Concentrating on the Main Task

Souls Lost Because of Divided Efforts—Some ministers have given themselves to the work of writing during a period of decided religious interest, and it has frequently been the case that their writings have had no special connection with the work in hand. This is a glaring error; for at such times it is the duty of the minister to use his entire strength in pushing forward the cause of God. His mind should be clear, and centered upon the one object of saving souls. Should his thoughts be preoccupied with other subjects, many might be lost to the cause who could have been saved by timely instruction.—Testimonies For The Church 4:265 (1876). Ev 655.3

Loss Through Divided Effort—Your mistake has been this: Just as soon as you enter upon an effort, you begin to do much writing. Now if your part of the work is to write, if God has said to you, as He did to John, “Write these things,” then give yourself to that, and do not attempt more. If you are to give discourses, your mind is not vigorous enough, although intensely active, to sustain the strain of speaking and visiting and writing. You should let your mind rest in a great degree when you engage in an effort to present new and startling truths to the people, the reception of which involves a cross. You need to carefully select your subject, make your discourses short, and important points of doctrine very plain.... Ev 656.1

In order to make a success in this work you must do one thing at a time, concentrate your powers upon that one work. Your judgment in this direction is at fault. When you begin to give a series of discourses, make these discourses the main business. Do not begin to write letters and articles for the papers; for you divide your strength in doing this. Elder _____ and Elder ______ were corrected in this matter. The Lord showed me that the important work of presenting the truth was being marred in their hands; not one-half the strength was brought into their work, because of their devoting so much time to letter writing. The visiting is the important part of the labor; but the time of these brethren was occupied in almost constant writing, which wearied them, occupied their time, and did not help the present work, but hindered it. The people were robbed of the clear, convincing exposition of Scripture, and the devotional part of the work was neglected.... Ev 656.2

Now the reason: Out of the desk they employed much of their time in writing, excusing themselves from visiting because they were so busy and so tired. As the result they were brain weary when they came into the desk; they were not prepared to do a work that God could set His seal upon. They made nothing clear. Yet if they worked themselves up to a high pitch of excitement they thought their discourses were powerful. They touched here and there, bringing a large mass of matter which they regarded as convincing and overwhelming evidence, but in fact they buried the truth under a mass of matter poured out upon the hearers, so that the points never could be found. Everything they presented was muddled. So many subjects were brought into one discourse that no point stood proved and clear in the minds of those unacquainted with the truth.... One subject, a few points made plain and clear, would be of more value to the hearer than this mass of matter which you may call evidence, and think your points substantiated.—Letter 47, 1886. Ev 657.1