Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)


Labor in New Fields

December 10, 1871, I was shown that God would accomplish a great work through the truth, if devoted, self-sacrificing men would give themselves unreservedly to the work of presenting it to those in darkness. Those who have a knowledge of the precious truth, and who are consecrated to God, should avail themselves of every opportunity where there is an opening to press in the truth. Angels of God are moving on the hearts and consciences of the people of other nations, and honest souls are troubled as they witness the signs of the times in the unsettled state of the nations. The inquiry arises in their hearts, What will be the end of all these things? While God and angels are at work to impress hearts, the servants of Christ seem to be asleep. But few are working in unison with the heavenly messengers. All men and women who are Christians in every sense of the word, should be workers in the vineyard of the Lord. They should be wide awake, zealously laboring for the salvation of their fellow-men, and should imitate the example that the Saviour of the world has given them in his life of self-denial, sacrifice, and faithful, earnest labor. GW92 47.3

There has been but little of the missionary spirit among Sabbath-keeping Adventists. If ministers and people were sufficiently aroused, they would not rest thus indifferently, while God has honored them by making them the depositaries of his law, by printing it in their minds and writing it upon their hearts. These truths of vital importance are to test the world; and yet in our own country there are cities, villages, and towns that have never heard the warning message. Young men who feel stirred by the appeals that have been made for help in this great work of advancing the cause of God, make some advance moves, but do not get the burden of the work upon them sufficiently to accomplish what they might. They are willing to do a small work, which does not require special effort. Therefore they do not learn to place their whole dependence upon God, and by living faith draw from the great Fountain and Source of light and strength, in order that their efforts may prove wholly successful. GW92 48.1

Those who think that they have a work to do for the Master should not begin their efforts among the churches; they should go out into new fields, and prove their gifts. In this way they can test themselves, and settle the matter to their own satisfaction, whether God has indeed chosen them for this work. They will feel the necessity of studying the word of God, and praying earnestly for heavenly wisdom and divine aid. By meeting with opponents who bring up objections to the important points of our faith, they will be brought where they will obtain a most valuable experience. They will feel their weakness, and be driven to the word of God and to prayer. In this exercise of their gifts, they will be learning and improving, and gaining confidence, courage, and faith, and will eventually have a valuable experience.... GW92 48.2

If young men who begin to labor in this cause would have the missionary spirit, they would give evidence that God has indeed called them to the work. But when they do not go out into new places, but are content to go from church to church, they give evidence that the burden of the work is not upon them. The ideas of our young preachers are not broad enough. Their zeal is too feeble. Were the young men awake and devoted to the Lord, they would be diligent every moment of their time, and would seek to qualify themselves to become laborers in the missionary field rather than to become combatants. GW92 49.1

Young men should be qualifying themselves by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums to communicate his saving truth to those of other nations. These young men may obtain a knowledge of other languages even while engaged in laboring for sinners. If they are economical of their time, they can be improving their minds, and qualifying themselves for more extended usefulness. If young women who have borne but little responsibility would devote themselves to God, they could qualify themselves for usefulness by studying and becoming familiar with other languages. They could devote themselves to the work of translating. GW92 49.2

Our publications should be printed in other languages, that foreign nations may be reached. Much can be done through the medium of the press, but still more can be accomplished if the influence of the publications could be aided by that of the living preacher. Missionaries are needed to go to other nations to preach the truth in a guarded, careful manner. The cause of present truth can be greatly extended by personal effort. The contact of mind with mind will do more to remove prejudice, if the labor is discreet, than our publications alone can do. Those who engage in this work should not consult their ease or inclination; neither should they have love for popularity or display. GW92 50.1

When the churches see young men possessing zeal to qualify themselves to extend their labors to cities, villages, and towns that have never been aroused to the truth, and missionaries volunteering to go to other nations to carry the truth to them, the churches will be encouraged and strengthened far more than by receiving the labors of inexperienced young men. As they see their ministers’ hearts all aglow with love and zeal for the truth, and with a desire to save souls, the churches will arouse. These generally have gifts and power within themselves to bless and strengthen themselves, and to gather the sheep and lambs into the fold. They need to be thrown upon their own resources, that all the gifts that are lying dormant may thus be called into active service. GW92 50.2

As churches are established, it should be set before them that it is even from among them that men must be taken to carry the truth to others, and raise up new churches; therefore they must all work, and cultivate to the utmost the talents that God has given them, and be training their minds to engage in the service of their Master. If these messengers are pure in heart and life, if their example is what it should be, their labors will be highly successful; for they have a most powerful truth, one that is clear and connected, and that has convincing arguments in its favor. They have God on their side, and the angels of God to work with their efforts. GW92 50.3

The reason why there has been so little accomplished by those who preach the truth, is not wholly that the truth they bear is unpopular, but that the men who bear the message are not sanctified by the truths they preach. The Saviour withdraws his smiles, and the inspiration of his Spirit is not upon them. The presence and power of God to convict the sinner and cleanse from all unrighteousness, is not manifest. Sudden destruction is right upon the people, and yet they are not fearfully alarmed. Unconsecrated ministers make the work very hard for those who follow after them, and who have the burden and spirit of the work upon them.... GW92 51.1

Every opportunity should be improved to extend the truth to other nations. This will be attended with considerable expense, but expense should in no case hinder the performance of this work. Money is of value only as it is used to advance the interest of the kingdom of God. The Lord has lent men means for this very purpose, to use in sending the truth to their fellow-men. There is a great amount of surplus means in the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists; and the selfish withholding of it from the cause of God, is blinding their eyes to the importance of the work of God, making it impossible for them to discern the solemnity of the times in which we live, or the value of eternal riches. They do not view Calvary in the right light, and therefore cannot appreciate the worth of the soul for which Christ paid an infinite price. GW92 51.2

Men will invest means in that which they value the most, and which they think will bring them the greatest profits. When men will run great risks and invest much in worldly enterprises, but are unwilling to venture or invest much in the cause of God to send the truth to their fellow-men, they give evidence that they value their earthly treasure just as much more highly than the heavenly as their works show.... GW92 51.3

It will be difficult to overcome prejudice, and to convince the unbelieving that our efforts to help them are disinterested. But this should not hinder our labor. There is no precept in the word of God that tells us to do good to those only who appreciate and respond to our efforts, and to benefit those only who will thank us for it. God has sent us to work in his vineyard. It is our business to do all we can. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that.” [Ecclesiastes 11:6.] We have too little faith. We limit the Holy One of Israel. We should be grateful that God condescends to use any of us as his instruments. For every earnest prayer put up in faith for anything, answers will be returned. They may not come just as we have expected; but they will come—not perhaps as we have desired, but at the very time when we most need them. But O, how sinful is our unbelief! “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:7.] GW92 52.1

Young men who are engaged in this work should not trust too much to their own abilities. They are inexperienced, and should seek to learn wisdom from those who have had long experience in the work, and who have had opportunities to study character. GW92 52.2

Instead of laboring among the churches, God designs that our ministers should spread abroad, and our missionary labor be extended over as much ground as we can possibly occupy to advantage, going in every direction to raise up new companies. We should ever leave upon the minds of new disciples an impression of the importance of our mission. As able men are converted to the truth, they should not require laborers to keep their flagging faith alive; but these men should be impressed with the necessity of laboring in the vineyard. As long as churches rely upon laborers from abroad to strengthen and encourage their faith, they will not become strong in themselves. They should be instructed that their strength will increase in proportion to their personal efforts. The more closely the New Testament plan is followed in missionary labor, the more successful will be the efforts put forth. GW92 52.3

We should work as did our divine Teacher, sowing the seeds of truth with care, anxiety, and self-denial. We must have the mind of Christ if we would not become weary in well-doing. His was a life of continual sacrifice for others’ good. We must follow his example. We must sow the seed of truth, and trust in God to quicken it into life. The precious seed may lie dormant for some time, when the grace of God may convict the heart, and the seed sown be awakened to life, and spring up, and bear fruit to the glory of God. Missionaries in this great work are wanted to labor unselfishly, earnestly, and perseveringly, as co-workers with Christ and the heavenly angels in the salvation of their fellow-men. GW92 53.1

Especially should our ministers beware of indolence and pride, which are apt to grow out of a consciousness that we have the truth, and strong arguments which our opponents cannot meet; and while the truths which we handle are mighty to the pulling down of the strongholds of the powers of darkness, there is danger of neglecting personal piety, purity of heart, and entire consecration to God. There is danger of their feeling that they are rich and increased with goods, while they lack the essential qualifications of Christians. They may be wretched, poor, miserable, blind, and naked. They do not feel the necessity of living in obedience to Christ every day and every hour. Spiritual pride eats out the vitals of religion. In order to preserve humility, it would be well to remember how we appear in the sight of a holy God, who reads every secret of the soul, and how we should appear in the sight of our fellow-men if they all knew us as well as God knows us. For this reason, to humble us, we are directed to confess our faults, and improve this opportunity to subdue our pride.—Testimonies for the Church 3:202. GW92 53.2