Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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Ms 6a, 1902

Ministerial Work

NP

[February 1902?]

This manuscript is published in entirety in AUCR 07/15/1902.

In all lines of ministerial work there is need of greater earnestness. Time is passing, and work that should be far advanced is almost at a standstill. Ministers are not to spend their time hovering over the churches, laboring for those who have already accepted the truth. They are to go forth to proclaim the message to those who have not heard it. They must sow the seeds of truth in fields that have not yet been sown. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 1

Work is to be done in various ways. Humble men, willing to make sacrifices, to work as Christ worked, are needed. Church members are to be taught to work in the Lord’s home vineyard. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 2

It is not enough to live merely a quiet, prayerful life. Meditation alone will not answer the need of the world. We are not to be mere subjectives of religion. Vigilant waiting is to be combined with vigilant working. We are to be living, wide-awake, energetic, fervent Christians, filled with zeal to give to others the blessings of the truth. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 3

God’s servants are to be “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] The lamp of the soul is to be kept trimmed and burning. People need the truth, and by earnest, faithful effort it is to be communicated to them. Everything that can be done to save sinners should be done without delay. Souls are to be sought for, prayed for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Our tame, spiritless petitions need to be changed to petitions of intense earnestness. God’s Word declares, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” [James 5:16.] 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 4

Wake up, my brethren, into spiritual activity. Daily reveal a determined purpose to be good and to do good. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 5

Young ministers should not be encouraged to preach to the churches. This is not their work. They are to go forth without the camp, taking up the work in places where the truth has not yet been proclaimed. Let them go in the humility and meekness of Christ, obtaining strength from the Source of all strength. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 6

To every young man who desires to enter the ministry, Paul’s words to Timothy are spoken: “Take heed to thyself and to the doctrine.” [1 Timothy 4:16.] Thyself needs the first attention. First give yourself to the Lord for sanctification to His service. A godly example will tell more for the truth than the greatest eloquence unaccompanied by a well-ordered life. Trim the lamp of the soul, and replenish it with the oil of the Spirit. Seek from Christ that grace, that clearness of comprehension, which will enable you to do successful work. Learn from Him what it means to labor for those for whom He gave His life. The most talented worker can do little unless Christ is formed within, the hope and strength of the life. The tree itself must be good in order to produce good fruit. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 7

Let the young men and young women who are preparing for service read and study the third chapter of Colossians, and the first chapter of Second Peter, and also the following Scriptures: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:12-16. “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in all things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” Hebrews 2:17, 18. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 8

Young men, deal faithfully with your own souls. Seek the Lord most earnestly for grace and strength. Study the words of the Saviour: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hateth them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14. Worldly ambition, worldly plans, worldly principles are not to be brought into the life of the Christian. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 9

Christ said, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” John 17:19. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:15. “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” John 17:17. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” John 17:20. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 10

Will you not remember that this prayer includes you? Will you not strive to answer it? Will you not give yourselves to the Lord? Willingness of heart and earnestness of purpose to carry out the principles of holiness will place you in such a relation to God that you will give full proof of your ministry. You will see the fruit of your labor. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 11

The heart must be brought into conformity to the will of God. As is the health of the heart, so is the religious experience and the fruit seen in the life. Unless the heart is cleansed from all defilement, evil will appear in the life. No one can in truth fulfil the requirements of God’s law unless this law is written on his heart. He only who makes righteousness a part of his life is prepared rightly to estimate the truth. The truth is no truth to the one who merely makes a profession, who is not sanctified by its power, upon whose heart its image is not stamped. Such an one keeps the truth in the outer court. His love for Christ is superficial, exercising little controlling power over his reason. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 12

When young and old give careful, prayerful thought to the preparation required in order to do true service for God, a decides reformation will be seen. In the place of drinking in iniquity, the heart will be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ. The whole being will be enlisted in God’s service. The affections will be set on things above. We shall respond heartily to the words of life, “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.” Luke 10:27. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 13

The Reward of Earnest Endeavor

Every worker, while preserving his individuality, is to labor in harmony with every other worker. Each is to be united with his fellow workers in bonds of Christian fellowship, and all are to be united with the Lord. The aim of every one is to be the advancement of the cause of truth. Each is to seek earnestly for the impartation of the Holy Spirit. Each is to look to Jesus, believing that he will receive the blessings he needs in order to be a help and strength to the whole work. Each may receive light from the Source of light. “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” [Psalm 27:14.] 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 14

All are to do their best, according to their several ability. All are to keep looking to their Leader, studying the lessons He has given in His guidance of His people from the beginning. The experience of Abraham, of Moses, of Daniel contains lessons of great value to us at this time. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 15

These whom God chooses as His workers are not always talented, in the estimation of the world. Sometimes He selects unlearned men. These have a special work. They reach a class to whom no one else could obtain access. Opening the heart to the truth, they are made wise in and through Christ. Their lives inhale and exhale the fragrance of godliness. Their words are thoughtfully considered before they are spoken. In every act they follow the example of their Leader. They strive to promote the well-being of their fellow men. They take relief and happiness to the needy and distressed. They realize the necessity of ever remaining under Christ’s training, that they may work in harmony with God’s will. They study how they can best follow the Saviour’s example of cross-bearing and self-denial. They are God’s witnesses, revealing His compassion and love and ascribing all the glory to Him whom they love and serve. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 16

Constantly they are learning of the Great Teacher, and constantly they reach higher degrees of perfection, yet all the time feeling a sense of their weakness and insufficiency. They are drawn upward by the strong, loving admiration they have for Christ. They practice His virtues; for their lives are assimilated to His. Ever they move onward and upward, a blessing to the world and an honor to their Redeemer. Christ says of them, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.” [Matthew 5:5.] 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 17

Such workers are to be encouraged. Their work is done, not to be seen of men, but to glorify God. And it will bear His inspection. The Lord brings these workers into connection with those of more marked ability, to fill up the gaps they leave. He is well pleased when they are appreciated; for they are links in His chain of service. And it is God’s desire that every human instrumentality engaged in work for Him shall be recognized, however small may be the work he does. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 18

Men who are self-important, who are filled with the thought of their own superior abilities, overlook these humble, contrite workers; but not for one moment does God lose sight of them. He marks all that they do to help those in need of help. In the heavenly courts, when the redeemed are gathered home, they will stand nearest the Son of God. They will shine brightly in the courts of the Lord, honored by Him because they have felt it an honor to minister to those for whom Christ gave His life. They will be rewarded with the same commendation as those who, from outward appearances, exerted a wider influence. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 19

*****

“We are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Lay hold of His work with clean hands, a pure heart, and holy, consecrated endeavor. Press forward to gain the triumphs of the cross. Are you not striving for a crown of immortality, for a life that measures with the life of God? Oh, put your whole heart into the work! Let nothing cause your zeal to flag. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 20

Let us press forward unitedly to the help of the Lord, all of one heart and of one mind. Let us not depend on human wisdom. Let us not lean on man. Look beyond human beings to the One appointed by God to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows and supply our necessities. Taking God at His word, move forward with steadfast, unfaltering faith. Christ’s presence and His word, “Lo, I am with you alway”—this is our wisdom and righteousness. [Matthew 28:20.] It is the living Presence that makes the living Word. The kingdom comes to us, not in word only, but in power. It is unwavering faith in Christ’s presence that gives power. 17LtMs, Ms 6a, 1902, par. 21