Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 16, 1902

The Payment of Workers


February 11, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in MM 275. +Note

The Lord will greatly bless those who are so intensely interested in the advancement of His cause that they are willing to go into unpromising, unworked places to labor for the salvation of souls. No one can do the work Brother Shireman has done without meeting and overcoming many difficulties. He has entered needy, unpromising places and has done a noble work to advance the truth. His efforts have been in accordance with the will of the Lord. And God has honored his faith by giving him success. At the beginning his work was small, but the Lord was with him as he advanced—working, praying, believing, receiving, and imparting. The efforts of those who united with Brother Shireman and his wife were a great encouragement to them. The blessing of the Lord has attended these efforts. The workers have made friends, and souls have been converted. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 1

The Lord does not measure the value of service as man measures it. Man’s spiritual eyesight has been dimmed, so that a true estimate has not been placed on the efforts that have been made for the Lord. Men’s work has been estimated by the number of sermons preached, and this has decided in regard to the remuneration they have received. To treat Brother Shireman in this way would be discouraging to him and to those who might engage in similar work. Brother Shireman has been in continuous service, though this may not appear on the reports he has sent in to the Conference. His remuneration should not be measured by the number of sermons he has preached. He should receive pay for the time spent in erecting buildings to be used in the Lord’s work. All who are spiritually wide-awake know that when Brother Shireman was erecting his school, he was as surely doing the work of the Lord as any minister. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 2

The laborer is worthy of his hire. Brother Shireman has shown what can be done in places apparently the most unpromising. He is a man that does not shirk responsibilities. He realizes the value of souls. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 3

Let those who have to do with the payment of the workers compare the results of Brother Shireman’s work with the results of the work of some ministers who have received full wages. The wages paid should be in accordance with the work done. Many receive wages to which they have no right unless they press into new fields and plant the standard of truth in new territory. There are those paid for full time who do not enter into aggressive warfare. They do not present the truth to those who have never heard it. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 4

There are workers who are so conscientious that their interests must be guarded by their brethren, else they will cheat themselves. They will do without things that they really need. These faithful, unselfish workers are to be looked after by their fellow workers, else injustice will be done to them. Into all business transactions we are to bring the love and benevolence so plainly pointed out in the Word of God. The Lord requires us to deal with justice and mercy. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 5

There is a great work to be done, and those who have a burden for souls will be found in new places, hunting and fishing for men. If these workers are encouraged, the Lord’s cause will advance in every line. Many more should work as Brother Shireman has been working. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 6

What does it mean to be a minister? Does it mean merely to give discourses from the desk? No; no. Sermonizing is not the highest service. To work in the spirit of the gospel does not mean merely to preach the gospel; it means to live the gospel. God asks, What does the worker do for the good of those for whom he labors? Under his efforts do they increase in spirituality? God sends men forth to labor, not merely to preach, but to minister, to hunt for the lost sheep, to devise ways of bringing sinners back to Christ. As the result of unselfish, diligent labor, lost, perishing souls will be saved. When ministers show that they are true shepherds, when they watch for souls as they that must give an account, the Word of the Lord will be with power, and His name will be glorified. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 7

God measures men by the law which is a transcript of His character. This law points out God’s justice and benevolence—the attributes which are to be sacredly cherished by those in His service. In the great day of God, this law will try every soul. Many now low in man’s estimation will then be seen to stand high in the estimation of God. Then those who have worked with integrity and diligence will be justly rewarded. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 8

In this life, those who work for God are to receive remuneration for their labor; and those who decide what each worker shall receive are to be very careful to meet the mind of God in their decisions. Scrupulous care should be taken in settling the accounts of the laborers. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 9

Satan works in every way to pervert the principles of those who are laboring in God’s cause. He comes to them as he came to Adam and Eve, presenting falsehood as truth. He sends messages purporting to be from the Lord. He knows that he can greatly hinder the Lord’s work if he can lead the people to look to a man in responsible position as an example. Let God’s people remember that men in positions of trust are only human. Position does not make the man. Those upon whom the Lord has bestowed honor by entrusting them with responsibilities in connection with His work are never to give place to self-exaltation. They are to lose sight of self, looking ever to Christ. They are to be tender, true, and faithful, watching for souls as they that must give an account. The truth is honored by those who represent it in the beauty of holiness. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 10

Let the one to whom God gives success in his work keep on the garments of humility and contrition, if he desires to remain of value in the sight of heaven. Whether he be a successful evangelist, a gifted teacher, a clear writer, a man of faith, or a man of prayer, let him never place human merit where God should be. Only those who are cleansed from all self-exaltation can become complete in Christ. While the workers keep their eyes fixed on Christ, they are safe. When they lose sight of him, they are in the greatest danger. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 11


God’s people are to learn the meaning of temperance in all things. They are to practice temperance in eating and drinking and dressing. All self-indulgence is to be cut away from their lives. Before they can really understand the meaning of true sanctification and of conformity to the will of Christ, they must, by co-operating with God, obtain the mastery over wrong habits and practices. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 12


“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against the false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” [Malachi 3:1-6.] 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 13

“Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” [Verses 13-15.] Worldly policy and worldly dealing have been brought into the church. There has been an unholy trafficking in sacred things. This the Lord hates. Selfishness and covetousness have led men to make merchandise of souls bought with the precious blood of Christ. By the adoption of worldly principles, the church has sold herself to the world. Ungodliness has triumphed. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 14

Our work is to present to the world the high and holy principles that all must cherish who are accepted as God’s subjects. The church is not to be converted to worldly policy. It is to hold up before the world the uplifting, sanctifying principles of the truth of God. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 15

Our work is to fulfil the commission that Christ gave to His disciples just before His ascension: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” [Mark 16:19, 20.] 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 16

The proclamation of the third angel’s message is our work. We are to present the truth in regard to the Sabbath of the Lord. God’s sanctified memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false Sabbath, bearing no sanctity, stands before the world. Satan has led men to declare that this is the true Sabbath, and in the belief of this delusion millions are passing into eternity. And the people to whom God has given His great truth are burying their talents in the earth, hiding their light under a bushel. They are allowing the cares of this world to engross the time and attention that should be given to the Lord’s work. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 17

Let us do all in our power to redeem our neglect. Clothing ourselves with Christlike zeal, let us warn men and women of their danger. Let us no longer delay to shine as lights in the world. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 18

Those who gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. Before we can possess the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, we must learn the meaning of Christlike self-denial and benevolence. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 19

If those now entering the field as laborers feel that they may relax their efforts, that self-denial and strict economy, not only of means but of time, are not essential, the work will retrograde. The workers at the present time should have the same degree of piety, energy, and perseverance that the leaders had. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 20

The work has been extended so that it now covers a large territory, and the number of believers has increased. Still there is a great deficiency, for a larger work might have been accomplished had the same missionary spirit been manifested as in the earlier days. Without this spirit the laborer will only mar and deface the cause of God. The work is really retrograding instead of advancing as God designs it should. Our present numbers and the extent of our work are not to be compared with what they were in the beginning. We should consider what might have been done had every worker consecrated himself in soul, body, and spirit to God as he should have done. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 21

There should be one hundred laborers in the field where now there is one. Much more could be done to advance the work if all would heed the lesson Christ has given in economy. After miraculously feeding the five thousand, He said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] These words will confront every one who has lavished on self the money entrusted to him by the Lord for the blessing of humanity. He who regards his brother as beneath his notice because he is poor, and who uses the Lord’s goods to gratify his selfish desires, is robbing God and ruining his own soul. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 22

After the multitude had been fed, there was an abundance of food left. And He who had all the resources of infinite power at His command, whose power is limitless, whose bounty cannot be measured, gave thought to the broken fragments, the remains of the feast. “Gather up the fragments that remain,” He said, “that nothing be lost.” [Verse 12.] The fragments were as great an evidence of His power as was the food that had satisfied the hunger of the multitude. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 23

The lesson taught in this command is to guide us in our labor. Economy is to be brought into all lines of the work of God. We should neglect nothing, waste nothing, that will tend to benefit a human being. Let everything be gathered up that will relieve the necessity of earth’s hungry ones. And there should be the same zealous carefulness in our appreciation of spiritual things. Let nothing be lost. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 24

The Lord has put into the hands of men an abundance of means for the carrying forward of His work. His gifts are to be used wisely. There is to be no extravagance. Nothing is to be wasted. How can any one spend the Lord’s money wastefully when thousands of his fellow beings are dying from hunger of spiritual food as well as temporal food. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 25

The gospel is to be proclaimed to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and peoples. It is the power of God unto salvation to those only who receive Christ as a personal Saviour. Men and women are to be encouraged to consecrate themselves to the Lord’s work, to use their gifts for the upbuilding of His kingdom. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 26

The money that is worse than thrown away would carry the Word of God to all parts of the world. Those who gather to themselves all the money they can obtain are robbing God of the means which He designs should be used in establishing sanitariums, schools, orphan asylums, and homes for the aged and dependent. What a terrible account they will have to settle with God! He gave them their money to use in feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, in helping the widow and the fatherless. O that the rich men of our world would see the good they might do with their wealth if they would devote it to the uplifting of their fellow beings! 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 27

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21.] 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 28


The Lord has an advance work for His people to do. Read the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. The entire chapter contains important lessons which God requires us to study and practice. 17LtMs, Ms 16, 1902, par. 29