Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)


Christ Their Counselor

Christ said to his disciples before his crucifixion, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” [John 14:16, 17.] Thank God we have not to trust alone in human counsel. The Saviour says, “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” [Revelation 3:8.] To this open door we are to go by faith for our sufficiency. GW92 234.1

Among our people there has been a trifling with personal responsibilities. I tell you with sorrow that some of our Conferences are weak in Christian experience because their leading men—and the people have followed the example—have sought for the approval of man with far greater anxiety than for the approval of God; they have looked to man for help and counsel more than they have looked to God. They have made men their burden-bearers, and have accepted human wisdom just when and where they should depend upon God. And too often those of whom they seek counsel, need help themselves; for their souls are not right with God. GW92 234.2

The presidents of our Conferences have become weak and inefficient by making flesh their arm. Trust in the wisdom of man does not facilitate growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. GW92 234.3

Brethren, when perplexities arise in your Conference, when emergencies are to be met, do not let these dark clouds drift into the General Conference if you can possibly avoid it. The president of the General Conference should not be burdened with the affairs of the State Conferences as has been the case in the past. If you, with your associates in the work, cannot adjust the troubles and difficulties that arise in your Conference, how do you think that one man can do this work for all the Conferences? Why should you pour all your perplexities and discouragements into the burdened mind and heart of the president of the General Conference? He cannot understand the situation as well as you do who are on the ground. If you shirk responsibility and crosses and burden-bearing, hard thinking and earnest praying, and look to the president of the General Conference to do your work, and help you out of your difficulties, cannot you see that you lay upon him burdens that will imperil his life? Have you not mind and ability as well as he? You should not neglect any part of the work because it calls for earnest, cross-bearing effort. I repeat, Do not throw your burdens upon the president of the General Conference. Do not expect him to take up your dropped stitches and bind off your work. Resolve that you will bear your own burdens through Christ who strengtheneth you. GW92 234.4

If he is walking in the counsel of God, the president of the General Conference will not encourage his brethren in looking to him to define their duty, but will direct them to the only Source that is untainted with the errors of humanity. He will refuse to be mind and conscience for others. GW92 235.1

Satan exults when men look to and trust in man. The one who is the object of this undue confidence is exposed to strong temptations. Satan will, if possible, lead him to self-confidence, in order that human defects may mar the work. He will be in danger of encouraging his brethren in their dependence upon him, and feeling that all things that pertain to the movements of the cause must be brought to his notice. Thus the work will bear the impress of man instead of the impress of God. But if all will learn to depend upon God for themselves, many dangers that assail the one who stands at the head of the work will be averted. If he errs, if he permits human influence to sway his judgment, or yields to temptation, he can be corrected and helped by his brethren. And those who learn to go to God for themselves for help and counsel are learning lessons that will be of the highest value to them. GW92 235.2

But if the officers of a Conference bear successfully the burdens laid upon them, they must pray, they must believe, they must trust God to use them as his agents in keeping the churches of the Conference in good working order. This is their part of the vineyard to cultivate. There must be far more personal responsibility, far more thinking and planning, far more mental power brought into the labor put forth for the Master. This would enlarge the capacity of the mind, and give keener perceptions as to what to do, and how. Brethren, you will have to wrestle with difficulties, carry burdens, give advice, plan and execute, constantly looking to God for help. Pray and labor, labor and pray; as pupils in the school of Christ, learn of Jesus. GW92 236.1

The Lord has given us the promise, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5.] It is in the order of God that those who bear responsibilities should often meet together to counsel with one another and to pray earnestly for that wisdom which he alone can impart. Unitedly make known your troubles to God. Talk less; much precious time is lost in talk that brings no light. Let brethren unite in fasting and prayer for the wisdom that God has promised to supply liberally. GW92 236.2

Go to God and tell him as did Moses, “I cannot lead this people unless thy presence shall go with me.” And then ask still more; pray with Moses, “Show me thy glory.” [Exodus 33:18.] What is this glory?—The character of God. This is what he proclaimed to Moses. Let the soul, in living faith, fasten upon God. Let the tongue speak his praise. When you associate together, let the mind be reverently turned to the contemplation of eternal realities. Thus you will be helping one another to be spiritually minded. When your will is in harmony with the divine will, you will be in harmony with one another; you will have Christ by your side as a counselor. Enoch walked with God; so may every one of the laborers for Christ. You may say with the psalmist, “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” [Psalm 16:8.] While you feel that you have no sufficiency of yourself, your sufficiency will be in Jesus. GW92 237.1

If you expect all your counsel and wisdom to come from men, mortal and finite like yourselves, you will receive only human help. If you go to God for help and wisdom, he will never disappoint your faith. The presidents of the State Conferences have the same God that the president of the General Conference has, and they can go to the Source of wisdom for themselves, instead of depending upon one man, who has to obtain his light from the same source. It may be argued that the Lord gives special wisdom to those entrusted with important responsibilities. True, if they walk humbly with him, he will give them help for their work; and he will give you help for yours, if you seek it in the same spirit. If the Lord in his providence has placed important responsibilities upon you, he will fit you to bear these burdens, if you go to him in faith for strength to do this. When you put your trust in him, and depend upon his counsel, he will not leave you to your own finite judgment, to make imperfect plans and decided failures. GW92 237.2

Every one needs a practical experience in trusting God for himself. Let no man become your confessor; open the heart to God; tell him every secret of the soul. Bring to him your difficulties, small and great, and he will show you a way out of them all. He alone can know how to give the very help you need. And when, after a trying season, help comes to you, when the Spirit of God is manifestly at work for you, what a precious experience you have gained. You are obtaining faith and love, the gold that the True Witness counsels you to buy of him. You are learning to go to God in all your troubles; and as you learn these precious lessons of faith, you will teach the same to others. Thus you may be continually leading the people to a higher plane of experience. The president of a State Conference is, by his manner of dealing, educating the ministers under him, and together they can so educate the churches that it will not be necessary to call the ministers of the Conference from the field to settle difficulties and dissensions in the church. If the officers in the Conference will, as faithful servants, perform their heaven-appointed duties, the work in our Conferences will not be left to become entangled in such perplexities as heretofore. And in laboring thus, the workers will become solid, responsible men, who will not fail nor be discouraged in a hard place. GW92 238.1

There is One who is mighty to save to the uttermost all who come unto him. Is not the promise broad and full? “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] Why are we so unwilling to come directly to the Source of our strength? Have we not departed from the Lord in this? Should not ministers and the presidents of our Conferences learn whence cometh their help? GW92 238.2

The care of souls is too important and solemn a work to be entrusted to men who are unacquainted with God, and who do not have a special, definite experience in seeking him through prayer, and exercising faith in him. All heaven is interested in this work, and how can Heaven's richest blessings fall upon those who labor in their own finite strength and wisdom, instead of seeking help from him whose grace and power constantly await their demand? The officers of our Conferences have neglected the praying part, and the exercise of that faith which would honor God and bring to them divine aid. There is an absence of soul-earnestness in prayer, a burden of supplication, that the Lord will give you wisdom, and pour upon you his Holy Spirit, that you may indeed be laborers together with him. Open your Bibles before God, and pray for divine enlightenment. Your Redeemer is waiting for you to call upon him in your necessity. He knows the solemn charge he has committed to you in giving you the care of souls. We are in times of peculiar danger from foes without and within, and God would have you alive to everything concerning your specific work. You need not try to do anything without the special help of your heavenly Father. He is waiting for you to call, that he may say, “Here I am.” If you will seek, he says he will be found of you; his strength, his grace, and his righteousness will be given to the humble, contrite one who seeks him with all the heart. GW92 238.3

Claim the promises of God. The Lord will do all for you that he did for Daniel, if you will co-operate with him as Daniel did. You may be conquerors through humble, earnest trust in your Redeemer. As delegated messengers to whom is assigned a special work, he wants you to become men of spiritual power. It is the privilege of God's ministers to become men of moral power and efficiency in all the offices they are called to fill. Every day they may praise God for the fresh tokens of his love and blessing. GW92 239.1