Binding Off Thoroughly

The Evangelist Must Finish His Instruction—A laborer should never leave some portion of the work undone because it is not agreeable to perform, thinking that the minister coming next will do it for him. When this is the case, if a second minister follows the first, and presents the claims that God has upon His people, some draw back, saying, “The minister who brought us the truth did not mention these things.” And they become offended because of the Word. Some refuse to accept the tithing system; they turn away, and no longer walk with those who believe and love the truth. When other lines are opened before them, they answer, “It was not so taught us,” and they hesitate to move forward. How much better it would have been if the first messenger of truth had faithfully and thoroughly educated these converts in regard to all essential matters, even if fewer had been added to the church under his labors.—Gospel Workers, 369, 370 (1915). Ev 321.1

A Work That Will Not Ravel Out—Ministers should not feel that their work is finished until those who have accepted the theory of the truth realize indeed the influence of its sanctifying power, and are truly converted. When the Word of God, as a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts its way to the heart and arouses the conscience, many suppose that this is enough; but the work is only begun. Good impressions have been made, but unless these impressions are deepened by careful, prayerful effort, Satan will counteract them. Let not the laborers rest content with what has been done. The plowshare of truth must go deeper, and this it will surely do if thorough efforts are made to direct the thoughts and establish the convictions of those who are studying the truth. Ev 321.2

Too often the work is left in an unfinished state, and in many such cases it amounts to nothing. Sometimes, after a company of people has accepted the truth, the minister thinks that he must immediately go to a new field; and sometimes, without proper investigation, he is authorized to go. This is wrong; he should finish the work begun; for in leaving it incomplete, more harm than good is done. No field is so unpromising as one that has been cultivated just enough to give the weeds a more luxuriant growth. By this method of labor many souls have been left to the buffeting of Satan and the opposition of members of other churches who have rejected the truth; and many are driven where they can never again be reached. A minister might better not engage in the work unless he can bind it off thoroughly.... Ev 322.1

Unless those who receive the truth are thoroughly converted, unless there is a radical change in the life and character, unless the soul is riveted to the eternal Rock, they will not endure the test of trial. After the minister leaves and the novelty has worn off, the truth loses its power to charm, and they exert no holier influence than before. Ev 322.2

God's work is not to be done in a bungling, slipshod manner. When a minister enters a field, he should work that field thoroughly. He should not be satisfied with his success until he can, through earnest labor and the blessing of Heaven, present to the Lord converts who have a true sense of their responsibility, and who will do their appointed work. If he has properly instructed those under his care, when he leaves for other fields of labor the work will not ravel out; it will be bound off so firmly as to be secure.—Gospel Workers, 367-369 (1915). Ev 322.3

To Do a Thorough Work—There is danger that those who hold meetings in our cities will be satisfied with doing a surface work. Let the ministers and the presidents of our conferences arouse to the importance of doing a thorough work. Let them labor and plan with the thought in mind that time is nearly ended, and that because of this they must work with redoubled zeal and energy.—The Review and Herald, January 11, 1912. Ev 323.1

While we should be ever ready to follow the opening providence of God, we should lay no larger plans, occupy no more ground in branching out than there is help and means to bind off the work well and keep up and increase the interest already started. While there are larger plans and broader fields constantly opening for the laborers, there must be broader ideas, and broader views in regard to the workers who are to labor to bring souls into the truth.—Letter 34, 1886. Ev 323.2

Leave a Well-Bound Off Work—Churches are raised up and left to go down while new fields are being entered. Now these churches are raised up in much cost in labor and in means, and then neglected and allowed to ravel out. This is the way matters are going now.... Ev 323.3

While duties are suffering to be done right in our path, we should not reach out and long and sigh for work at a great distance.... God would not want you to leave so much work that you have planned, and started the people in upon, to be neglected, to run down, and be harder to bring up than if it had never been started.... Ev 323.4

I hope you will look at things candidly and not move impulsively or from feeling. Our ministers must be educated and trained to do their work more thoroughly. They should bind off the work and not leave it to ravel out. And they should look especially after the interests they have created, and not go away and never have any special interest after leaving a church. A great deal of this has been done.—Letter 1, 1879. Ev 324.1

Soul Interests Hold Priority—For years light has been given upon this point, showing the necessity of following up an interest that has been raised, and in no case leaving it until all have decided that lean toward the truth, and have experienced the conversion necessary for baptism, and united with some church, or formed one themselves. Ev 324.2

There are no circumstances of sufficient importance to call a minister from an interest created by the presentation of truth. Even sickness and death are of less consequence than the salvation of souls for whom Christ made so immense a sacrifice. Those who feel the importance of the truth, and the value of souls for whom Christ died, will not leave an interest among the people for any consideration. They will say, Let the dead bury their dead. Home interests, lands and houses, should not have the least power to attract from the field of labor. Ev 324.3

If ministers allow these temporal things to divert them from the work, the only course for them to pursue is to leave all, possess no lands or temporal interests which will have an influence to draw them from the solemn work of these last days. One soul is of more value than the entire world. How can men who profess to have given themselves to the sacred work of saving souls, allow their small temporal possessions to engross their minds and hearts, and keep them from the high calling they profess to have received from God?—Testimonies For The Church 2:540, 541 (1870). Ev 324.4

Loss in Leaving an Unfinished Work Illustrated—What courage have we—what courage can we have—to put forth efforts in different places that use up our strength and vitality to the very last edge; and then go away and leave it to all ravel out, with nobody to look after it? Ev 325.1

Now I will just mention my experience. After I stepped on American soil, after coming from Europe, I did not go into a house but went into a hotel and took my dinner, and then went to _____. There was the place of all others where plans should have been laid to keep somebody there to bind off the work. There were a wealthy people, and deeply convicted. It was a wonderful interest we had there. The people would come out to the meeting and sit and listen with tears in their eyes; they were deeply impressed; but the matter was left with no one to follow up the interest; but everything was allowed to go right back. These things are not pleasing to God. We are either spreading over too much ground and proposing to do too much work, or else matters are not arranged as they ought to be.—Manuscript 19b, 1890. Ev 325.2

Creating a Difficult Field for Others—Ministers who are not men of vital piety, who stir up an interest among the people but leave the work in the rough, leave an exceedingly difficult field for others to enter and finish the work they failed to complete. These men will be proved; and if they do not do their work more faithfully, they will, after a still further test, be laid aside as cumberers of the ground, unfaithful watchmen.—Testimonies For The Church 4:317 (1879). Ev 325.3

Result of Haphazard Work—Bind off your work thoroughly. Leave no dropped stitches for someone else to pick up. Do not disappoint Christ. Determine that you will succeed, and in the strength of Christ you may give full proof of your ministry.... Ev 325.4

Nothing is so discouraging to the advancement of present truth as the haphazard work done by some of the ministers for the churches. Faithful labor is needed. The churches are ready to die, because they are not strengthened in Christlikeness. The Lord is not pleased with the loose way in which the churches are left because men are not faithful stewards of God's grace. They do not receive His grace, and therefore cannot impart it. The churches are weak and sickly because of the unfaithfulness of those who are supposed to labor among them, whose duty it is to have an oversight over them, watching for souls as they that must give an account.—Manuscript 8a, 1888. Ev 326.1