Ms 42, 1898

1898

Ms 42, 1898

To Every Man His Work

NP

March 17, 1898

See variant Ms 65a, 1898. Portions of this manuscript are published in KC 153-159; RH Supp. 6/21/1898.

We are laborers together with God. We must have spiritual workers, not only workers who labor in the pulpit for the churches, but those who will do personal work among the people. Too much time is devoted to the churches in preaching. This is not attended with the best results. The work of the Lord’s ambassadors is to organize a company of workers to hunt for the souls who need help, but hours are spent in preaching that had better be devoted to personal house-to-house labor. Ms42-1898.1

In the spirit of Christ, with a heart all aglow with His love, seek to win the hearts of those in the family. Give faithful admonitions and instructions from the Word of God. There is appropriate and applicable Scripture that needs to be presented, and to be presented in the love of Christ and in love for the souls for whom Christ has died. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.] But many souls have had no personal labor. Words of kindly instruction in the application of Scriptures have not been spoken to them. Ms42-1898.2

When a church is visited by wise and experienced workmen, let these men find out if there is not something for them to do for that church that will be a blessing to families. Converse with them in regard to their spiritual advancement. Show them that they are under obligation to work as those who have received the grace of God. The missionary spirit must be kept awake, and in order for this spirit to live, the members of the church must be laborers together with God. Ms42-1898.3

It is time that unselfish consecrated workmen should enter into families who have already accepted the truth, and yet have not worked for its advancement. It is time that our preaching brethren should minister not only in the congregation, but in families. Come close to your brethren; seek for them, help them; come close to their hearts as one touched with the feelings of their infirmities. Thus we may achieve victories that our small faith has not grasped. The members of these families should be given some labor to perform for the good of souls. Mutual love and confidence will give them moral force to be laborers together with God. Ms42-1898.4

Pastors of churches are remiss in ministering, in educating faithfully the members of the church. If they are not acquainted with their duty in this respect, they need a teacher to instruct them. “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mystery of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” [1 Corinthians 4:1, 2.] “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh will find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [Matthew 24:45-51.] Ms42-1898.5

A steward identifies himself with his master. His master’s interests become his. He has accepted the responsibilities of a steward, and he must act in the master’s stead, doing as the master would do if he were presiding over his own goods. The position is one of dignity in that his master trusts him. If a steward in any wise acts selfishly, and turns the advantages gained in treading with his lord’s goods to his own advantage, he has perverted the trust reposed in him. The master can no longer look upon him as a servant to be trusted, on one whom he can depend upon. Ms42-1898.6

Every Christian is a steward of God, entrusted with His goods. Ministers and laymen have a work committed to them as individuals. All who are connected by faith with our Lord Jesus Christ have ministry to perform. Those who do not take their position on the Lord’s side ought to, without delay, for they will have to give an account of themselves to God. Christ paid the ransom for them as verily as for every professed Christian. If they despise the gift, the question will be asked, “Who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before who whose eyes Jesus Christ has been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” [Galatians 3:1.] Ms42-1898.7

Whether you are believers or unbelievers, you are the Lord’s property, bought with a price. You may ignore your relationship with God as His children. Whose children then are you? Children of the devil, and his deeds you are content to do. But all the influence you might have exercised by using your talent in behalf of truth, and by co-operating with God, all the improvement your talents would have made, if put into actual service through the provision made for you to co-operate with God, will be charged to your account. You stubbornly held yourself on Satan’s side, giving your influence to the great apostate; and all the good you might have done through the atoning sacrifice, but did not do, will be charged against you when you are weighed in the balances, and found wanting. You had a work to do. Ms42-1898.8

A special stewardship was entrusted to you, but you would not accept the trust. Christ crucified was presented to you. The Spirit of God pled with you. By being lifted up on the cross, Christ sought to draw you to Himself. But your stubborn will would not yield to His invitations. His appeals were resisted. You are stewards, notwithstanding, but unfaithful, dishonorable stewards, burying your talents in the world, serving Satan in the place of serving the Lord. Impenitent sinner, what excuse will you give to God for all your wasted opportunities? Ms42-1898.9

Ministers of Jesus Christ, are you faithful in setting before families by personal effort their accountability to seek and to save that which is lost? Do you enter into this work, educating young men by taking them with you, and teaching them how to work? “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” [1 Corinthians 4:2.] He may not be an eloquent speaker, but he can present the truth in the clearest simplicity. He can work intelligently, doing his best according to his ability; and if he is faithful, God will give him wisdom and increase his talents. Ms42-1898.10

To some are entrusted larger responsibilities than to others. But if you have only one talent, you may increase it, by use, to two. Then by working humbly, trustingly, you may add to the two, two more. Thus the work in your charge may be continually growing. But there are a large number of idle stewards. These are to be found among those who bear credentials as ministers. But they do not minister, carrying the burden of souls. Dishonest, idle shepherds, they do not have travail for the souls that are perishing all around them. Ms42-1898.11

Let every church member carefully consider his responsibilities, and look himself in the face. Become acquainted with yourself. Urge home upon your own hearts that you are not to seek to make yourself a specially, for effect, for praise, but a speciality in seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Enquire seriously, Am I faithful? Be first a most faithful steward over yourself. Search your own heart, and often compare it with the great mirror of the Word of God, until, tried and searched by God, you will be approved of Him, not having your own righteousness, but the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Strengthened by His might in the inner man, you will be accepted as a vessel unto honor. Ms42-1898.12

You may say, I have not large means and can do but little with the little I have. All the Lord asks of you is to be a faithful steward, to render to God a tenth of all your increase without stopping to measure the matter to see how you are coming out. You who have but little means, render back to Him the portion belonging to Him, for it is not yours. It is a serious matter to rob God. Thus you deprive yourself of the blessing He has promised to bestow if you exercise faithful stewardship. If you have been untrue to God, if you show that you will not do according to the agreement He has made with you, will He bless you with facilities for obtaining more means? Ms42-1898.13

You keep yourself under condemnation as unfaithful stewards by working contrary to a “Thus saith the Lord.” You deprive the treasury of God of your proportion of His agreement with you, because you chose to walk in the light of the sparks of your own kindling. In your finite wisdom, you think you are making better terms with yourself than God has made with you. How then, if you are an unfaithful steward with the least, can the Lord entrust to you larger responsibilities? Ms42-1898.14

God wants all His stewards to be exact in following divine arrangements. They are not to offset the Lord’s plans with some deed of charity, some gift, or some offering, done or given when and how they, the human agents, shall see fit. God has made His plan known, and all who co-operate with Him will carry out His plan, instead of daring to attempt to improve on it by their own arrangements. Those who honor a “Thus saith the Lord,” who accept exactly what the Lord has devised, will do according to God’s plan. God will honor them, and work in their behalf, for we have His pledged word that He will open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing, such as here will not be room enough to receive. Ms42-1898.15

It is a very poor policy for men to seek to improve on God’s plan, and invent a makeshift, averaging up their good impulses in this and that instance, and offsetting them against all that is required by God. God calls upon you to give every jot of influence to His own arrangement and ordinances. We are to strike true and faithful figures in tithing, and then say to the Lord, I have done as thou hast commanded me. If you will honor me by trusting me with thy goods to trade upon, I will by thy grace be a faithful steward, doing all in my power to bring meat to Thy house, and I will seek to instruct others how to work in the same lines. Ms42-1898.16

Bear in mind, “Moreover, it is required of a steward that he be found faithful.” [Verse 2.] Men who have large responsibilities are to be sure that they are not robbing God in any jots or tittles, when so much is involved, as is so plainly stated in Malachi. Here we are told that a blessing is given for a faith disposition of the tithes, and a curse for the covetous retention of the money which should flow into the treasury. They ought we not to be sure to work on the safe side, so dealing with God in handling the property lent us on trust that no shadow of reproach will fall on us? Ms42-1898.17

“Will a man rob God? yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse, for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Malachi 3:8-12.] Ms42-1898.18

I need not ask, Will not God bless those who are faithful? We have His pledged word. But the blessing of God is withdrawn from dishonest, covetous church members in this life. God says it, and what God says is true. Who of you, claiming to be the children of God, will venture to meet your delinquencies when the books shall be opened, and every man judged according to the deeds done in the body? Ms42-1898.19

The first point we need to settle is that we are not to look upon the property we are handling as our own, with which we may do as we please. It is the Lord’s, to be administered in accordance with His prescribed plans. Be faithful in giving to the Lord the specified amount He has directed you to give. Then present the great mystery of godliness, lifting up Christ, and saying, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. Ms42-1898.20

Every church member who has been truly converted is to be given some work. “The cause that I knew not, I searched out,” Job declared. [Job 29:16.] Consideration is to be given as to what service for God means. It means that we are to do the same kind of ministry that Christ did when He was in our world. In this work, whether we are rich or poor, we are called upon to wear Christ’s yoke, and learn of Him to be meek and lowly in heart. Some more especially may be given the work of setting forth Christ from the pulpit, opening the oracles of God to the churches. Yet they should not seclude themselves from visiting family, talking with them, praying with them, exhorting them, encouraging those who need encouraging, and presenting a “Thus saith the Lord” to meet every case of deficiency. Altogether too little of this work is done. Ms42-1898.21

Personal labor is greatly needed. Many, many souls might be saved if those who claim to be followers of Christ would work as Christ worked, living not to please self, but to glorify God, acting as missionaries, showing genuine love for the Master by making every possible use of their entrusted talents. From the very nature of work in Christ’s lines, those who do it will lose sight of self. Ms42-1898.22

We are called upon to love souls as Christ loved them, to feel a travail of soul that sinners shall be converted. Present the matchless love of Christ. Hide self out of sight. Oh, what care should be taken, by all who claim to be Christians, that they do not call their passions and self-importance, religion! By showing vanity, by longing for distinction, many hide the person of Christ, and expose themselves to view. There is such self-importance in their own ideas and ways, and they cherish such a pleasing sense of their own smartness, that the Lord cannot bestow His Holy Spirit upon them. If He did, they would misinterpret it, and exalt themselves still higher because of it. Their self-pleasing ideas are a great hindrance to the advancement of the work. Whatever part they act, self is the main picture presented. Their own zeal and devotion is thought to be the great power of truth. Unaware to themselves, all such are unfaithful stewards. They swerve the work into wrong lines. Self-importance leads them where they will be left to make false moves. Ms42-1898.23

We are not to exalt the work of any man, magnifying him and praising his judgment. The first rising of self is the beginning of your fall, your separation from Christ. We cannot in any degree exalt self without being humbled. As Christians, we are to make the light of Christ’s truth shine. Self is to be kept out of sight. Christ is the Truth and the Light. He is the mirror from which to reflect truly every work done to His name’s glory. The world needs light. “Let your light so shine before me that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16.] Ms42-1898.24

What makes it so hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Why are riches, in the place of becoming a precious treasure used to advance the work and cause of God, made a curse, separating the soul from God? Why allow them to lead to the idolatry of self? God wants you, rich men, to use your goods as a sacred trust not your own. He has made you stewards over these goods. You are to calculate wisely, employing your powers to use to the very best advantage the means entrusted. Ms42-1898.25

But oh, how many of God’s gifts have been misused, because those to whom they were given did not have the fervor of the love of Christ in the soul! There is great need of each one doing his best. There are those who would have used wisely the talents given them if they had been left to struggle and depend on their capabilities. But they became the possessors of means, and they lost the incentive to cultivate their talents, and make all possible of themselves by communicating what they had. An abundance of money has spoiled them for faithfully fulfilling their stewardship. Ms42-1898.26

Let all who claim to be Christians deal wisely with the Lord’s goods. God is making an inventory of the money lent you and the spiritual advantages given you. Will you as stewards make careful inventory? Will you examine whether you are using economically all that God has placed in your charge, or whether you are wasting the Lord’s goods by selfish outlay in order to make a display? Would that all that is spent needlessly were laid up as treasure in heaven! Ms42-1898.27

God gives more than money to His stewards. Your talent of imparting is a gift. What are you communicating of the gifts of God, in your words, in your tender sympathy? Are you allowing your money to go into the enemy’s ranks to ruin the ones you seek to please? Then again, the knowledge of the truth is a talent. There are many souls in darkness that might be enlightened by true, faithful words from you. There are hearts that are hungering for sympathy, perishing away from God. Your sympathy may help them. Ms42-1898.28

The Lord has need of your words, dictated by His Holy Spirit. He has need of the investment of your means. He needs your work for the salvation of souls. You can permit your means to be taken out of your hands to please your children. You may allow the enemy to rob you of the means that God calls for, to be used in lifting up the standard of truth in places where the people have not yet heard the message. Your means may be sunk in worldly investments, and turned into worldly channels. [It] may be used to do no one any good. But the Lord, the Owner of all, will call you to render your account to Him. Ms42-1898.29

The first work for all Christians to do is to search the Scriptures with most earnest prayer, that they may have that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul from every thread of selfishness. If the truth is received into the heart, it works like good leaven, until every power is brought into subjection to the will of God. Then you can no more help shining than the sun can help shining. You have striven to separate from every kind of rubbish, and to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. But if you do not have the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, you will reveal this by your outward insincerity. You will show this by revealing a heart that is pleased with vanity and outward adornment, by using the means that come into your hands to gratify the unsanctified soul with idols of some order. How small is the treasure laid up in heaven by such. How little do they communicate to others in sacred ministry! Ms42-1898.30

All natural gifts are to be sanctified as precious endowments. They are to be consecrated to God, that they may minister for the Master. All social advantages are talents. They are not to be devoted to self-pleasing, amusement, or self-gratification. Money and estates are the Lord’s, to be used wholly to honor Him, for He has pledged His word that if we use His entrusted goods as faithful stewards, we shall be rich in blessings, of which we shall have a supply to bless others. But if we regard the advantages given to us as our own, to be used according to our pleasure, to make a display, and create a sensation, the Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, is put to shame by the characters of His professed followers. Ms42-1898.31

Has God given you intellect? Is it for you to manage according to your inclinations? Can you glorify God by being educated to represent characters in plays, and to amuse an audience with fables? Has not the Lord given you intellect to be used to His name’s glory in proclaiming the gospel of Christ? If you desire a public career, there is a work that you may do. Help the class you represent in plays. Come to the reality. Give your sympathy where it is needed by actually lifting up the bowed down. Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical performances. The experience and character of all who engage in this work will be in accordance with the food given to the mind. Ms42-1898.32

The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no acting, in what He did. He gave a living Gift, capable of suffering humiliation, neglect, shame, [and] reproach. This Christ did, that He might rescue the fallen. While human beings were instituting schemes and methods to destroy Him, the Son of the infinite God came to our world to give an example of the great work to be done to redeem and save man. But today the proud and disobedient are striving to acquire a great name and great honor from their fellow men by using their God-given endowments to amuse. This they do instead of calling upon them to behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. Ms42-1898.33

God’s great and strange work is to redeem and save, and thus repair the ruin that sin has made. Some see many things in the Bible that to them sanction a course of action that God will never approve. But when God converts human agents, they will flee to Christ, their life, to be hid with Him in God. They will lift up their eyes to the perpetual desolation which sin has made and is making, and will pray that they may be co-laborers with Christ. They will begin to repair the old waste places which have been made by high and low in the law of God. Ms42-1898.34

All who desire a place of distinction have an opportunity to wear the yoke of Christ. “Learn of me,” says the great Teacher, “for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.] Let the cry of the soul be, “O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. ... For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. ... And it shall be said in that day, Lo, This is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” [Isaiah 25:1, 4, 9.] Ms42-1898.35

The gift of correct example is a great thing. But many gather about the soul an atmosphere that is malarious. These know not in this very day the things that belong to their peace. They have, to a great degree, lost the faculty of spiritual discernment. They call good evil, and evil good. Ms42-1898.36

The gifts of speech, of knowledge, of sympathy and love, communicate a knowledge of Christ. All these gifts are to be converted to God. The Lord stands in need of them; He calls for them. All are to act a part in preparing their own souls and the souls of others to dedicate their talents to God. Every soul, every gift, is to be laid under contribution to God. All are to co-operate with God in the work of saving souls. The talents you possess are given you of God to make you efficient co-laborers with Christ. There are hearts hungering for sympathy, perishing for the help and assistance God has given you to give to them. Our churches are sickly because they do not do their appointed work. They are not as God would have them be. O that they would awake from their lethargy. Ms42-1898.37

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ms42-1898.38

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Ephesians 6:10-18.] Ms42-1898.39