Manuscript Releases, vol. 13 [Nos. 1000-1080]


MR No. 1073—Christ Assigns Each Disciple His Task; Workers Not to Enter Into Controversy With Opposers of Truth

(Written December 17, 1902, to Elder and Mrs. E. W. Farnsworth, from “Elmshaven,” Sanitarium, California.)

I have received many letters from you, and I wish to express my thanks to you for them. I shall not be able to write much to you in this mail. I have much writing to do before General Conference, and I have come up to the time for the Australian mail unfitted for letter-writing. Sometimes my head is too weary to be taxed further. 13MR 373.1

I can but express my gratitude to God for the health that I enjoy. I have reason to be very grateful to my heavenly Father. I can go up and down stairs as quickly as anyone in the house, and this exercise does not tax me in the least. I do not sleep as many hours as I should like to. Often I cannot sleep past twelve o'clock. I rise, and after building a fire in the open fireplace in my office room, I begin writing. 13MR 373.2

Oh, how I long to see Christian character developed in our churches. How I long to see ministerial efficiency. There has been, and still is, the greatest danger of one man's meddling with another man's work, not from a disinterested desire to help him but to confuse him. But the Lord has not given the one who is neglecting his own work the outlines of his brother's work. How can he improve the methods of his fellow-worker by making suggestions and criticisms that only harass and discourage? If he will attend to his own work, the Great Teacher, though unseen, will take the oversight of the work that in His wisdom He has entrusted to other hands. 13MR 373.3

Christ is the One who gives His disciples their work. Read His answer to Peter when Peter asked Him concerning the work of John. “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Peter asked. And Jesus answered, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me” [John 21:21, 22]. 13MR 374.1

Today many are making the mistake that Peter made. They are so busily engaged in trying to arrange their brother's work according to their own ideas that they neglect the work that God has placed in their hands. They lose all sense of the responsibility resting on them. 13MR 374.2

Let us remember that one man may not understand the nature of the work that the next man has to do. He is not to feel that it is his place to tear to pieces what his brother is doing. He who attempts to unravel another man's work will find in his hands a tangle that he cannot straighten. 13MR 374.3

Let every man stand in his lot and place, doing faithfully the work given him. It is the questioning, criticizing spirit that is cherished that puts men in hard places. Let men humble their souls before God, feeling that it is a crime to criticize and condemn. Satan has his snares prepared for the feet of the one who is eager to place himself where God has not placed him. 13MR 374.4

How rapidly God's work would move forward if, when a man received a work from God, he would put his whole attention on the faithful performance of this work; and if the next man, receiving his task, would also do with humility and fidelity the work entrusted to him, perfecting it in the simplicity of true faith and by earnest prayer. 13MR 374.5

Let men cease to complain and criticize, and do their appointed work. Let them be guided by the Lord. Then the different parts of the work of God, varied in kind and brought together by Christ, the Master-worker, will be found to fit perfectly. 13MR 375.1

We are in danger of encouraging one another to lean upon human aid. It is only too true that man has educated himself to look to man for directions and guidance in spiritual service. Why cannot each man and each woman fill the place given them, with the realization that if they ask for directions, seeking God for help, He will give liberally, and upbraid not. Then men will not lean upon men, but upon God, and from Him they would receive intelligence and keen perceptions. 13MR 375.2

There should be perfect unity among us, but this can never be until we all draw our strength from Him who can supply every need. 13MR 375.3

Let us not place man where God should be. Let God's people expect everything from Him through Christ, believing that they will receive power from the highest Source of power. Then we shall have grace to impart, because of the grace so richly given in response to the earnest, sincere prayer of faith. 13MR 375.4

Christ is close at hand. “We are laborers together with God.” The way to the throne of grace is open. Christ will teach every one who asks for wisdom, how to accomplish his work with exactitude, so that it will be in harmony with the work placed in other hands. 13MR 375.5

Let every church member depend on the strong arm that will never weaken or fail. Lean your whole weight on Christ. Build your house on the sure foundation. Go forth in the power of the grace of God, quickened and sanctified, and inspired by His precepts and promises. Go forth as heralds of the gospel. Enter into no controversy, and engage in no contention. [This counsel arrived on the day our leading ministers in New Zealand were publicly challenged to a debate. At first they thought they should accept the challenge, but turned away from it after reading this letter. For details, see Australasian Union Conference Record, March 15, 1903, or S. R. Goldstone, Nothing to Fear, pp. 54-56. Goldstone's book was published by the North New Zealand Conference in 1983.] Lift up the standard of truth; yes, lift it up. We have a Leader to whom has been promised all power—power against which the energies of earth and hell cannot prevail. Remember that the best way to combat error is to present truth. 13MR 375.6

Let us shun profane and vain babblings, and hold forth the word of life. Do not dwell on the objections advanced by those who oppose the truth. Speak the truth in simplicity. Let no word be spoken that will wound and bruise hearts. 13MR 376.1

“It is written”—the word of the living God—this is your weapon. What wonderful comparisons are made in the Scriptures to describe the truth! It is “the sword of the Spirit,” “sharper than any two-edged sword.” It is the “sharp arrow,” by which the wicked are slain. It is “the power of God unto salvation.” [At the end of the typed copy, Ellen White wrote, “Not completed.”]—Letter 203, 1902. 13MR 376.2

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

July 19, 1984.

Entire Letter Released.