Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 20 (1905)


Ms 128, 1905

Our Possibilities


December 19, 1905 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 468.

Christ places before us the possibilities that are ours through the covenant of grace. He says, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted. It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] Unless the grace of Christ is in the heart, unchristlike traits of character will be revealed. Words such as sinners speak will fall from the lips. Uncourteous actions will make the profession as salt that has lost its savor—good for nothing. We are none of us Christians unless we represent Christ. When we show a selfish spirit, we dishonor Christ before the world, and our profession of godliness is only a sham. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 1

Christ continues, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Verses 14-16.] Christ had recently called fishermen from their boats, saying, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [Matthew 4:19.] He was to be their teacher. From Him they were to receive instruction that would encourage and support them in all the trials they would have to bear. Their patient forbearance under provocation would make them a surprise and a wonder to the world. He purposed to give them an education that would make them a great blessing in the world. In ages past there had been men who had been as lights in the time in which they lived. These men were called of God, as Christ had called the fishermen; and they were to those with whom they associated as salt, keeping the world from destruction by revealing the goodness, wisdom, and virtue of true piety. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 2

From Christ the disciples were to receive the word of life, and they were to go forth to proclaim this word throughout the world. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 3

Christ came to our world as the good Shepherd, to go into the wilderness to seek for the lost sheep. Here were His first disciples, called to leave their fishing boats and follow Him, to learn from Him how to become fishers of men. They could not receive a correct idea of the special work to be done by studying in the schools of the rabbis; nor could they learn there how to do this work. They must receive a fitness for this work in the school of the great Teacher, under His special supervision. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 4

Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, Christ came to this world as a man, to live among men a life free from spot or stain of sin, and thus to demonstrate that human beings may meet and resist the enemy, refusing to be led into sin. Every provision has been made for men and women to become sons and daughters of God, victorious over the power of darkness. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 5

Dealing with the Erring

I have been instructed that there should be seen throughout our conferences a far greater knowledge of how to worship God in spirit and truth and in the beauty of holiness, and a far greater knowledge of the truths contained in the Word of God. This Word contains rich treasures, which are needed by every soul. In it are given reproof and encouragement. Only by a practice of the lessons given in this Word can men and women reflect the strength and beauty of the Christian character. The strength for daily duty will be received by all who worship God in the beauty of holiness. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 6

Special injunctions are given in the Word of God regarding the necessity of each one’s humbling himself before God, placing himself where he can be cleansed from every stain of sin. God requires true, earnest heart-service. He will not accept your prayers unless you draw near to Him with full purpose of heart. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 7

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.] These words are spoken by the great Teacher, who has purchased us with His own blood. How particular each one should be to follow the directions laid down for the prevention of dissension and strife. When this is done, we shall reveal unbroken unity and a tender, Christlike love that respects and obeys the words of the One who knows the needs of the human soul and how to help us act as children of God. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 8

Christ’s Compassion

“When He saw the multitude, He was moved with compassion toward them, because, they were as sheep not having a shepherd.” “Then said He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” [Matthew 9:36-38.] Leaving His retreat, He found a convenient place where He could minister to them. They received no help from the priests and rulers; but the healing waters flowed from Christ as He taught the multitude the way of salvation. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 9

The people listened to the words of mercy flowing so freely from the lips of the Son of God. They heard the gracious words, so simple and so plain, that they were as the balm of Gilead to their souls. The healing of His divine hand brought gladness and life to the dying and ease and health to those suffering with disease. The day seemed to them like heaven upon earth, and they were utterly unconscious of how long it had been since they had eaten anything. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 10

At length the day was far spent. The sun was sinking in the west, and yet the people lingered. Jesus had labored all day without food or rest. He was pale from weariness and hunger, and the disciples besought Him to cease from His toil. But He could not withdraw Himself from the multitude that pressed upon Him. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 11

The disciples finally came to Him, urging that for their own sake the people should be sent away. Many had come from far and had eaten nothing since morning. In the surrounding towns and villages they might be able to buy food. But Jesus said, “Give ye them to eat,” and turning to Philip, questioned, “Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” [Mark 6:37; John 6:5.] This He said to test the faith of the disciples. Philip looked over the sea of heads, and thought how impossible it would be to provide food to satisfy the wants of such a crowd. He answered that two hundred pennyworth of bread would not be nearly enough to divide among them, so that each might have a little. Jesus inquired how much food could be found among the company. “There is a lad here,” said Andrew, “which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many?” [Verses 8, 9.] Jesus directed that these be brought to Him. Then He bade the disciples to seat the people on the grass in parties of fifty or a hundred, to preserve order, and that all might witness what He was about to do. When this was accomplished, Jesus took the food, “and looking up to heaven, He blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” [Matthew 14:19.] “And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.” [Mark 6:42, 43.] 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 12

He who taught the people the way to secure peace and happiness was just as thoughtful of their temporal necessities as of their spiritual need. The people were weary and faint. There were mothers with babes in their arms and little children clinging to their skirts. Many had been standing for hours. They had been so intensely interested in Christ’s words, that they had not once thought of sitting down; and the crowd was so great that there was danger of their trampling on one another. Jesus would give them a chance to rest, and He bade them sit down. There was much grass in the place, and all could rest in comfort. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 13

Today we see many just as needy, just as dependent as those who on this occasion stirred the heart of Christ. We see them on every journey that we take. Does the same compassion that stirred the heart of Christ find a home in our hearts? The sight of suffering always moved Christ to compassion, filling Him with a desire to relieve and help. It is this spirit that He wishes to see in His followers today—a quickness to see distress and a readiness to relieve it. We need to cast away our selfishness, and to draw near to God in humble faith, asking Him to show us how to minister to those who need our help. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 14

We would not censure the members of our churches, but we would encourage them to practice self-denial and to work unselfishly for those around them, knowing that every work done in truth and righteousness will receive its reward. “Learn of Me,” Christ said, “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 15

The Lord does not require of any one that which they have not to give. Cultivate a willingness to give compassion and help, and ask the Lord to cleanse you from selfishness. It may be that we have failed in being just to those associated with us in everyday life. Those who employ men or women to assist in the work of the home should give them a just wage. And they should give them also a just appreciation. Do not let them think that their faithfulness in service is not appreciated. Their work is just as essential as is the work of those who give Bible-readings, and they should receive words of appreciation. They often hunger for compassion and sympathy, and this should not be withheld from them; for they deserve it. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 16

Those who do the cooking and the other work of the home are as verily engaged in the service of God as are those engaged in Bible work. And they are in greater need of sympathy and compassion; for there is in spiritual lines of work that which keeps the spirits cheered, uplifted, and comforted. And remember, we are all servants. The one who does your housework is no less highly regarded by the Lord than the one whose work is to give Bible-readings. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 17

Then have compassion on those who do housework. Do not rob them by giving them a meager wage. In this respect injustice has been done, and restitution will need to be made. The compassion of Christ reached every case, and thus He desires it to be with us. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 18

I have a message for those who employ persons to help them in the home. Show such ones respect. Have a tender regard for their feelings and strict integrity in regard to their wages. Reveal Christlike compassion. Do justice to the one who does your housework. Pay her an honest wage, so that she may have neat, comfortable clothing and may have something with which to help the poor and needy. Do justice to those who serve you. You are to be touched with the sorrows of those whom you employ. Do not leave them without sympathy, to be tempted and discouraged. It is a great mistake to shut up your compassion to yourself. I bear witness, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, that those who employ others to help them are to reveal to these ones the compassion of Christ. Let us remember and obey the words, “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” [Matthew 7:12.] Speak to those in your service the words of comfort and compassion that you would wish them to speak to you were you in their place. There is certainly a deficiency in our piety. We do not fully meet the soul hunger of those with whom we come in contact. We do not exercise the compassion of Christ, and we fail, therefore, to place ourselves in right relation to God. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 19

These things witness against us and are a hindrance to our spirituality. Medical missionary work means much more than many realize. We need the compassion of Christ. My sisters, when you are buying your own clothing, ask yourselves, Do I pay the one who does my housework wages that enable her to clothe herself properly? Do not buy expensive clothing for yourselves, never stopping to ask whether those in your service are able to clothe themselves and pay their tithe, whether they are losing their faith and courage, or are being helped and encouraged to press on in the upward way. There are in these things real tests of character. Let us examine ourselves in the light of the law of God. 20LtMs, Ms 128, 1905, par. 20