Colporteur Ministry


Section 2—The Qualified Colporteur

Chapter 7—Wholly Surrendered to God

The First Essential—Those who engage in the canvassing work should first give themselves wholly and unreservedly to God. Christ has invited them, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; 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.”—Manuscript 26, 1901. CM 47.1

Redeem the Time—If you have neglected the sowing time, if you have allowed God-given opportunities to pass unimproved, if you have given yourselves up to self-pleasing, will you not now repent, before it is forever too late, and strive to redeem the time? The obligation to use your talents in the Master's service rests heavily upon you. Come to the Lord, and make an entire surrender of all to Him. You cannot afford to lose one day. Take up your neglected work. Put away your querulous unbelief, your envy and evil thinking, and go to work, in humble faith, and with earnest prayer to the Lord to pardon you for your years of unconsecration. Ask the Lord for help. If you seek Him earnestly, with the whole heart, you will find Him, and He will strengthen and bless you.—The Review and Herald, January 27, 1903. CM 47.2

Be Humble and Teachable—In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: “Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?” CM 48.1

God can use every person just in proportion as He can put His Spirit into the soul temple. The work that He will accept is the work that reflects His image. His followers are to bear, as their credentials to the world, the ineffaceable characteristics of His immortal principles.—Testimonies for the Church 7:144 (1902). CM 48.2

Why Many Have Failed—Canvassers need to be daily converted to God, that their words and deeds may be a savor of life unto life, that they may exert a saving influence. The reason why many have failed in the canvassing work is that they were not genuine Christians; they did not know the spirit of conversion. They had a theory as to how the work should be done, but they did not feel their dependence upon God. CM 48.3

Changed by Beholding—Canvassers, remember that in the books you handle you are presenting, not the cup containing the wine of Babylon, doctrines of error dealt to the kings of the earth, but the cup full of the preciousness of the truths of redemption. Will you yourselves drink of it? Your minds can be brought into captivity to the will of Christ, and He can put upon you His own superscription. By beholding, you will become changed from glory to glory, from character to character. God wants you to come to the front, speaking the words He will give you. He wants you to show that you place a high estimate upon humanity, humanity that has been purchased by the precious blood of the Saviour. When you fall upon the Rock and are broken, you will experience the power of Christ, and others will recognize the power of the truth upon your hearts.—Testimonies for the Church 6:317, 318 (1900). CM 48.4

Put on Christ—No one can be a successful soul winner till he himself has settled the question of surrender to God. We are individually to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. To each one of us He must become wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. When our faith lays hold upon Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall place Him before others in a new light. And when the people behold Christ as He is, they will not wrangle over doctrines; they will flee to Him for pardon, purity, and eternal life. CM 49.1

The difficulty most to be dreaded is that the canvasser who meets these inquiring souls has not himself been converted; that he does not himself know by experience the love of Christ which passes knowledge. If he himself has not this knowledge, how can he tell others the precious old, old story? The people need to be taught the very essence of true faith, the way to accept Christ and to confide in Him as their personal Saviour. They need to know how they may follow His steps whithersoever He goes. Let the feet of the worker follow step by step the footprints of Jesus, and mark out no other way in which to proceed heavenward.... CM 49.2

Draw Men to the Redeemer—Many professed Christians have broken away from Christ, the great center, and they make themselves a center; but if they would be successful in attracting others to the Saviour, they must themselves flee back to Him, and realize their utter dependence upon His grace. Satan has tried to the uttermost to sever the chain that unites men to God; he desires to bind their souls to his own car, and make them slaves in his service; but we are to work against him, and drawn men to the Redeemer.—Manual for Canvassers, 38, 39 (1902). CM 49.3

Soul Brought to Jesus in Safekeeping—When a soul has been brought to Christ through this personal labor, leave the surrendered, humbled heart for God to work with; let God urge upon him just such service as He sees fit. God has promised that His grace shall be sufficient for everyone who will come unto Him. Those who surrender to Jesus, who open the door of the heart and invite Him in, will be in safekeeping. He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6. Possessing Jesus, they will possess truth. They will be complete in Him.—Manual for Canvassers, 38, 39 (1902). CM 50.1

Absolute Honesty—If the canvasser pursues a wrong course, if he utters falsehood or practices deception, he loses his own self-respect. He may not be conscious that God sees him and is acquainted with every business transaction, that holy angels are weighing his motives and listening to his words, and that his reward will be according to his works; but if it were possible to conceal his wrongdoing from human and divine inspection, the fact that he himself knows it, is degrading to his mind and character. One act does not determine the character, but it breaks down the barrier, and the next temptation is more readily entertained, until finally a habit of prevarication and dishonesty in business is formed, and the man cannot be trusted. CM 50.2

There are too many in families and in the church who make little account of glaring inconsistencies. There are young men who appear what they are not. They seem honest and true; but they are like whited sepulchers, fair without, but corrupt to the core. The heart is spotted, stained with sin; and thus the record stands in the heavenly courts. A process has been going on in the mind that has made them callous, past feeling. But if their characters, weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, are pronounced wanting in the great day of God, it will be a calamity that they do not now comprehend. Truth, precious, untarnished truth, is to be a part of the character. CM 51.1

Purity of Life—Whatever way is chosen, the path of life is best with perils. If the workers in any branch of the cause become careless and inattentive to their eternal interests, they are meeting with great loss. The tempter will find access to them. He will spread nets for their feet, and will lead them in uncertain paths. Those only are safe whose hearts are garrisoned with pure principles. Like David they will pray: “Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” A constant battle must be kept up with the selfishness and corruption of the human heart. Often the wicked seem to be prospered in their way; but those who forget God, even for an hour or a moment, are in a dangerous path. They may not realize its perils; but ere they are aware, habit, like an iron band, holds them in subjection to the evil with which they have tampered. God despises their course, and His blessing will not attend them. CM 51.2

No Tampering With Sin—I have seen that young men undertake this work without connecting themselves with heaven. They place themselves in the way of temptation to show their bravery. They laugh at the folly of others. They know the right way; they know how to conduct themselves. How easily they can resist temptation! How vain to think of their falling! But they make not God their defense. Satan has an insidious snare prepared for them, and they themselves become the sport of fools. CM 52.1

Our great adversary has agents that are constantly hunting for an opportunity to destroy souls, as a lion hunts his prey. Shun them, young man; for, while they appear to be your friends, they will slyly introduce evil ways and practices. They flatter you with their lips, and offer to help and guide you; but their steps take hold on hell. If you listen to their counsel, it may be the turning point in your life. One safeguard removed from conscience, the indulgence of one evil habit, a single neglect of the high claims of duty, may be the beginning of a course of deception that will pass you into the ranks of those who are serving Satan, while you are all the time professing to love God and His cause. A moment of thoughtlessness, a single misstep, may turn the whole current of your lives in the wrong direction. And you may never know what caused your ruin until the sentence is pronounced: “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” CM 52.2

Avoid Evil Associates—Some young men know that what I have said fairly describes their course. Their ways are not hidden from the Lord, although they may be hidden from their best friends, even their fathers and mothers. I have little hope that some of these will ever change their course of hypocrisy and deception. Others who have erred are seeking to redeem themselves. May the dear Jesus help them to set their faces as a flint against all falsehoods and the flatteries of those who would weaken their purpose to do right or who would insinuate doubts or infidel sentiments to shake their faith in the truth. Young friends, do not spend an hour in the company of those who would unfit you for the pure and sacred work of God. Do nothing before strangers that you would not do before your father and mother, or that you would be ashamed of before Christ and the holy angels. CM 52.3

Some may think these cautions are not needed by Sabbathkeepers, but those to whom they apply know what I mean. I tell you, young men, to beware; for you can do nothing that is not open to the eyes of angels and of God. You cannot do an evil work and others not be affected by it. While your course of action reveals what kind of material is used in your own character building, it also has a powerful influence over others. Never lose sight of the fact that you belong to God, that He has bought you with a price, and you must render an account to Him for all His entrusted talents. No one should have any part in the work of the canvasser or colporteur whose hand is defiled with sin or whose heart is not right with God, for such persons will surely dishonor the cause of truth. Those who are workers in the missionary field need God to guide them. They should be careful to start right and then keep quietly and firmly on in the path of rectitude. They should be decided, for Satan is determined and persevering in his efforts to overthrow them.—Testimonies for the Church 5:396-399 (1885). CM 53.1

Constant Dependence on God—He who in his work meets with trials and temptations should profit by these experiences, learning to lean more decidedly upon God. He should feel his dependence every moment. CM 54.1

No complaint should be cherished in his heart or be uttered by his lips. When successful, he should take no glory to himself, for his success is due to the working of God's angels upon the heart. And let him remember that both in the time of encouragement and the time of discouragement the heavenly messengers are always beside him. He should acknowledge the goodness of the Lord, praising Him with cheerfulness. CM 54.2

Christ laid aside His glory and came to this earth to suffer for sinners. If we meet with hardships in our work, let us look to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Then we shall not fail nor be discouraged. We shall endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Remember what He says of all true believers: “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.—Testimonies for the Church 6:334, 335 (1900). CM 54.3

The World's Greatest Need—The greatest want of the world is the want of men,—men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.—Education, 57 (1903). CM 54.4