Gospel Workers 1915

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Thoroughness

A solemn responsibility rests upon the ministers of Christ to do their work with thoroughness. They should lead young disciples along wisely and judiciously, step by step, onward and upward, until every essential point has been brought before them. Nothing should be kept back. But not all points of truth should be given in the first few meetings. Gradually, cautiously, his own heart imbued with the Spirit of God, the teacher should give his hearers meat in due season. GW 367.1

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. GW 367.2

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. GW 367.3

Upon all new converts should be impressed the truth that abiding knowledge can be gained only by earnest labor and persevering study. As a rule, those who are converted to the truth we preach have not previously been diligent students of the Scriptures; for in the popular churches there is little real study of the word of God. The people look to the ministers to search the Scriptures for them and to explain what they teach. GW 368.1

Many accept the truth without digging down deep to understand its foundation principles; and when it is opposed, they forget the arguments and evidences that sustain it. They have been led to believe the truth, but have not been fully instructed as to what truth is, or carried forward from point to point in the knowledge of Christ. Too often their piety degenerates into a form, and when the appeals that first aroused them are no longer heard, they become spiritually dead. 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. GW 368.2

God's work is not to be done in a bungling, slip-shod 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. GW 369.1

The minister has no sanction for confining his labors to the pulpit, leaving his hearers unhelped by personal effort. He should seek to understand the nature of the difficulties in the minds of the people. He should talk and pray with those who are interested, giving them wise instruction, to the end that he “may present every man perfect in Christ.” [Colossians 1:28.] His Bible teaching should have a directness and force that will send conviction home to the conscience. The people know so little of the Bible that practical, definite lessons should be given concerning the nature of sin and its remedy. GW 369.2

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. God would be better pleased to have six thoroughly converted to the truth than to have sixty make a profession and yet not be truly converted. GW 369.3

It is part of the minister's work to teach those who accept the truth through his efforts, to bring the tithe to the storehouse, as an acknowledgment of their dependence upon God. The new converts should be fully enlightened as to their duty to return to the Lord His own. The command to pay tithe is so plain that there is no semblance of excuse for disregarding it. He who neglects to give instruction on this point, leaves undone a most important part of his work. GW 370.1

Ministers must also impress upon the people the importance of bearing other burdens in connection with the work of God. No one is exempt from the work of benevolence. The people must be taught that every department of the cause of God should enlist their support and engage their interest. The great missionary field is open before us, and this subject must be agitated, agitated, again and again. The people must be made to understand that it is not the hearers, but the doers of the Word, who will gain eternal life. And they are to be taught also that those who become partakers of the grace of Christ are not only to communicate of their substance for the advancement of the truth, but are to give themselves to God without reserve. GW 370.2

Some ministers are easily diverted from their work. They become discouraged, or are drawn away by their home ties, and leave a growing interest to die for want of attention. The loss sustained by the cause in this way can scarcely be estimated. When an effort to proclaim the truth is made, the minister in charge should feel responsible to act his part in faithfully carrying it forward. If his labors appear to be without result, he should seek by earnest prayer to discover if they are what they should be. He should humble his soul before God in self-examination, and by faith cling to the divine promises, humbly continuing his efforts till he is satisfied that he has faithfully discharged his duty, and done everything in his power to gain the desired result. GW 371.1

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God does not accept the most splendid service unless self is laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice. The root must be holy, else there can be no sound, healthy fruit, which alone is acceptable to God.... While worldly ambitions, worldly projects, and the greatest plans and purposes of men, will perish like the grass, “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.]—Testimonies for the Church 7:248, 249. GW 371.2