The Publishing Ministry


Chapter 7—Work Qualifications and Efficiency

Workers to Be Fully Qualified—My brethren, not one half the care has been taken that there should have been to impress upon those who could labor in the cause the importance of qualifying themselves for the work. With their powers all undisciplined, they can do but imperfect work; but if they shall be trained by wise and consecrated teachers, and are led by the Spirit of God, they will not only be able to do good work themselves, but will give the right mold to others who may work with them. It should, then, be their constant study to learn how they can become more intelligent in the work in which they are engaged. None should rest in ease and inaction; but all should seek to elevate and ennoble themselves, lest by their deficient understanding they fail to realize the exalted character of the work and lower it to meet their own finite standard.—Testimonies for the Church 5:552. PM 78.1

God would have all who are connected with His institutions show aptness, discrimination, and forethought. He would have them become men and women of cultivated intellect, coming behind in no qualification; and as they shall individually feel the necessity of this and shall work to the point, Jesus will aid them in their endeavors. As they work upon the plan of addition in securing the graces of the Spirit, God will work in their behalf upon the plan of multiplication. Connection with God will give the soul expansion, will exalt it, transform it, and make it sensible of its own powers, and will give a clearer sense of the responsibility resting upon each individual to make a wise use of the faculties which God has bestowed.—Testimonies for the Church 4:449. PM 78.2

Experienced Men for Positions of Trust—It is wisdom to place in positions of responsibility and usefulness only those who give full proof of their ability, who show that they are able to fulfill in a proper way their weighty trusts. Positions have been given to young, inexperienced men, which ought to have been given to men who had an experience gained in the early history of the work. Let positions of trust be given to experienced, God-fearing, proven men, men who will bear the message of reproof sent by God.—Letter 35, 1900. PM 79.1

Respect for Older Workers—In the office of publications at Battle Creek, a spirit is cherished that is an offense to God; there is selfishness that God cannot tolerate; there is hardness of heart; a lack of love and meekness, and it is manifested in words and deportment that are entirely unchristian. The Lord has reproved the sins; He has set them before the erring, and they still are cherished. PM 79.2

There are those connected with the office who did not share in the sacrifices required to establish it and have not carried the burdens of its upbuilding, and they show little interest or respect to those who did share in these early labors and sacrifices and who have grown old and gray in the work.—Manuscript 16, 1890. PM 79.3

To Each a Work Appointed by God—Years ago I saw that our people were far behind in obtaining that knowledge which would qualify them for positions of trust in the cause. Every member of the church should put forth efforts to qualify himself to do work for the master. To each has been appointed a work, according to his ability. Even now, at the eleventh hour, we should arouse to educate men of ability for the work, that they may, while occupying positions of trust themselves, be educating by precept and example all who are associated with them. PM 79.4

Through a selfish ambition some have kept from others the knowledge they could have imparted. Others have not cared to tax themselves by educating anyone else. Yet this would have been the very best kind of work they could have done for Jesus. Says Christ: “Ye are the light of the world,” and for this reason we are to let our light shine before men. PM 79.5

If all that the Lord has spoken in reference to these things had been heeded, our institutions would today occupy a higher and holier position than they do. But men have been satisfied with small attainments. They have not sought with all their might to rise in mental, moral, and physical capabilities. They have not felt that God required this of them, they have not realized that Christ died that they might do this very work. As the result they are far behind what they might be in intelligence and in the ability to think and plan. They could have added virtue to virtue, and knowledge to knowledge, and thus have become strong in the Lord. But this they have failed to do. Let each go to work now with a firm determination to rise. The present need of the cause is not so much for more men as for greater skill and consecration in the laborers.—Testimonies for the Church 5:554. PM 80.1

Men With Self-respect, Humility, and Efficiency—My brother, in doing the work of God you will be placed in a variety of circumstances which will require self-possession and self-control, but which will qualify you to adapt yourself to circumstances and the peculiarities of the situation. Then you can act yourself unembarrassed. You should not place too low an estimate upon your ability to act your part in the various callings of practical life. Where you are aware of deficiencies, go to work at once to remedy those defects. Do not trust to others to supply your deficiencies, while you go on indifferently, as though it were a matter of course that your peculiar organization must ever remain so. Apply yourself earnestly to cure these defects, that you may be perfect in Christ Jesus, wanting in nothing. PM 80.2

If you form too high an opinion of yourself you will think that your labors are of more real consequence than they are and you will plead individual independence which borders on arrogance. If you go to the other extreme and form too low an opinion of yourself you will feel inferior and will leave an impression of inferiority which will greatly limit the influence that you might have for good. You should avoid either extreme. Feeling should not control you; circumstances should not affect you. You may form a correct estimate of yourself, one which will prove a safeguard from both extremes.—Testimonies for the Church 3:505, 506. PM 80.3

Power to Master Circumstances—It is obstacles that make men strong. It is not helps, but difficulties, conflicts, rebuffs, that make men of moral sinew. Too much ease and avoiding responsibility have made weaklings and dwarfs of those who ought to be responsible men of moral power and strong spiritual muscle.... Some men appear to be utterly unable to hew out a path for themselves. Must they ever rely upon others to do their planning and their studying, and to be mind and judgment for them? God is ashamed of such soldiers. He is not honored by their having any part to act in His work while they are mere machines. PM 81.1

Independent men of earnest endeavor are needed, not men as impressible as putty. Those who want their work made ready to their hand, who desire a fixed amount to do and a fixed salary, and who wish to prove an exact fit without the trouble of adaptation or training, are not the men whom God calls to work in His cause. A man who cannot adapt his abilities to almost any place if necessity requires is not the man for this time. Men whom God will connect with His work are not limp and fiberless, without muscle or moral force of character. It is only by continued and persevering labor that men can be disciplined to bear a part in the work of God. These men should not become discouraged if circumstances and surroundings are the most unfavorable. They should not give up their purpose as a complete failure until they are convinced beyond a doubt that they cannot do much for the honor of God and the good of souls. PM 81.2

There are men who flatter themselves that they might do something great and good if they were only circumstanced differently, while they make no use of the faculties they already have by working in the positions where Providence has placed them. Man can make his circumstances, but circumstances should never make the man. Man should seize circumstances as his instruments with which to work. He should master circumstances, but should never allow circumstances to master him. Individual independence and individual power are the qualities now needed. Individual character need not be sacrificed, but it should be modulated, refined, elevated.—Testimonies for the Church 3:495-497. PM 81.3

Efficient, Apt, and Practical—Very much is lost for want of a competent person, one who is efficient, apt, and practical, to oversee the different departments of the work. One is needed who is a practical printer and is acquainted with every part of the work. There are some who understand printing, but utterly fail in generalship. Others do the best they can, but they are yet inexperienced and do not understand the publishing work. Their ideas are often narrow. They do not know how to meet the demands of the cause; and, as a consequence, they are unable to estimate the advantages and disadvantages of enlarging their work. They are also liable to misjudge, to make wrong calculations, and to estimate incorrectly. There have been losses in consequence of a failure to make proper estimates and to improve opportunities of pushing the publishing work. In such an institution as this, thousands of dollars may be lost through the calculations of incompetent persons. Brother P had ability in some respects to understand and properly estimate the interests of the publishing work, but his influence was an injury to the office.—Testimonies for the Church 5:414, 415. PM 82.1

Exalt Principle, Not Selfish Policy—The policy which worldly businessmen adopt is not the policy to be chosen and carried out by the men who are connected with our institutions. Selfish policy is not heaven-born, it is earthly. In this world the leading maxim is, “The end justifies the means;” and this may be traced in every department of business. It has a controlling influence in every class of society, in the grand councils of nations, and wherever the Spirit of Christ is not the ruling principle. Prudence and caution, tact and skill, should be cultivated by everyone who is connected with the office of publication and by those who serve in our college and sanitarium. But the laws of justice and righteousness must not be set aside, and the principle must not prevail that each one is to make his particular branch of the work a success, regardless of other branches. The interests of all should be closely guarded to see that no one's rights are invaded. In the world the god of traffic is too often the god of fraud, but it must not be thus with those who are dealing with the Lord's work. The worldly standard is not to be the standard of those who are connected with sacred things.... PM 82.2

Worldly policy is not to be classed with sound discretion, although it is too often mistaken for it. It is a species of selfishness, in whatever cause it is exercised. Discretion and sound judgment are never narrow in their workings. The mind that is guided by them has comprehensive ideas and does not become narrowed down to one object. It looks at things from every point of view. But worldly policy has a short range of vision. It can see the object nearest at hand, but fails to discover those at a distance. It is ever watching for opportunities to gain advantage. Those who follow a course of worldly policy are building themselves up by pulling out the foundation from another man's building. Every structure must be built upon a right foundation, in order to stand.—Testimonies for the Church 5:561-563. PM 83.1

The Lord's Judgment the Basis of Efficiency—The Lord wants the workers in the Review and Herald office to learn to submit their judgment to His judgment and then to use all their abilities for Him, giving Him their best thoughts and their best efforts. The Lord has a vineyard to be cultivated. The cultivation of this vineyard makes it necessary for every believer to be a producer of good works as well as a consumer.... PM 83.2

I send this message to the workers in the publishing house.... I am intensely desirous that they shall draw near to God, that He may draw near to them. His light and presence will be recognized and appreciated by all who seek Him with the whole heart. Please read these words to the workers. Tell them that as they become one with Christ, they possess the riches of His grace. They walk in His footsteps. They follow His example of love and sympathy, helping those who needed help, lifting up the hands that hang down, and strengthening the feeble knees, directing the gaze to Him who gave His life for the life of the world.—Letter 54, 1902. PM 83.3

As Perfect Work as Humans Can Do—I saw that there was great inefficiency in the bookkeeping in many departments of the cause. Bookkeeping is, and ever will be, an important part of the work; and those who have become expert in it are greatly needed in our institutions and in all branches of the missionary work. It is a work that requires study that it may be done with correctness and dispatch, and without worry or overtaxation; but the training of competent persons for this work has been shamefully neglected. It is a disgrace to allow a work of such magnitude as ours to be done in a defective, inaccurate way. God wants as perfect work as it is possible for human beings to do. It is a dishonor to sacred truth and its Author to do His work in any other way. I saw that unless the workers in our institutions were subject to the authority of God, there would be a lack of harmony and unity of action among them. If all will obey His directions, the Lord will stand as the invisible commander; but there must also be a visible head who fears God. The Lord will never accept a careless, disorderly company of workers; neither will He undertake to lead forward and upward to noble heights and certain victory those who are self-willed and disobedient. The upward progress of the soul indicates that Jesus bears rule in the heart. The heart through which He diffuses His peace and joy, and the blessed fruits of His love, becomes His temple and His throne. “Ye are My friends,” says Christ, “if ye do whatsoever I command you.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:553. PM 84.1

Helping One Another—A deep and wide interest should be manifested in helping one another. The Lord is not pleased when His people draw apart. This is one defect in the office.... PM 84.2

If men and women could see what trouble they make themselves by this independence, by trying to do what they do not know how to do without asking, they would alter their course. If Christ were abiding in the hearts of the workers, they would try to bring high Christian consecration into all their duties, whether great or small. And in the act of working heartily as unto the Lord, raising their thoughts above the ordinary level of business life, they would be blessed. It is the Christian's duty to think of holy things. PM 84.3

The workers in the Echo [The Echo publishing house in Melbourne, Australia.] office have very little insight into the right methods of obtaining success. They are working at cross purposes with each other. The Echo office is sick, from the crown to the foundation. There will be no vitality, no decided progress, until the workers follow Christian principle. These workers need to be soundly converted to the truth. Devotion to God, conscientious, prayerful work for the Master, will bring unity. Each worker must be on his guard, firmly determined to bind about the edges of every department in the office. He must realize that it is his duty to give brain, bone, and muscle to the work, that it may be made a success.—Manuscript 54, 1899. PM 85.1

Bearing and Sharing Responsibility—You, Brother A, have had strength to bear some responsibilities. God has accepted your energetic labors and blessed your efforts. You have made some mistakes, but because of some failures you should in nowise misjudge your capabilities nor distrust the strength that you may find in God. You have not been willing and ready to assume responsibilities. You are naturally inclined to shun them and to choose an easier position, to write and exercise the mind where no special, vital interests are involved. You make a mistake in relying upon ----- to tell you what to do.... PM 85.2

You should search out what is to be done and lift the disagreeable burdens yourself. God will bless you in so doing. You must bear burdens in connection with the work of God according to your best judgment. But you must be guarded, lest your judgment shall be influenced by the opinions of others. If it is apparent that you have made mistakes, it is your privilege to turn these failures into victories by avoiding the same in the future. By being told what to do you will never gain the experience necessary for any important position.—Testimonies for the Church 3:495. PM 85.3

Decisive Action, not Hesitation—Brother A, you are too slow. You should cultivate opposite qualities. The cause of God demands men who can see quickly and act instantaneously at the right time and with power. If you wait to measure every difficulty and balance every perplexity you meet you will do but little. You will have obstacles and difficulties to encounter at every turn, and you must with firm purpose decide to conquer them, or they will conquer you. PM 86.1

Sometimes various ways and purposes, different modes of operation in connection with the work of God, are about evenly balanced in the mind; but it is at this very point that the nicest discrimination is necessary. And if anything is accomplished to the purpose it must be done at the golden moment. The slightest inclination of the weight in the balance should be seen and should determine the matter at once. Long delays tire the angels. It is even more excusable to make a wrong decision sometimes than to be continually in a wavering position, to be hesitating, sometimes inclined in one direction, then in another. More perplexity and wretchedness result from thus hesitating and doubting than from sometimes moving too hastily. PM 86.2

I have been shown that the most signal victories and the most fearful defeats have been on the turn of minutes. God requires promptness of action. Delays, doubtings, hesitation, and indecision frequently give the enemy every advantage. My brother, you need to reform. The timing of things may tell much in favor of truth. Victories are frequently lost through delays. There will be crises in this cause. Prompt and decisive action at the right time will gain glorious triumphs, while delay and neglect will result in great failures and positive dishonor to God. Rapid movements at the critical moment often disarm the enemy, and he is disappointed and vanquished, for he had expected time to lay plans and work by artifice. PM 86.3

God wants men connected with His work in Battle Creek whose judgment is at hand, whose minds, when it is necessary, will act like the lightnings. The greatest promptness is positively necessary in the hour of peril and danger. Every plan may be well laid to accomplish certain results, and yet a delay of a very short time may leave things to assume an entirely different shape, and the great objects which might have been gained are lost through lack of quick foresight and prompt dispatch. Much may be done in training the mind to overcome indolence. There are times when caution and great deliberation are necessary; rashness would be folly. But even here, much has been lost by too great hesitancy. Caution, up to a certain point is required; but hesitancy and policy on particular occasions have been more disastrous than would have been a failure through rashness. PM 87.1

My brother, you need to cultivate promptness. Away with your hesitating manner. You are slow and neglect to seize the work and accomplish it. You must get out of this narrow manner of labor, for it is of the wrong order.—Testimonies for the Church 3:497, 498. PM 87.2

How to Make the Workroom a Bethel—Ever keep a winning, courteous, kind spirit, and every room may be transformed into a Bethel. Angels of God will work with your efforts. If our publishing houses, our health institutions, our colleges and missions, are conducted on right principles, the unbelievers who visit them will be favorably impressed, and will be more inclined to accept the truth.... If the heart is purified through obedience to the truth, there will be no selfish preferences, no corrupt motives. There will be no partiality, no hypocrisy; love-sick sentimentalism will not be developed. Strict guard must be kept, that this curse shall not poison or corrupt our institutions.—Letter 74, 1896. (Special Testimony to the Managers and Workers in our Institutions, 8, 9.) PM 87.3

Necessity of Rules and Discipline—Our youth must take a more elevated standard in the office if they would perfect Christian character. They should be present at the hour of prayer, at the prayer meeting, ready and zealous to do service for God. They want to understand the high claims of God upon them. Great learning is not required, genius or eloquence, but a pure, humble heart, longing for righteousness. If these young men and young women were one tenth as interested in refining the life and in elevating and ennobling the character, that they may do better and holier service for God, as in pleasing and gratifying self, a great and good work would be done by their noble efforts. These youth must habituate themselves to think of something more noble and elevating than themselves. They do not pray, do not watch unto prayer; they are unacquainted with Jesus. They have much to learn and but little time to learn it in; no time to spend in frivolity and gratification of self. If they will see the need of thorough conversion, if they will pray, and watch unto prayer, God will make them wholly His, and they may do much for His cause. But God is dishonored by the thoughts and behavior of many of the young in the office. Those who come to the office with good purposes are spoiled by the unconsecrated influence of some employed there. This must not longer exist. Plain talk and plain action must be taken in these cases.—SpTWWPP 16, 17. PM 87.4

Home Influences Affect Institutions—Every Christian home should have rules; and parents should, in their words and in their deportment toward each other, give to the children a precious, living example of what they desire them to be. Purity in speech, and true Christian courtesy, should be constantly practiced. Let there be no encouragement of sin; no evil surmising or evil speaking. Teach the children and youth to respect themselves, to be true to God, true to principle; teach them to respect and to obey the law of God. Then these principles will control their lives, and will be carried out in their association with others. They will love their neighbors as themselves. They will create a pure atmosphere, one that will have an influence to encourage weak souls in the path that leads to holiness and heaven. Let every lesson be of an elevating, ennobling character, and the record made in the books of heaven will be such as you will not be ashamed to meet in the judgment. PM 88.1

Children who receive this kind of instruction will not be a burden, a cause of anxiety, in our institutions; but they will be a strength, a support to those who bear responsibility. They will be prepared to fill places of trust, and by precept and example, will be constantly aiding others to do right.—Letter 74, 1896. (Special Testimony to the Managers and Workers in our Institutions, 12, 13.) PM 89.1

Promise to Those Who Do Their Best—Christ is reviewing your work in every line. He desires you to stand free from the power of Satan, that everyone may recognize the purity of your work. The Lord can commend only that which is worthy of commendation. To those who are striving to do His will, He says with a voice of heavenly sweetness, “Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” PM 89.2

The work that is done to the honor and glory of God will bear the seal of God. Christ will endorse the work of those who will do their best. And as they continue to do their best, they will increase in knowledge, and the character of their work will be improved.... PM 89.3

How glorious the prospect before those who will be learners of Christ, meek and lowly in heart, after the divine Pattern! The Lord Jesus will be your Helper, your Strength, your Deliverance, if you will only believe, and walk humbly before Him.—Letter 153, 1903. PM 89.4

Put God's Cause Above All Interests [A study of the life and work of James and Ellen White in the pioneer days of the church provides a convincing example of unreserved devotion to God's service. Their two surviving sons, Edson and William, were also the objects of their attention and care, though the Whites were required to leave them at times in the care of others. Both boys became ministers of the gospel. When James and Ellen were separated because of the demands of the cause, they comforted themselves with thoughts of fellowship together again at the journey's end.]—No earthly ties, no earthly considerations, should weigh one moment in the scale against duty to the cause and work of God. Jesus severed His connection from everything to save a lost world, and He requires of us a full and entire consecration. There are sacrifices to be made for the interests of God's cause. The sacrifice of feeling is the most keen that is required of us; yet after all it is a small sacrifice. You have plenty of friends, and if the feelings are only sanctified, you need not feel that you are making a very great sacrifice. You do not leave your wife among heathen. You are not called to tread the burning African desert or to face prisons and encounter trial at every step. Be careful how you appeal to your sympathies and let human feelings and personal considerations mingle with your efforts and labors for the cause of God. He demands unselfish and willing service. You can render this and yet do all your duties to your family; but hold this as a secondary matter.—Testimonies for the Church 3:500. PM 89.5