Christ related an incident with which many of those present were familiar. “A certain man,” He said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” [Verses 30-35.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 15

The people had become intensely interested in the narrative, and when at its close Christ asked, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves,” many joined with the lawyer in answering, “He that showed mercy on him.” Then said Jesus, “Go, and do thou likewise.” [Verses 36, 37.] 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 16

These words outline true missionary work, and in this work God’s people are all to take part. No one is excused for neglecting the duty he owes to his fellow men. In doing this work we fulfil the law of God. God has pledged Himself to bless those who fulfil His command to love Him supremely and their neighbor as themselves. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 17

Who today are wide-awake to their duty and privilege? To obey the law of God means to be quick to see the necessities of our fellow beings, and quick to help them, without inquiring, Do they believe the same doctrines that we believe? Toobey God’s law means to act as God’s helping hand in relieving the necessities of suffering humanity, whatever may be the religious belief of those in need. Those who do this work are living the gospel. 17LtMs, Ms 31, 1902, par. 18