Welfare Ministry


Chapter 25—Our Duty to the Unfortunate

Pity for the Blind, Lame, and Afflicted—Those who have pity for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the afflicted, the widows, the orphans, and the needy, Christ represents as commandment keepers, who shall have eternal life.—Testimonies for the Church 3:512. WM 209.1

Frozen Sympathies—In view of what heaven is doing to save the lost, how can those who are partakers of the riches of the grace of Christ withdraw their interest and their sympathies from their fellow men? How can they indulge in pride of rank or caste and despise the unfortunate and the poor? WM 209.2

Yet it is too true that the pride of rank and the oppression of the poor which prevail in the world, exist also among the professed followers of Christ. With many the sympathies that ought to be exercised in full measure toward humanity seem frozen up. Men appropriate to themselves the gifts entrusted to them wherewith to bless others. The rich grind the face of the poor and use the means thus gained to indulge their pride and love of display even in the house of God.... Were it not that the Lord has revealed His love to the poor and lowly who are contrite in heart, this world would be a sad place for the poor man.—The Review and Herald, June 20, 1893. WM 209.3

Make Condition of Unfortunate Brother Our Own—When a man is struggling with honest endeavor to sustain himself and his family, and yet is unable to do this, so that they suffer for necessary food and clothing, the Lord will not pronounce our ministering brethren guiltless if they look on with indifference or prescribe conditions for this brother which are virtually impossible of fulfillment ... We are to make the condition of the unfortunate brother our own. WM 210.1

Any neglect on the part of those who claim to be followers of Christ, a failure to relieve the necessities of a brother or a sister who is bearing the yoke of poverty and oppression, is registered in the books of heaven as shown to Christ in the person of His saints. What a reckoning the Lord will have with many, very many, who present the words of Christ to others but fail to manifest tender sympathy and regard for a brother in the faith who is less fortunate and successful than themselves.... WM 210.2

If you knew the circumstances of this brother, and did not make earnest efforts to relieve him, and change his oppression to freedom, you are not working the works of Christ, and are guilty before God. I write plainly, for, from the light given me of God, there is a class of work that is neglected. WM 210.3

There may be great interest taken in the wholesale business of feeding the wretched class who are in poverty. All this I have no objection to, but it is a misdirected zeal if we pass by the cases of these who are of the household of faith and let their cry of distress come up to God because of suffering which we might alleviate, and in thus doing represent Jesus Christ in sympathy and love. The Lord has a controversy with us for this neglect. He cannot say to any man or woman, “Well done,” unless they have done well in representing the attributes of Christ—goodness, compassion, and love—to their fellow men.—Manuscript 34, 1894. WM 210.4

Provide Homes for Homeless—Years ago I was shown that God's people would be tested upon this point of making homes for the homeless; that there would be many without homes in consequence of their believing the truth. Opposition and persecution would deprive believers of their homes, and it was the duty of those who had homes to open a wide door to those who had not. I have been shown more recently that God would specially test His professed people in reference to this matter. WM 211.1

Christ for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. He made a sacrifice that He might provide a home for pilgrims and strangers in the world seeking for a better country, even an heavenly. Shall those who are subjects of His grace, who are expecting to be heirs of immortality, refuse, or even feel reluctant, to share their homes with the homeless and needy? Shall we, who are disciples of Jesus, refuse strangers an entrance to our doors because they can claim no acquaintance with the inmates? WM 211.2

Has the injunction of the apostle no force in this age: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”? ... WM 211.3

Our heavenly Father lays blessings disguised in our pathway, but some will not touch these for fear they will detract from their enjoyment. Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of doing good—waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may bless us.... WM 211.4

I have heard many excuse themselves from inviting to their homes and hearts the saints of God. “Why, I have nothing prepared, I have nothing cooked; they must go to some other place.” And at that place there may be some other excuse invented for not receiving those who need hospitality, and the feelings of the visitors are deeply grieved, and they leave with unpleasant impressions in regard to the hospitality of these professed brethren and sisters. If you have no bread, sister, imitate the case brought to view in the Bible. Go to your neighbor and say, “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.” We have not an example of this lack of bread ever being made an excuse to refuse entrance to an applicant. When Elijah came to the widow of Sarepta, she shared her morsel with the prophet of God, and he wrought a miracle, and caused that in that act of making a home for his servant, and sharing her morsel with him, she herself was sustained, and her life and that of her son preserved. Thus will it prove in the case of many, if they do this cheerfully, for the glory of God.—Testimonies for the Church 2:27-29. WM 212.1

Church Body Accountable for Negligence of Members—God will hold the church at _____ responsible, as a body, for the wrong course of its members. If a selfish and unsympathizing spirit is allowed to exist in any of its members toward the unfortunate, the widow, the orphan, the blind, the lame, or those who are sick in body or mind, He will hide His face from His people until they do their duty and remove the wrong from among them. If any professing the name of Christ so far misrepresent their Saviour as to be unmindful of their duty to the afflicted, or if they in any way seek to advantage themselves to the injury of the unfortunate, and thus rob them of means, the Lord holds the church accountable for the sin of its members until they have done all they can to remedy the existing evil. He will not hearken to the prayer of His people while the orphan, the fatherless, the lame, the blind, and the sick are neglected among them.—Testimonies for the Church 3:517, 518. WM 212.2

Heaven Keeps a Faithful Record—Christ regards all acts of mercy, benevolence, and thoughtful consideration for the unfortunate, the blind, the lame, the sick, the widow, and the orphan as done to Himself: and these works are preserved in the heavenly records and will be rewarded. On the other hand, a record will be written in the book against those who manifest the indifference of the priest and the Levite to the unfortunate, and those who take any advantage of the misfortunes of others.—Testimonies for the Church 2:512, 513. WM 213.1