Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers—No. 3


Special Testimonies to Ministers and Workers—No. 3

Melbourne, Aus., August 3, 1892.

Economy to be Practiced in All Things

My Dear Brethren and Sisters,

My mind has been very much exercised for several nights, sleeping and waking, in regard to the work to be done in this country. In this wide missionary field there is a great deal to be done in advancing the cause and work of the Master, and with the great want of means and of workers, we know not how it can be done. We must humble our hearts before God, and offer up sincere, fervent prayer that the Lord, who is rich in resources, will open our way. “The gold and silver is mine,” saith the Lord, “and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” The life of Christ, the Lord of glory, is our example. He came from heaven, where all was riches and splendor; but he laid aside his royal crown, his royal robe, and clothed his divinity with humanity. Why?—That he might meet men where they were. He did not rank himself with the wealthy, the lordly of earth. The mission of Christ was to reach the very poor of earth. He himself worked from his earliest years as the son of a carpenter. Self-denial, did he not know its meaning? The riches and glory of heaven were his own, but for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich. The very foundation of his mission was self-denial, self-sacrifice. The world was his, he made it; yet in a world of his own creating, the Son of man had not where to lay his head. He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” SpTA03 3.1

Now in the establishment and broadening of the work in this country, means will be essential, that we may do a large work in a short time. And the only way we can do, is, in every movement, to keep the eye single to the glory of God, so that it may not be said of us, “They began to build, and were not able to finish.” In leading out to do a broader work, we need, at the very beginning, to put pride and worldly ambition entirely out of our hearts. Having before us the example of Christ, the greatest teacher the world ever knew, we need not make a mistake. “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” We must study the Pattern, and inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” We shall certainly make grave mistakes if we do not keep self-denial and self-sacrifice prominent before the people in every movement. SpTA03 4.1

The work in this missionary field is yet in its infancy. The believers have made only a beginning in the Christian life; and the reason why we have felt so great a burden for this people is, that henceforth they may learn greater things. It doth not yet appear what they shall be through a practical belief in the truth, and the sanctification of the entire being by the truth. The words and example of our Redeemer in his life of humility and self-denial will be the light and strength of his people if they follow Jesus fully, trusting in him at every step. Let it be the language of our hearts, “Be Thou my pattern.” “He that willeth to do his will shall know of the teaching.” Nothing is so desirable as to live as Christ lived, to deny self as Christ denied himself, and to labor with him in seeking to save that which is lost. SpTA03 4.2

In the line of furniture, do not purchase one article merely to make a show. Get things that will be useful, and that will bear handling. Educate the people to practice self-denial. Let it be considered that every dollar may represent a soul, for some one might be brought to a knowledge of the truth through the use of that dollar in the missionary work. We may have very nice taste, and enjoy that which is beautiful and artistic, but had not Christ the very finest, purest, holiest taste? His home was heaven, yet he denied himself; humiliation marked all his life, from the manger to Calvary. In the beginning of the work, we must not reproduce the very things that the Lord has condemned in America, the needless, extravagant expenditure of money to gratify pride and love of display. Let everything of this order be scrupulously shunned. SpTA03 5.1

In eating, dressing, and in the furnishing of our school-building, we want to preserve the simplicity of true godliness. Many will deny themselves and sacrifice much in order to contribute toward making the missionary work a success, and should they see this means expended upon the finest linen and the more expensive furniture or articles for the table, it would have a most unfortunate influence upon these brethren and sisters. Nothing could militate more decidedly against our present and future usefulness in this country. The very first lesson to teach the students is self-denial. Let their eyes, their senses, take in the lesson; let all the appointments of the school convey practical instruction in this line, that the work can be carried forward only by a constant sacrifice. SpTA03 5.2

In every movement let us follow closely the example of our Saviour. I feel deeply over these things. We must consider in what lines to work in order to secure success; we must come to the work with our hearts imbued with the spirit of Christ. Then we shall realize that our work must be carried forward in a humble way. Our ministers and their wives should be an example in plainness of dress; they should dress neatly, comfortably, wearing good material, but avoiding anything like extravagance and trimmings, even if not expensive; for these things tell to our disadvantage. We should educate the youth to simplicity of dress, plainness with neatness. Let the extra trimmings be left out, even though the cost be but a trifle. SpTA03 5.3

Some have had a burden in regard to the wearing of a marriage ring, feeling that the wives of our ministers should conform to this custom. All this is unnecessary. Let the ministers’ wives have the golden link which binds their souls to Jesus Christ, a pure and holy character, the true love and meekness and godliness that are the fruit borne upon the Christian tree, and their influence will be secure anywhere. The fact that a disregard of the custom occasions remark, is no good reason for adopting it. Americans can make their position understood by plainly stating that the custom is not regarded as obligatory in our country. We need not wear the sign, for we are not untrue to our marriage vow, and the wearing of the ring would be no evidence that we were true. I feel deeply over this leavening process which seems to be going on among us, in the conformity to custom and fashion. Not one penny should be spent for a circlet of gold to testify that we are married. In countries where the custom is imperative, we have no burden to condemn those who have their marriage ring; let them wear it if they can do so conscientiously; but let not our missionaries feel that the wearing of the ring will increase their influence one jot or tittle. If they are Christians, it will be manifest in their Christlikeness of character, in their words, in their works, in the home, in association with others; it will be evinced by their patience and long suffering and kindliness. They will manifest the spirit of the Master, they will possess his beauty of character, his loveliness of disposition, his sympathetic heart. SpTA03 6.1