Gospel Workers 1915

83/246

Carefulness in Manners and Dress

The minister must remember that favorable or unfavorable impressions are made upon his hearers by his deportment in the pulpit, his attitude, his manner of speaking, his dress. He should cultivate courtesy and refinement of manner, and should carry himself with a quiet dignity becoming to his high calling. Solemnity and a certain godly authority mingled with meekness, should characterize his demeanor. Coarseness and rudeness are not to be tolerated in the common walks of life, much less should they be permitted in the work of the ministry. The minister's attitude should be in harmony with the holy truths he proclaims. His words should be in every respect earnest and well chosen. GW 172.1

Ministers have no license to behave in the desk like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and making expressions merely for effect. They are not actors, but teachers of truth. Undignified, boisterous actions lend no force to the truth uttered; on the contrary, they disgust men and women of calm judgment and right views. GW 172.2

The minister who has learned of Christ will ever be conscious that he is a messenger of God, commissioned by Him to do a work the influence of which is to endure throughout eternity. It should not be any part of his object to call attention to himself, his learning, or his ability. His whole aim should be to bring sinners to repentance, pointing them, by both precept and example, to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He should speak as one conscious of possessing power and authority from God. His discourses should have an earnestness, a fervor, a power of persuasion, that will lead sinners to take refuge in Christ. GW 172.3

Carefulness in dress is an important consideration. The minister should be clothed in a manner befitting the dignity of his position. Some ministers have failed in this respect. In some cases not only has there been a lack of taste and of orderly arrangement in the dress, but the clothing has been untidy and slovenly. GW 173.1

The God of heaven, whose arm moves the world, who gives us life and sustains us in health, is honored or dishonored by the apparel of those who officiate in His honor. To Moses He gave special instruction regarding everything connected with the tabernacle service, and He specified the dress that those should wear who were to minister before Him. “Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty,” [Exodus 28:2] was the direction given to Moses. Everything connected with the apparel and deportment of the priests was to be such as to impress the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God, the sacredness of His worship, and the purity required of those who came into His presence. GW 173.2

The priests were not allowed to enter the sanctuary with their shoes on their feet; for the particles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place. They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the sanctuary, and also to wash their hands and their feet before ministering in the tabernacle or at the altar of burnt-offering. Thus was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must be put away from those who would come into the presence of God. GW 173.3

The influence of the minister who is careless in his dress is displeasing to God, and the impression made upon his hearers is that he looks upon the work in which he is engaged as no more sacred than common labor. And not only this, but instead of showing them the importance of propriety and taste in clothing, he sets them an example of slackness and untidiness, which some are not slow to follow. GW 174.1

God expects His ministers, in their manners and in their dress, to give a fitting representation of the principles of truth and the sacredness of their office. They are to set an example that will help men and women to reach a high standard. GW 174.2

*****

Men have the power to quench the Spirit of God; the power of choosing is left with them. They are allowed freedom of action. They may be obedient through the name and grace of our Redeemer, or they may be disobedient, and realize the consequences. GW 174.3

Man is responsible for receiving or rejecting sacred and eternal truth. The Spirit of God is continually convicting, and souls are deciding for or against the truth. How important, then, that every act of life be such that it need not be repented of, especially among the ambassadors of Christ, who are acting in His stead! GW 174.4