Welfare Ministry


Chapter 14—In the Footsteps of the Master

Christ's Pattern of Medical Ministry—For three years the disciples had before them the wonderful example of Christ. Day by day they walked and talked with Him, hearing His words of cheer to the weary and heavy laden and seeing the manifestations of His power in behalf of the sick and afflicted. When the time came for Him to leave them, He gave them power to work as He had worked. He bestowed on them His grace, saying, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” They were to go forth into the world to shed abroad the light of His gospel of love and healing. The work He had done they were to do. WM 117.1

And this is the work we also are to do in the world. In sympathy and compassion we are to minister to those in need of help, seeking with unselfish earnestness to lighten the woe of suffering humanity. As we engage in this work we shall be greatly blessed. Its influence is irresistible. By it souls are won to the Redeemer. The practical carrying out of the Saviour's commission demonstrates the power of the gospel. This work calls for laborious effort, but it pays; for by it perishing souls are saved. Through its influence men and women of talent are to be brought to the cross of Christ. WM 117.2

Man has a body as well as a soul to save. Both are to be restored to health by God's simple but efficacious methods, which appeal to men and women of intelligence. Through a belief in the truth souls are awakened to a need of a preparation for life's duties. As the health of the body is restored the powers of the mind are put forth to grasp the great truths of the gospel.—Letter 152, 1901. WM 117.3

First Meet the Temporal Necessities—The suffering and destitute of all classes are our neighbors, and when their wants are brought to our knowledge it is our duty to relieve them as far as possible. A principle is brought out in this parable [of the good Samaritan] that it would be well for the followers of Christ to adopt. First meet the temporal necessities of the needy and relieve their physical wants and sufferings, and you will then find an open avenue to the heart, where you may plant the good seeds of virtue and religion.—Testimonies for the Church 4:226, 227. WM 118.1

A World to Save—Remember that there is a world to save. We are to act our part, standing close by the side of Christ as his colaborers. He is the head; we are His helping hand. He designs that we, by doing medical missionary work, shall undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. Let us not close our eyes to the misery around us or our ears to the cries of distress which are continually ascending. Christ is the greatest missionary the world has ever known. He came to uplift and cheer the sorrowing and distressed, and in this work we are to cooperate with him.—Manuscript 31, 1901. WM 118.2

Find Christ's Footprints in the Hovels of Poverty—Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps.—The Desire of Ages, 640. WM 118.3

The Gospel of Relief From Suffering—Medical missionary work brings to humanity the gospel of release from suffering. It is the pioneer work of the gospel. It is the gospel practiced, the compassion of Christ revealed. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it. God grant that the importance of medical missionary work shall be understood and that new fields may be immediately entered.—Manuscript 55, 1901. WM 119.1

Begin in Your Own Neighborhood—Before the true reformer, the medical missionary work will open many doors. No one need wait until called to some distant field before beginning to help others. Wherever you are, you can begin at once. Opportunities are within the reach of everyone. Take up the work for which you are held responsible, the work that should be done in your home and in your neighborhood. Wait not for others to urge you to action. In the fear of God go forward without delay, bearing in mind your individual responsibility to Him who gave His life for you. Act as if you heard Christ calling upon you personally to do your utmost in His service. Look not to see who else is ready. If you are truly consecrated, God will, through your instrumentality, bring into the truth others whom He can use as channels to convey light to many that are groping in darkness. WM 119.2

All can do something. In an effort to excuse themselves, some say: “My home duties, my children, claim my time and my means.” Parents, your children should be your helping hand, increasing your power and ability to work for the Master. Children are the younger members of the Lord's family. They should be led to consecrate themselves to God, whose they are by creation and by redemption. They should be taught that all their powers of body, mind, and soul are His. They should be trained to help in various lines of unselfish service.—Testimonies for the Church 7:62, 63. WM 120.1

Everyone to Do His Best—The Lord desires every worker to do his best. Those who have not had special training in one of our medical institutions may think that they can do very little; but, my dear fellow workers, remember that in the parable of the talents Christ did not represent all the servants as receiving the same number. To one servant was given five talents; to another, two; and to still another, one. If you have but one talent, use it wisely, increasing it by putting it out to the exchangers. Some cannot do as much as others, but everyone is to do all he can to roll back the wave of disease and distress that is sweeping over our world. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. God desires every one of His children to have intelligence and knowledge, so that with unmistakable clearness and power His glory shall be revealed in our world.—The Review and Herald, June 9, 1904. WM 120.2

Laborers Together With God—A grand side of the work of God is revealed by the words “medical missionary.” To be a medical missionary means to be a laborer together with God. Medical missionary work, a work that is to be a great help and strength to the cause, is to be carried forward in all carefulness and wisdom. Into this work not one thread is to be drawn that will spoil the beautiful pattern that God designs shall be worked out.—Manuscript 139, 1902. WM 120.3

Proclaiming the Truth to the Sick and the Well—The gospel ministry is an organization for the proclamation of the truth to the sick and to the well. It combines the medical missionary work and the ministry of the Word. By these combined agencies opportunities are given to communicate light and to present the gospel to all classes and all grades of society. God wants the ministers and the church members to take a decided, active interest in the medical missionary work. WM 121.1

To take people right where they are, whatever their position or condition, and help them in every way possible—this is gospel ministry. Those who are diseased in body are nearly always diseased in mind, and when the soul is sick the body also is affected.—Testimonies for the Church 6:300, 301. WM 121.2

The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah contains present truth for the people of God. Here we see how medical missionary work and the gospel ministry are to be bound together as the message is given to the world. Upon those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord is laid the responsibility of doing a work of mercy and benevolence. Medical missionary work is to be bound up with the message, and sealed with the seal of God.—Manuscript 22, 1901. WM 121.3

North, South, East, and West—Why has it not been understood from the Word of God that the work being done in medical missionary lines is a fulfillment of the scripture, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be full.” WM 121.4

This is a work that the churches in every locality, north and south and east and west, should do. The churches have been given the opportunity of answering this work. Why have they not done it? Someone must fulfill the commission. WM 122.1

A work which should have been done has been left undone. Those who have been engaged in the medical missionary work have been doing the very class of work the Lord would have done.... WM 122.2

Oh, how much, how very much remains to be done, and yet how many that might use their God-given talents aright are doing almost nothing besides caring for and pleasing themselves. But the hand of the Lord is stretched out still, and if they will work today in His vineyard, He will accept their service.—Manuscript 18, 1897. WM 122.3

Keep a Proper Balance—Medical missionary work should be carried forward by the church in well-organized efforts. It should be to the cause of God as the right hand is to the body. But the medical missionary work is not to take on undue importance. It should be done without neglecting other lines of work.—Letter 139, 1898. WM 122.4

The Work of the Right Hand—The right hand is used to open doors through which the body may find entrance. This is the part the medical missionary work is to act. It is to largely prepare the way for the reception of the truth for this time. A body without hands is useless. In giving honor to the body, honor must also be given to the helping hands, which are agencies of such importance that without them the body can do nothing. Therefore the body which treats indifferently the right hand, refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing.—Manuscript 55, 1901. WM 122.5

A Part of a Great Whole—The medical missionary work ought always to have existed in the work of reform. But it is never to become the means of separating the workers in the ministry from their work. Christ united these two branches in all his labors. The medical missionary work is part of the great whole, as the arm is part of the body. But the arm is not to say to the head, I have no need of thee. The body has need of the head decidedly, and the arms, in order to do active, aggressive work. The body is not to become the arm. Each member has its appointed work to perform.—Manuscript 105, 1899. WM 123.1

The Prayer of the Medical Missionary—Pastors and teachers are to work intelligently in their lines, instructing church members how to work in medical missionary lines. When the professed followers of Christ have an indwelling Saviour, they will be found doing as Christ did. They will have no opportunity to rust through inaction. They will have enough to do. And the work which they do under the auspices of the church will be their greatest means of communicating light. WM 123.2

The man who is working according to God's plan will pray, “Let it be known this day in my work for suffering humanity that there is a God in Israel, and that I am thy servant. Let it be seen that I am working, not according to my own impulse and wisdom, but according to thy word.” WM 123.3

When man places himself in this attitude, and realizes that he is working out God's plan, and that God is working out His plan through him, he is in possession of divine power, which knows nothing of defeat. All the power of counteragencies is of no more account than the chaff of the threshing floor.—Manuscript 115, 1899. WM 124.1

It Will Bring Life to Churches—To my ministering brethren I would say, Prosecute this work with tact and ability. Set to work the young men and the young women in our churches. Combine the medical missionary work with the proclamation of the third angel's message. Make regular, organized efforts to lift the churches out of the dead level into which they have fallen, and have remained for years. Send into the church workers who will set the principles of health reform in their connection with the third angel's message before every family and individual. Encourage all to take a part in work for their fellow men, and see if the breath of life will not quickly return to these churches.—Letter 54, 1898. WM 124.2