Welfare Ministry


Chapter 33—The Call for a Balanced Work

Maintain Proper Perspective—As the work advances, dangers arise that need to be guarded against. As new enterprises are entered upon, there is a tendency to make some one line all absorbing; that which should have the first place becomes a secondary consideration. The church needs fresh power and vitality, but there is great danger of taking on new lines of work that will waste their energies instead of bringing life into the church.—The Daily Bulletin of the General Conference, March 2, 1899. WM 256.1

Work for the Outcasts Not the Burden of Our Work—Of late [1899] a great interest has been aroused for the poor and outcast classes; a great work has been entered upon for the uplifting of the fallen and degraded. This in itself is a good work. We should ever have the Spirit of Christ, and we are to do the same class of work that He did for suffering humanity. The Lord has a work to be done for the outcasts. There is no question but that it is the duty of some to labor among them and try to save the souls that are perishing. This will have its place in connection with the proclamation of the third angel's message and the reception of Bible truth. But there is a danger of loading down everyone with this class of work, because of the intensity with which it is carried on. There is danger of leading men to center their energies in this line, when God has called them to another work. WM 256.2

The great question of our duty to humanity is a serious one, and much of the grace of God is needed in deciding how to work so as to accomplish the greatest amount of good. Not all are called to begin their work by laboring among the lowest classes. God does not require His workmen to obtain their education and training in order to devote themselves exclusively to these classes. The working of God is manifested in a way which will establish confidence that the work is of His devising, and that sound principles underlie every action. But I have had instruction from God that there is danger of planning for the outcasts in a way which will lead to spasmodic and excitable movements. These will produce no really beneficial results. A class will be encouraged to do a kind of work which will amount to the least in strengthening all parts of the work by harmonious action. WM 256.3

The gospel invitation is to be given to the rich and the poor, the high and the low, and we must devise means for carrying the truth into new places and to all classes of people. The Lord bids us, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” He says, “Begin in the highways; thoroughly work the highways; prepare a company who in unity with you can go forth to do the very work that Christ did in seeking and saving the lost.” WM 257.1

Christ preached the gospel to the poor, but He did not confine His labors to this class. He worked for all who would hear His word—not only the publican and the outcasts, but the rich and cultivated Pharisee, the Jewish nobleman, the centurion, and the Roman ruler. This is the kind of work I have ever seen should be done. We are not to strain every spiritual sinew and nerve to work for the lowest classes, and make that work the all in all. There are others whom we must bring to the Master, souls who need the truth, who are bearing responsibilities, and who will work with all their sanctified ability for the high places as well as for the low places. WM 257.2

The work for the poorer classes has no limit. It can never be got through with, and it must be treated as a part of the great whole. To give our first attention to this work, while there are vast portions of the Lord's vineyard open to culture and yet untouched, is to begin in the wrong place. As the right arm is to the body, so is the medical missionary work to the third angel's message. But the right arm is not to become the whole body. The work of seeking the outcasts is important, but it is not to become the great burden of our mission.—Manuscript 3, 1899. WM 258.1

Not Called Upon to Erect Homes for Abandoned Women or Babies—I must speak plainly in regard to some things which must be guarded. We should not enter into the work of maintaining homes for abandoned women or for infants. This responsibility might better be borne by families, who should care for those who need help in these lines.—Letter 11, 1900. WM 258.2

The Lord does not give us direction to erect buildings for the care of babies, although this is a good work, but it is not the work for the present time. Let the world do all it will in this line. Our time and means must be invested in a different line of work. We are to carry the last message of mercy in the very best way to reach those in the churches who are hungering and praying for light.—Letter 232, 1899. WM 258.3

Turn to Fields Ready to Harvest—This work is being made the all-absorbing work, but this is not in God's order. It is a never-ending work, and if it is carried on as it has been in the past, all the power of God's people will be required to counterbalance it, and the work of preparing a people to stand amid the perils of the last days will never be done. WM 258.4

Our work is to put on the armor and make aggressive warfare. Laborers are not to be encouraged to work in the slums and filth of the cities, where they will only secure converts who need watching, and that continually. There are fields all ripe for harvest, and all the time and money is not to be devoted to gathering in those who through indulgence of appetite have trained themselves in pollution. Some of these may be saved. And there are those who can labor in the lowest places of the earth without becoming deteriorated in character. But it is not safe to give young men and young women this class of work to do. The experiment would be a dear one. Thus those who could work in the highways would be disqualified for work of any kind.... WM 259.1

Men's feelings may become deeply moved as they see human beings suffering as the result of their own course of action. There are those who are specially impressed to come into direct contact with this class, and the Lord gives them a commission to work in the worst places of the earth, doing what they can to redeem outcasts and place them where they will be under the care of the church. But the Lord has not called Seventh-day Adventists to make this work a specialty. He would not have them in this work engross many workers or exhaust the treasury.—Manuscript 16, 1900. WM 259.2

Support From the World Not From Churches—Constant work is to be done for the outcasts, but this work is not to be made all-absorbing.... No one should now visit our churches and in the present pressure obtain from them means to sustain the work of rescuing outcasts. The means to sustain that work should come, and will come, largely from those not of our faith. Let the churches take up their appointed work of presenting truth from the oracles of God in the highways.—Letter 138, 1898. WM 259.3

The Lord does not lay upon His people all the burden of laboring for a class so hardened by sin that many of them will neither be benefited themselves nor benefit others. If there are men who can take up the work for the most degraded, if God lays upon them a burden to labor for the masses in various ways, let these go forth and gather from the world the means required for doing this work. Let them not depend on the means which God intends shall sustain the work of the third angel's message.—Testimonies for the Church 6:246. WM 260.1

Nations Waiting for the Light—To those who suppose that the Lord has given them the work of caring for the promiscuous mass of outcasts, who have ruined themselves, many of whom will continue to do as they have done in the past, at the same time subsisting on means given them by Seventh-day Adventists, the Lord says, Who gave you this work? There are peoples and nations yet to receive the light of truth for this time. The gospel message is to be exalted and is to become far reaching. WM 260.2

In every place where the message is proclaimed, missionary workers are to go forth with their Bibles in their hands. Souls are to be converted and established in the truth. A meetinghouse is to be built. Light is to shine forth from the believers, who are to be as a city set on a hill. The church is to be in that place a witness to what the truth can do.—Letter 41, 1900. WM 260.3