The Signs of the Times



August 9, 1877

Missionary Work at Home


Many are ever restless and disappointed, seeking for some greater work than that which now occupies them. Some mothers long to engage in missionary labor, while they neglect the simplest duties lying directly in their path. The children are neglected, the home is not made cheerful and happy for the family, scolding and complaining are of frequent occurrence, and the young people grow up feeling that home is the most uninviting of all places. As a consequence, they impatiently look forward to the time when they shall leave it, and it is with little reluctance that they launch out into the great world, unrestrained by home influence, and the tender counsel of the hearth-stone. ST August 9, 1877, par. 1

The parents, whose aim should have been to bind these young hearts to themselves, and guide them aright, squander their God-given opportunities, are blind to the most important duties of their lives, and vainly aspire to work in the broad missionary field. ST August 9, 1877, par. 2

As I have marked these unhappy, restless spirits, and deplored their power to shadow the lives of others, the thought would arise: What a fearful deception is upon them! How terrible a mistake they are making! ST August 9, 1877, par. 3

Some of this class pronounce the faithful Christian mother worldly, as they mark how attentive she is to the wants of her husband and children, how zealous in performing the sweet home duties. They sigh because of her lack of spirituality, thinking the labor wasted that goes to make home a place of comfort and happy rest. Their minds fail to understand how the performance of these humble tasks can satisfy the heart. ST August 9, 1877, par. 4

Jesus made the lowly paths of human life sacred by his example. For thirty years he was an inhabitant of Nazareth. His life was one of diligent industry. He, the Majesty of Heaven, walked the streets, clad in the simple garb of a common laborer. He toiled up and down the mountain steeps, going to and from his humble work. Angels were not sent to bear him on their pinions up the tiresome ascent, or to lend their strength in performing his lowly task. Yet when he went forth to contribute to the support of the family by his daily toil, he possessed the same power as when he wrought the miracle of feeding the five thousand hungry souls on the shore of Galilee. ST August 9, 1877, par. 5

But he did not employ his divine power to lessen his burdens or lighten his toil. He had taken upon himself the form of humanity with all its attendant ills, and he flinched not from its severest trials. He lived in a peasant's home, he was clothed in coarse garments, he mingled with the lowly, he toiled daily with patient hands. His example shows us that it is man's duty to be industrious, that labor is honorable. ST August 9, 1877, par. 6

His life, written upon the pages of history, should encourage the poor and the lowly to perform contentedly the humble duties of their lot. Honorable work has received the sanction of Heaven, and men and women may hold the closest connection with God, yet occupy the humblest position in life. Jesus was as faithfully fulfilling his mission when hiding his divinity with the humble occupation of a carpenter, as when employed in healing the sick, or walking upon the white-capped billows to the aid of his terrified disciples. Christ dignified the humble employments of life, by occupying a menial condition, that he might be able to reach the mass of mankind and exalt the race to become fit inmates for the paradise of God. ST August 9, 1877, par. 7

For a long time, Jesus dwelt at Nazareth, unhonored and unknown, that he might teach men how to live near God while discharging the humble duties of life. It was a mystery to angels that Christ, the Majesty of Heaven, should condescend, not only to take upon himself humanity, but to assume its heaviest burdens and most humiliating offices. This he did in order to become like one of us, that he might be acquainted with the toil, the sorrows, and fatigue of the children of men, that he might be better able to sympathize with their distresses and understand their trials. ST August 9, 1877, par. 8

Those who divorce religion from their business are reproved by the example of Jesus. Hidden away among the hills of Nazareth, yet having such claims upon heaven that he could command the entire angel host, he was a simple carpenter, working for wages, and living a godly life in the face of all discouragements. ST August 9, 1877, par. 9

It requires much more grace and stern discipline of character to work for God in the capacity of mechanic, merchant, lawyer, or farmer, carrying the precepts of Christianity into the ordinary business of life, than to labor as an acknowledged missionary in the open field, where one's position is understood, and half its difficulties obviated by that very fact. It requires strong spiritual nerve and muscle to carry religion into the work-shop and business office, sanctifying the details of every-day life, and ordering every worldly transaction according to the standard of a Bible Christian. ST August 9, 1877, par. 10

Jesus, in his thirty years of seclusion at Nazareth, toiled and rested, ate and slept, from week to week and from year to year, the same as his humble contemporaries. He called no attention to himself as a marked personage, yet he was the world's Redeemer, the adored of angels, doing, all the time, his Father's work, living out a lesson that should remain for humanity to copy to the end of time. ST August 9, 1877, par. 11

This essential lesson of contented industry in the necessary duties of life, however humble, is yet to be learned by the greater portion of Christ's followers. If there is no human eye to criticise our work, nor voice to praise or blame, it should be done just as well as if the Infinite One himself were personally to inspect it. We should be as faithful in the minor details of our business, as we would in the larger affairs of life. ST August 9, 1877, par. 12

God is testing and proving us by our daily lives, watching the development of our characters, weighing our moral worth. Those who slight the spirit of the word of God in their business life, as carpenters, lawyers, and merchants, are unfaithful in matters of eternal interest, since it is the life that indicates the spiritual advancement, and registers upon the Book of God the unchangeable figures of the future. The angels are mournfully inscribing a fearful record of slighted duties and neglected opportunities against many who make exalted professions. Those who are unfaithful in little things, cannot be entrusted with the true riches of the kingdom. ST August 9, 1877, par. 13

Mrs. E. G. White, in Health Reformer.