Colporteur Ministry


Chapter 10—Pleasing in Voice and Speech

The Gift of Speech—Of all the gifts that God has bestowed upon men, none is more precious than the gift of speech. If sanctified by the Holy Spirit, it is a power for good. It is with the tongue that we convince and persuade; with it we offer prayer and praise to God; and with it we convey rich thoughts of the Redeemer's love. By a right use of the gift of speech the canvasser can sow the precious seeds of truth in many hearts.—Testimonies for the Church 6:337 (1900). CM 70.1

More attention should be given to the culture of the voice. We may have knowledge, but unless we know how to use the voice correctly, our work will be a failure. Unless we can clothe our ideas in appropriate language, of what avail is our education? Knowledge will be of little advantage to us unless we cultivate the talent of speech; but it is a wonderful power when combined with the ability to speak wise, helpful words, and to speak them in a way that will command attention.—Testimonies for the Church 6:380 (1900). CM 70.2

Young men and young women, has God placed in your hearts a desire to do service for Him? Then by all means cultivate the voice to the utmost of your ability so that you can make plain the precious truth to others.—Testimonies for the Church 6:383 (1900). CM 70.3

Speak Clearly and Distinctly—When you speak, let every word be full and well rounded, every sentence clear and distinct to the very last word. Many as they approach the end of a sentence lower the tone of the voice, speaking so indistinctly that the force of the thought is destroyed. Words that are worth speaking at all are worth speaking in a clear, distinct voice, with emphasis and expression. But never search for words that will give the impression that you are learned. The greater your simplicity, the better will your words be understood.—Testimonies for the Church 6:383 (1900). CM 71.1

An Indispensable Qualification—The canvasser who can speak clearly and distinctly about the merits of the book he is introducing, will find this a great help to him in securing a subscription. He may have opportunity to read a chapter; and by the music of his voice and the emphasis placed on the words, he can make the scene presented stand out as clearly before the mind of the listener as if it could in reality be seen. CM 71.2

The ability to speak clearly and distinctly, in full, round tones, is invaluable in any line of work. This qualification is indispensable in those who desire to become ministers, evangelists, Bible workers, or canvassers. Those who are planning to enter these lines should be taught to use the voice in such a way that when they speak to people about the truth, it will make a decided impression for good. The truth must not be marred by being communicated through defective utterance.—Manual for Canvassers, 23, 24 (1902). CM 71.3

Tell Them With Simplicity—Men and women are wandering in the mist and fog of error. They want to know what is truth. Tell them, not in high-flown language, but with the simplicity of the children of God.—Manual for Canvassers, 39, 40 (1902). CM 72.1

Words Well Chosen—Do not, because you are among unbelievers, become careless in your words; for they are taking your measure. Study the instruction given to Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron. They “offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not.” Taking common fire they placed it upon their censers. “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified.” Leviticus 10:1-3. Canvassers should remember that they are working with the Lord to save souls, and that they are to bring no commonness or cheapness into His sacred service. Let the mind be filled with pure, holy thoughts, and let the words be well chosen. Hinder not the success of your work by uttering light, careless words.—Manual for Canvassers, 24 (1902). CM 72.2

Winning Words; Gentle, Courteous Demeanor—Those who work for Christ are to be upright and trustworthy, firm as a rock to principle, and at the same time kind and courteous. Courtesy is one of the graces of the Spirit. To deal with human minds is the greatest work ever given to man; and he who would find access to hearts must heed the injunction, “Be pitiful, be courteous.” Love will do that which argument will fail to accomplish. But a moment's petulance, a single gruff answer, a lack of Christian politeness and courtesy in some small matter, may result in the loss of both friends and influence. CM 72.3

What Christ was on this earth, the Christian worker should strive to be. He is our example, not only in His spotless purity, but in His patience, gentleness, and winsomeness of disposition. His life is an illustration of true courtesy. He had ever a kind look and a word of comfort for the needy and the oppressed. His presence brought a purer atmosphere into the home. His life was as leaven working amid the elements of society. Pure and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous; among unjust publicans, unrighteous Samaritans, heathen soldiers, rough peasants, and the mixed multitude.... CM 73.1

The religion of Jesus softens whatever is hard and rough in the temper, and smooths whatever is rugged and sharp in the manners. It makes the words gentle and the demeanor winning. Let us learn from Christ how to combine a high sense of purity and integrity with sunniness of disposition. A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity. CM 73.2

Kind words are as dew and gentle showers to the soul. The Scripture says of Christ, that grace was poured into His lips, that He might “know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary.” And the Lord bids us, “Let your speech be alway with grace” “that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” CM 73.3

Some with whom you are brought in contact may be rough and uncourteous, but do not, because of this, be less courteous yourself. He who wishes to preserve his own self-respect must be careful not to wound needlessly the self-respect of others. This rule should be sacredly observed toward the dullest, the most blundering.—Gospel Workers, 121, 122 (1915). CM 74.1

The Saviour's Voice—The Saviour's voice was as music to the ears of those who had been accustomed to the monotonous, spiritless preaching of the scribes and Pharisees. He spoke slowly and impressively, emphasizing those words to which He wished His hearers to give special heed.... The power of speech is of great value, and the voice should be cultivated for the blessing of those with whom we come in contact.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 240 (1913). CM 74.2

His Words Drew Hearts—We should speak of Christ to those who know Him not. We should do as Christ did. Wherever He was, in the synagogue, by the wayside, in the boat thrust out a little from the land, at the Pharisee's feast or the table of the publican, He spoke to men of the things pertaining to the higher life. The things of nature, the events of daily life, were bound up by Him with the words of truth. The hearts of His hearers were drawn to Him; for He had healed their sick, had comforted their sorrowing ones, and had taken their children in His arms and blessed them. When He opened His lips to speak, their attention was riveted upon Him, and every word was to some soul a savor of life unto life. CM 74.3

So it should be with us. Wherever we are, we should watch for opportunities of speaking to others of the Saviour. If we follow Christ's example in doing good, hearts will open to us as they did to Him. Not abruptly, but with tact born of divine love, we can tell them of Him who is the “Chiefest among ten thousand,” and the One “altogether lovely.” Song of Solomon 5:10, 16. This is the very highest work in which we can employ the talent of speech. It was given to us that we might present Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour.—Christ's Object Lessons, 338, 339 (1900). CM 75.1