Welfare Ministry


Chapter 31—Working for Outcasts

The Gospel Invitation to All Classes—Christ illustrated the spiritual blessings of the gospel by a temporal feast, the invitation to the supper. He set forth the wonderful condescension of God in the earnest invitation of the master of the feast to all who would come. The special call of the gospel to be given near the close of earth's history is also presented. WM 245.1

The invitation was to go first to the highways, bidding all come to the marriage supper of the Lamb. That message to the people so highly favored was rejected. WM 245.2

The next call was made to the poorer class—the poor, the halt, the maimed, the blind. These were not exalted by ambitious projects. If they would accept the invitation, they might come. This message was given, and the servants brought the report, “Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.” WM 245.3

Then the Master said to His workers, “Go and seek in the byways, for the most degraded and the helpless, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.”—Manuscript 81, 1899. WM 245.4

“Compel them to come in,” Christ bids us.... In obedience to this word we must go to the heathen who are near us and to those who are afar off. The “publicans and harlots” must hear the Saviour's invitation. Through the kindness and long-suffering of His messengers the invitation becomes a compelling power to uplift those who are sunken in the lowest depths of sin.—The Ministry of Healing, 164. WM 245.5

Christ Longs to Reshape the Character—However low, however fallen, however dishonored and debased others may be, we are not to despise them and pass them by with indifference; but we should consider the fact that Christ has died for them....Christ longs to reshape the marred human character, to restore the moral image of God in men.—The Review and Herald, October 15, 1895. WM 246.1

He Regards Them as Precious—Every soul is the object of the loving interest of Him who gave His life that He might bring men back to God. This earnest, persevering interest expressed by our heavenly Father teaches us that the helpless and outcast are not to be passed by indifferently. They are the Lord's by creation and by redemption. If we were left to ourselves to judge, we would regard many who are degraded as hopeless. But the Lord sees the value of the silver in them. Though they do not look for help, He regards them as precious. The one who sees beneath the surface knows how to deal with human minds. He knows how to bring men to repentance. He knows that if they see themselves as sinners, they will repent and be converted to the truth. This is the work we are to engage in.—Letter 80, 1898. WM 246.2

Not to Ask—“Are They Worthy?”—To the appeal of the erring, the tempted, the wretched victims of want and sin, the Christian does not ask, Are they worthy? but, How can I benefit them? In the most wretched, the most debased, he sees souls whom Christ died to save, and for whom God has given to His children the ministry of reconciliation.—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 22. WM 246.3

Discovered by Medical Missionary Work—I have been instructed that the medical missionary work will discover, in the very depths of degradation, men who, though they have given themselves up to intemperate, dissolute habits, will respond to the right kind of labor. But they need to be recognized and encouraged. Firm, patient, earnest effort will be required in order to lift them up. They cannot restore themselves. They may hear Christ's call, but their ears are too dull to take in its meaning; their eyes are too blind to see anything good in store for them. They are dead in trespasses and sins. Yet even these are not to be excluded from the gospel feast. They are to receive the invitation: “Come.” Though they may feel unworthy, the Lord says: “Compel them to come in.” Listen to no excuse. By love and kindness lay right hold of them.... This work, properly conducted, will save many a poor sinner who has been neglected by the churches.—Testimonies for the Church 6:279, 280. WM 247.1

In this work of restoration much painstaking effort will be required. No startling communications of strange doctrines should be made to these souls, but as they are helped physically the truth for this time should be presented. Men and women and youth need to see the law of God with its far-reaching requirements. It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity; it is sin, the transgression of God's law. The efforts put forth to rescue the outcast and degraded will be of no avail unless the claims of the law of God and the need of loyalty to Him are impressed on mind and heart. God has enjoined nothing that is not necessary to bind up humanity with Him. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.... The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” “By the word of Thy lips,” says the psalmist, “I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” Psalm 19:7, 8; 17:4. WM 247.2

Angels are helping in this work to restore the fallen and bring them back to the One who has given His life to redeem them, and the Holy Spirit is cooperating with the ministry of human agencies to arouse the moral powers by working on the heart, reproving of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.—Testimonies for the Church 6:259, 260. WM 248.1

Working for the Intemperate[Further details and counsel on this topic will be found in The Ministry of Healing, 171-182, and a more recent exhaustive compilation entitled Temperance.]—Earnest effort should be made in behalf of those who are in bondage to evil habits. There is everywhere a work to be done for those who through intemperance have fallen. In the midst of churches, religious institutions, and professedly Christian homes, many of the youth are choosing the path to destruction. Through intemperate habits they bring upon themselves disease, and through greed to obtain money for sinful indulgence they fall into dishonest practices. Health and character are ruined. Aliens from God, outcasts from society, these poor souls feel that they are without hope either for this life or for the life to come. The hearts of the parents are broken. Men speak of these erring ones as hopeless, but not so does God regard them. He understands all the circumstances that have made them what they are, and he looks upon them with pity. This is a class that demand help. Never give them occasion to say, “no man cares for my soul.” WM 248.2

Among the victims of intemperance are men of all classes and all professions. Men of high station, of eminent talents, of great attainments, have yielded to the indulgence of appetite, until they are helpless to resist temptation. Some of them who were once in the possession of wealth are without home, without friends, in suffering, misery, disease, and degradation. They have lost their self-control. Unless a helping hand is held out to them they will sink lower and lower.—The Ministry of Healing, 171, 172. WM 249.1

A Battle Fought Again and Again—No random, haphazard, desultory work is to be done. To get fast hold of souls ready to perish means more than praying for a drunkard and then, because he weeps and confesses the pollution of his soul, declaring him saved. Over and over again the battle must be fought.—Testimonies for the Church 8:196. WM 249.2

You must hold fast to those whom you are trying to help, else victory will never be yours. They will be continually tempted to evil. Again and again they will be almost overcome by the craving for strong drink; again and again they may fall; but do not, because of this, cease your efforts.—The Ministry of Healing, 173. WM 249.3

The Work Not in Vain—When some, their human efforts united with the divine, endeavor to reach to the very depths of human woe and misery, God's blessing will rest richly upon them. Even though but few accept the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, their work will not be in vain; for one soul is precious, very precious, in the sight of God. Christ would have died for one soul in order that that one might live through the eternal ages.... WM 249.4

Many souls are being rescued, wrenched from Satan's hand, by faithful workers. Someone must have a burden of soul to find those who have been lost to Christ. The rescue of one soul over whom Satan has triumphed causes joy among the heavenly angels. There are those who have destroyed in themselves the moral image of God. The gospel net must gather in these poor outcasts. Angels of God will cooperate with those who are engaged in this work, who make every effort to save perishing souls, to give them opportunities which many have never had. There is no other way of reaching them but in Christ's way. He ever worked to relieve suffering and teach righteousness. Only thus can sinners be raised from the depths of degradation.—Testimonies for the Church 8:72, 73. WM 249.5

To Labor in Love—The workers must labor in love, feeding, cleansing, and clothing those who need their help. In this way these outcasts are prepared to know that someone cares for their souls. The Lord has shown me that many of these poor outcasts from society will, through the ministration of human agencies, cooperate with divine power and seek to restore the moral image of God in others for whom Christ has paid the price of His own blood. They will be called the elect of God, precious, and will stand next to the throne of God.... WM 250.1

The Lord is working to reach the most depraved. Many will know what it means to be drawn to Christ, but will not have moral courage to war against appetite and passion. But the workers must not be discouraged at this; for it is written: “In the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. Is it only those rescued from the lowest depths that backslide? There are those in the ministry who have had light and a knowledge of the truth who will not be overcomers. They do not restrict their appetites and passions or deny themselves for Christ's sake. Many poor outcasts, even publicans and sinners, will grasp the hope set before them in the gospel, and will go into the kingdom of heaven before the ones who have had great opportunities and great light, but who have walked in darkness....My brethren and sisters, take your position on the Lord's side, and be earnest, active, courageous co-workers with Christ, laboring with Him to seek and save the lost.—Testimonies for the Church 5:74, 75. WM 250.2

Not to Follow Salvation Army Methods—The Lord has marked out our way of working. As a people we are not to imitate and fall in with Salvation Army methods. This is not the work that the Lord has given us to do. Neither is it our work to condemn them and speak harsh words against them. There are precious, self-sacrificing souls in the Salvation Army. We are to treat them kindly. There are in the Army honest souls, who are sincerely serving the Lord, and who will see greater light, advancing to the acceptance of all truth. The Salvation Army workers are trying to save the neglected, downtrodden ones. Discourage them not. Let them do that class of work by their own methods and in their own way. But the Lord has plainly pointed out the work that Seventh-day Adventists are to do.—Testimonies for the Church 8:184, 185. WM 251.1

Helping the Outcasts Find a New Career—As God's children devote themselves to this work [restoring the fallen], many will lay hold of the hand stretched out to save them. They are constrained to turn from their evil ways. Some of the rescued ones may, through faith in Christ, rise to high places of service, and be entrusted with responsibilities in the work of saving souls. They know by experience the necessities of those for whom they labor, and they know how to help them. They know what means can best be used to recover the perishing. They are filled with gratitude to God for the blessings they have received. Their hearts are quickened by love, and their energies are strengthened to lift up others who can never rise without help. Taking the Bible as their guide and the Holy Spirit as their helper and comforter, they find a new career opening before them. Every one of these souls that is added to the force of workers, provided with facilities and instruction as to how to save souls for Christ, becomes a colaborer with those who brought him the light of truth. Thus God is honored and His truth advanced.—Testimonies for the Church 6:260. WM 251.2