Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 15, 1902

The Need of Self-Denial


February 10, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +Note

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 1

Precious souls are perishing out of Christ. God’s servants are to move forward in the work of soul-saving, weighted with the importance of the message they are giving to the world. There are many who would step into the ranks of service if they could be sustained. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 2

There are among us ministers who do not receive a sufficient compensation for their labor properly to support their families. There are ministers who are working for five or six dollars a week. At the same time, there are men who refuse to work in our institutions for three or four times that amount. Our institutions are better without those who show no spirit of self-sacrifice; for they have not the mind of Christ. If these men are not converted, they will be a dead weight to the institutions with which they are connected. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 3

What has God done for the world? “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 4

Not from men, but from God are we to learn the deep meaning of these wonderful words. The lifting up of the serpent is an object lesson. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” even so was “the Son of man lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” [Verses 14, 15.] All who have ever lived upon the earth have felt the deadly sting of “that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan.” [Revelation 12:9.] The fatal effects of sin can be removed only by the provision God has made. The Israelites saved their lives by looking upon the uplifted serpent. That look implied faith. They lived because they believed God’s word and trusted in the means provided for their recovery. So the sinner may look to Christ and live. He receives pardon through faith in the atoning sacrifice. Unlike the lifeless symbol, Christ has power and virtue in Himself to heal the repenting sinner. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 5

The brazen serpent was placed where all who chose could look and see it. So Christ has been exalted on the cross, that all may look, and, in looking, live. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 6

God has made us laborers together with Him. He looks with pleasure on the work of His people when they follow His example of self-denial and sacrifice. But the poor, selfish, covetous souls that want the highest wages have little appreciation of the work to be accomplished in our world. Satan strives to fill the hearts of God’s workers with selfishness. Then the treasury of the Lord is robbed. Indulged, selfishness develops into covetousness, which is idolatry. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 7

When the work of equalizing the wages paid to our workers is taken up, there will be a decided revelation as to who is following the divine Pattern. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 8

If all saw the matter of drawing such high wages, as it has been presented to me, there would have been humiliation of soul and confession of wrongs at the Conference held last year in Battle Creek. But where were the confessions? Where were the conversions? Notwithstanding all the testimonies borne, the hearts of many remained as hard as steel. Unless these fall on the Rock and are broken, the Rock will fall on them and will grind them to powder. In the great day of God, the hindrance that their selfishness has been to the advancement of the Lord’s work will appear in its true bearing. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 9

My brethren in Battle Creek, there must be an evening up of the wages paid to the workers. Think of Christ’s sacrifice, and then consider what you ought to do. Appreciate the great gift of Christ’s love. Let this love change the proud, selfish heart which covets so much that it robs other men of their due. 17LtMs, Ms 15, 1902, par. 10