General Conference Daily Bulletin

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General Conference Daily Bulletin

1891

March 20, 1891

Home Missionaries Needed

[Delivered Tuesday forenoon, March 17, 1891.]

EGW

Dear Brethren and Sisters, GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 1

I have had a burden in regard to Battle Creek and the places surrounding it, and other places in Michigan. From time to time, light has been given me with reference to the duty of many of our people to leave this place, and go where they can spread the knowledge of the truth. Testimony on this point was given years ago, and why the people have been so backward in heeding it has been a mystery to me. Here is a testimony that was given June 12, 1868: GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 2

I was shown that a great work might be accomplished in bringing souls to the knowledge of the truth, were proper exertions made. In every town, city, and village there are persons who would embrace the truth if it were brought before them in a judicious manner. Missionaries are needed among us, self-sacrificing missionaries who, like our great Exemplar, would not please themselves, but live to do others good. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 3

I was shown that as a people we are deficient. Our works are not in accordance with our faith. Our faith testifies that we are living under the proclamation of the most solemn and important message that was ever given to mortals. Yet in full view of this fact, our efforts, our zeal, our spirit of self-sacrifice, do not compare with the character of the work. We should awake from the dead, and Christ will give us life. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 4

With many of our brethren and sisters there is a strong inclination to live in Battle Creek. [Many think they are getting the next door to heaven, if they get into Battle Creek. Thus they have expressed it to me again and again.] Families have been coming from all directions to reside here, and many more have their faces set that way. [We can well testify of that, by the inflowing since the last Testimony was given.] Some who have come to Battle Creek, held offices in the little churches from which they moved, and their help and strength were needed there. When such arrive at Battle Creek, and meet with the numerous Sabbath-keepers there, they frequently feel that their testimonies are not needed, and their talent is therefore buried. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 5

Some choose Battle Creek because of the religious privileges it affords, yet wonder that their spirituality decreases after their sojourn there a few months. Is there not a cause? The object of many has been to advantage themselves pecuniarily,—to engage in business that will yield them greater profits. Their expectations in this particular may be realized, while they have dearth of soul, and become dwarfed in spiritual things. They take no special burden upon themselves, because they think they would be out of place. They do not know where to take hold to labor in so large a church, and therefore become idlers in their Master's vineyard. [Now Mark!] All who pursue this course only increase the labor of those who have the burden of the work in the church. They are as so many dead weights. There are many in Battle Creek who are fast becoming withered branches. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 6

Some who have been workers, and who have an experience in the cause of present truth, move to Battle Creek and lay off their burden. Instead of feeling the necessity of double energy, watchfulness, prayer, and diligent performance of duty, they do scarcely anything at all. Those who have burdens to bear in the Office, and have not time for duties aside from their work, are obliged to fill responsible positions in the church, and to perform important, taxing labor, which if they do not do, will remain undone, because these others will not take the burden. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 7

Brethren who wish to change their location, who have the glory of God in view, and feel that individual responsibility rests upon them to do others good, to benefit and save souls for whom Christ withheld not his precious life, should move into towns, and villages where there is little or no light, and where they can be of real service, and bless others with their labor and experience. Missionaries are wanted to go into towns and villages and raise the standard of truth, that God may have his witnesses scattered all over the land that the light of truth may penetrate where it has not yet reached, and the standard of truth be raised where it is not yet known. The brethren should not flock together because it is more agreeable to them, but should seek to fulfill their high calling to do others good, to be instrumental in the salvation of at least one soul. But more may be saved than one. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 8

The sole object of this work should not be merely to increase our reward in heaven. Some are selfish in this respect. In view of what Christ has done for us, and what he suffered for sinners, we should, out of pure, disinterested love for souls, imitate his example by sacrificing our own pleasure and convenience for their good. The joy set before Christ, which sustained him in all his sufferings was the salvation of poor sinners. This should be our joy, and the spur of our ambition in the cause of our Master. In so doing we please God, and manifest our love and devotion to him as his servants. He first loved us, and withheld not from us his beloved Son but gave him from his bosom to die that we might have life. Love, true love for our fellow-men, evinces love to God. We may make a high profession, yet without this love it is nothing. Our faith may lead us even to give our bodies to be burned, yet without self-sacrificing love, such as lived in the bosom of Jesus, and was exemplified in his life, we are as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 9

It is not merely the ministers who are missionaries; every soul who has given himself to God is a missionary. Every one ought to feel that he is under obligation to God to win souls to Christ. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 10

Many of the ministers that labor in different places have little success in winning souls to the truth. What is the reason of this lack?—They have not the living faith that takes God at his word. Those who have this vital connection with God, labor for the one object,—to save souls. They do not merely preach a sermon, but they feel that there is earnest work for them to do. They go to the houses of the people and sit down with the families, taking the Bible with them, and they become missionaries in the home, and wherever they are. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 11

There are some who need to cultivate adaptability,—they need to adapt themselves to the situation,—and then they can do more good in families than they can while spending so much time in sermonizing. God wants you to take hold of the work, and act like men who carry the burden of souls continually. Then you will work earnestly to bring sheaves to the Master. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 12

There are families right here in Battle Creek who should be in other places, working for the salvation of souls. Are you not servants of God? Have you not professed to be his servants, the soldiers of the cross of Christ? But whom are you serving? Where are your conflicts? Where are your trials? Where do you meet with opposition? In meeting opposition you are driven to the Lord of heaven for strength and support; you are driven to the gate of heaven, that the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness may shine into your hearts. Then you will not merely tell what the requirements of God are, but you will tell of his grace and love, of his mercy and joy and peace, which lift you above the temptations that will assail you in every place. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 13

Here in Battle Creek the church is large, and people cannot be looked after individually as in the smaller churches. Then how important that all who come here should decide not to be a dead weight, a burden, but to catch every ray of light from the throne of God, and to educate,educate, EDUCATE themselves, that they may educate others. In doing this, it becomes evident that they are not dead,—they are alive. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 14

And those who are connected with our institutions here can obtain a deeper experience, through earnest prayer and vital connection with God, that they may distinguish the temptations of the enemy amid the common duties and the business of life. Unless they feel the importance of making the improvement that is essential in their characters in order to be better men every day, and thus be enabled to carry the responsibilities that rest upon them, they will be found on the losing side. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 15

The church, too, should be a living, active, working church. The members should not lay their weight upon others, but each should carry his own burden, and fill his allotted place as a worker together with God. What are you doing? God has given every man his work, and you are not to look to others; you are to look to your Master,—to him who has called you to his service. You are to do his will, notwithstanding that infirmities may be upon you. For we have infirmities, and defects of character, and therefore need the grace of God all the time. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 16

If this church becomes a living, active church, its members will have a tender care for the youth among them; they will be looking after those whose hands are hanging down, whose feet have gone astray from the true, safe path. They will not stand idle, not knowing what is the matter with their brother or sister. They will have a living interest in the momentous issues that are before us for this time, and there will be a self-sacrificing people here. That is what God wants us to be. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 17

But some have drifted into Battle Creek whom God has not sent here. If he should speak to them, methinks he would say, as he did to his prophet of old, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” In these words the Lord virtually said to Elijah, “I sent you to Ahab with a message, and how is it that you have strayed away here? Was it because Jezebel threatened to take off your head for bearing the living testimony which resulted in the death of the priests of Baal? What sent you here?” Elijah heard the threats of Jezebel, but he did not wait to hear what God had to say. He fled for his life, and hid in a cave. But God did not leave him there. No, he called him out of the cave, and bade him stand with God upon the mount, and listen to his word. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 18

Have the members of the Battle Creek church the true missionary spirit? Are they following the example of Christ? He did not remain in the pleasant courts of heaven and leave the world to perish. Do we see his example followed among us? Where are our home missionaries? May the Lord awaken an interest in the hearts of those who are guiding this work, that light may shine in the darkened places. Those who are content to sit under the clear light of truth from Sabbath to Sabbath, and do nothing to diffuse the light, will after a time lose it themselves. If we would keep the light, we must be constantly giving it to others. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 19

Jesus did not neglect the villages. The record declares that “he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, and the twelve were with him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, ... which ministered unto him of their substance.” These accompanied Christ for the purpose of doing something. I want to know how the people who gather here from Sabbath to Sabbath are going to stand when the judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and every one shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body? I want to know how we shall meet those souls unsaved whom we might have helped and blessed. To God the souls of all are alike precious; there is no respect of persons with him. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 20

The apostle Paul said, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” It was this that impelled him to his arduous labors and burden-bearing in the cause of Christ. Thus he was constrained to carry the light of truth to those that were in darkness. And there is just as much necessity for us to bear burdens, and to feel that we are constrained. The same love that impelled Paul should impel us. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 21

Are there not families here who will uproot from Battle Creek and go out to settle in some of the adjoining towns and villages, and there exert a saving influence? At first the people of these places may despise the truth, for they have heard much that is false and objectionable in regard to Sabbath-keepers. Now is it not the duty of some who are standing idle here, to go where they can represent Christ and his precious truth. Jesus might have stayed in the courts of heaven till today. He might never have come to our world, but he chose to do it. And why? Because he loved us. He gave his life for us; and what does he say in the word?—“Love one another as I have loved you.” GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 22

When I was at Otsego, I asked the brethren if there were any Sabbath-keepers in the towns and villages around them. They said, not that they were aware of. I answered, “Then there is one thing that I would be aware of. I would see that the light of truth was shining in these places.” Let a family move into each place,—a family whose members love Jesus, and who will walk with the cross of Calvary in view, who will lie low at the feet of Christ, because the more humble they are, the clearer will be their views of Christ and his matchless loveliness, and the great sacrifice that he has made to save perishing souls. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 23

Jesus left the courts of heaven, he laid off his royal robes and his royal crown, to undertake the salvation of the world, to bring many sons and daughters to God. He clothed his divinity with humanity. That was a humiliation; but he came still lower. He was poor; he worked at the carpenter's trade with his father, and in this act gave honor to all labor and to all honest poverty. So let no one, whatever his position, feel at liberty to despise or oppress the poor, or to treat any soul with harshness; for Christ humbled himself to save all. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 24

No matter where it is,—in the Sanitarium, the publishing house, the College, or any other department,—you are not at liberty to cherish a feeling of envy or jealousy, or to speak harshly or impatiently. If we are Christians, Christ dwelling in us will lead us to represent him in character; and when the love of Jesus lives in the soul, let me tell you that your harsh spirit, your haughty independence, your authoritative manner, will all be laid aside. You will then feel that you are yourself a sinner, in need of the grace of God, and that he has borne with you, and borne with you long and patiently. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 25

O, How long he has suffered us! How patient he has been with our mistakes! and yet many of us will do just as the man did who was forgiven the great debt, who went out and took his neighbor by the throat, saying, “Pay me that thou owest!” Such a man fails to remember how much he was forgiven, and he will act out his own impetuous, wicked disposition, and make offenders feel that they are in his power. There is a great deal of this work here in Battle Creek, but we want all who indulge this spirit to understand that unless they are converted, they will never see the kingdom of heaven. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 26

What is our work in this world?—To win souls to Christ. Hence we are to study the life of Christ, for he is our example. At some of our camp-meetings I have seen men strolling around on the outside of the ground during the time of service. I asked, “Why are you here, instead of listening to the discourse?” “I know all about that subject; I have heard it several times,” was the answer. “How do you know,” I said, “but that God has given his messenger a word for you?” Such ones are in the position of the rich young man who came to Christ, saying, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer was, “Keep the commandments.” But he rejoined, “All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?” GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 27

Thus many will say, “I have done the best that I knew.” Then you should learn of Christ how to do better. If you are doing the best you know, then, for Christ's sake, put yourselves in the channel of light, where the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will shine into the heart, and you will know how to do better. God wants us to improve all our powers, and to make use of all the opportunities he has given us for soul-culture. He wants us to learn every day in the school of Christ. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 28

Every one in the Office of Publication, needs, moment by moment, to receive wisdom from above. If there is light anywhere that he can get, he should be where he can receive it. And when the workers there feel as they should the responsibility of their position, it will make them solemn and prayerful in the doing of the work. They will do their best all the time. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 29

Now we want light, and we may have it on this occasion if we will open our hearts to receive it. When we have done that, we shall understand that Battle Creek is missionary ground, and we are laborers together with God. We want to understand better how to work for souls. Right around us there are many, both young and old, that need our help. You can engage in missionary work right here, and thus be learning how to work for others; then you will be prepared to go out of Battle Creek to labor. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 30

You are not here to gather around you a select few of your favorites, who virtually say, “You praise me, and I will praise you; you help me, and I will help you.” In doing this you will leave a large class uncared for,—souls for whom you are responsible before God. When you place yourselves where you should be in order to hear the voice of God, you will come before him every day, saying, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord will give you a burden for souls, and will touch your lips as he did those of Isaiah, with a live coal from off his altar. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 31

There are fields for labor opening everywhere, and calls for schools in every direction. Right in our own State are most favorable openings for missions, places where churches should be built, and the light of truth shine forth. But where is the means to sustain the work? GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 32

There is just as much self-denial required now as when we first started in the work, when we were only a little handful of people, when we knew what self-denial meant, what self-sacrifice meant, when we tried to get out the little papers, little leaflets, that should go to those who were in darkness. There are a few connected with the Office today who were with us then. For years we received no wages, except barely enough to furnish us with the plainest food and clothing. We were glad to wear second-hand clothes, and sometimes we had hardly food enough to sustain our strength. Everything else was put into the work. After a time my husband received six dollars a week, and we lived on that, and I worked with him in the cause. Others labored in a similar way. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 33

Brethren, one after another of the old standard-bearers has fallen, and others have entered into their labors. We do not want you to forget that those men who have grown gray in the cause of God, and still survive, are not to be neglected or ignored. They should be highly esteemed for their works’ sake. Those that have come in to take up the work, after it has been made a success, should walk very modestly. They should manifest the spirit of self-sacrifice. God means that the institutions here shall be carried on by self-sacrifice, just as the foundation was laid. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 34

God wants every one here to receive of his Spirit. He wants to give us of his power. He wants us to acknowledge his dealing with us in the past. We are not to discredit or despise it and go to work in a different way. It is best for us to work where God works, and to recognize his leadings all the way along, from the time when the mighty cleaver of truth took us out from the world and made us a separate people. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 35

I repeat that we should be missionaries; we want to “hold the fort.” Wherever we can find among us men of ability, we should endeavor to bring them in and connect them with the work; but if they will not seek in every way to catch the light from heaven, that they may know how to lead the people in the right way, God can do without them. He is not dependent upon any human being or human ability. Your ability will never give you an entrance into heaven. The question is, Are you walking with God? Is Christ abiding in your heart? Does the law of kindness proceed from your lips? Do you feel the necessities of those who need encouragement and help? Those who represent the cause must stand high before the people in order to win their confidence; and when; standing in God, you have the confidence of the people, the cause will be built up. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 36

The God of heaven is the ruler over all. No man or set of men can rule in these institutions in Battle Creek. We want you to know, brethren, that God stands at the head. He will take charge of his own work. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 37

God has chosen us to be a peculiar people among the nations of the earth, and through us he desires to send the light of truth to all the world. Are you doing your part in the work? God help you to feel that you are to deny self, to sacrifice self, remembering that Jesus for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. Christ is coming, and he is coming to investigate the work of every one,—to see whether it is wrought in God and in an unselfish way, or the opposite. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 38

God does not want any to engage in this work except those who have the spirit of sacrifice, and who feel that God is with them, and that he has called them to share in the sacred work for this time. I want to see the blessing of God, the dews and the showers of grace, come upon his people in rich measure. Remember, he bids you to bring all the tithes and offerings into the storehouse, and he promises that if you do this, you shall have his blessing; that he will open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing so great that there shall not be room enough to receive it. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 39

When I see so little of the spirit of self-sacrifice manifested among us, I wonder if our people believe that Christ is soon coming.Do you believe it?A man will act out all the faith he has. We used to say so in 1843 and 1844. Brethren, do you now believe that the Lord is coming? Do you believe it in your hearts, or is it a mere theory, without any real faith or power? The world will present its proposals to draw you away from the work, and Satan will tempt you to accept them. If you can be easily divorced from the work, you may depend upon it the bribe will come, because Satan wants every soul that he can lead. Now, brethren and sisters, we want to know who are on the sacrificing side; we want to know who will be on the side of God, the side of heaven, the side of eternal life. GCDB March 20, 1891, par. 40