The Signs of the Times


June 12, 1884

Value of Cheerful Service


“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” ST June 12, 1884, par. 1

The Lord looks with approval upon the works of his faithful servants. He says of the church of Ephesus, “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience;” for my name's sake thou “hast labored, and hast not fainted.” But while he takes account of faithful service, he is no less exact to mark neglect of duty or its unwilling performance. It has always been the duty of God's chosen people to labor unselfishly; but some neglect the work they ought to do, and others are overburdened to make up for their deficiencies. If all would cheerfully do their part, they would be sustained; but those who complain and murmur at every step will receive neither help nor reward. ST June 12, 1884, par. 2

God was displeased with the children of Israel because they murmured against him, and against Moses, whom he had sent to be their deliverer. In a marvelous manner he brought them out from their bondage in the land of Egypt, that he might elevate and ennoble them, and make them a praise in the earth. But there were difficulties to be encountered, and weariness and privations to be endured. It was necessary for them to bear these hardships. God was bringing them from a state of degradation, and fitting them to occupy an honorable place among the nations, and to receive important and sacred trusts. ST June 12, 1884, par. 3

They did not consider that they were receiving everything that was of value. They forgot their bitter service in Egypt. They forgot the goodness and power of God displayed in their behalf in their deliverance from bondage. They forgot how their children were spared when the destroying angel passed over Egypt. They forgot the grand exhibition of divine power at the Red Sea, when Jehovah proclaimed, “Here shall thy proud waves be stayed,” and the waters were rolled together, forming a solid wall. They forgot that while they had crossed safely in the path that had been opened for them, the armies of their enemies, attempting to follow them, were overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. They only saw and felt their present inconveniences and trials; and instead of saying, “God has done great things for us; whereas we were slaves, he is making of us a great nation,” they talked of the hardness of the way, and wondered when their weary pilgrimage would end. ST June 12, 1884, par. 4

We are exhorted not to murmur as they murmured. But many whom God has permitted to become co-laborers with him, perhaps has even exalted to high positions of trust, forget that he is specially honoring them. They are weary, and they make themselves miserable by letting their minds constantly dwell upon their weariness. They torment themselves with fears, forebodings, morbid fancies, and borrowed troubles; and, forgetting the goodness and mercy of God, they pass many sad hours complaining of the trials they have to bear. They become so gloomy that no circumstances, however favorable, can make them happy, for the spirit of happiness is not in them. ST June 12, 1884, par. 5

God does not bind upon any one burdens so heavy that at every step he must complain of the load he is obliged to bear. It is the friction, and not the constant motion that wears the machinery. It is the continual worry, and not the work they do, that is killing these persons. They covet some blessing, either real or imaginary, which is just beyond their reach; but if they were to gain this cherished object, it would only excite a desire for something else. The present is clouded because they under-value the good that they enjoy. They look away from the honors they possess that they have not earned, and the love that they have not merited, and want to stand a little higher. They cherish the disagreeable, and by their thoughts and conversation, excite a nervous irritability which lies at the foundation of a diseased imagination and real suffering. God does not propose to work a miracle for this class. He is not pleased or glorified when his sons and daughters, members of the royal family, take this course; for they neither enjoy rest and peace in his love themselves nor permit others to do so. ST June 12, 1884, par. 6

Let none of us think that our work is greater and more taxing than any others are doing. This same work has been done in the past, and can be done again. God is not dependent on any of us; and as soon as we flatter ourselves that his work will not move forward without us, that our labor is of such consequence that it cannot be dispensed with, then he will show us our mistake and folly. He can work by few or by many. He can take men in humble positions, and educate them to become light-bearers in the world. Let us who are honored of God by having a connection with his work, feel our own littleness, and the great honor the Lord bestows upon us in accepting us as his co-laborers. “When one asked a noted philosopher what the great God was doing, he replied, ‘His whole employment is to lift up the humble, and to cast down the proud.’” ST June 12, 1884, par. 7

Sometimes the spirit of fretting and complaining invades the domestic circle. The will may be crossed in little things which a person of a cheerful spirit would scarcely notice; but the fretter is annoyed and chafed as though he had suffered an aggravated grievance, and the passionate reproaches he utters against the person, who, he thinks, has committed some blunder, are scarcely less sinful than swearing. He does not consider that he makes more grievous mistakes every day. Men and women who fret and chafe will lose the affections of their friends, for they are forever stinging some one. Whatever their position, however exalted their profession, they can have no decided influence for good until they remedy this defect. They have complained long enough to test the matter, and prove that complaints do not make them any happier or their way any easier. ST June 12, 1884, par. 8

The complainer dwells in an atmosphere of gloom and doubt. Instead of healing difficulties, he irritates them; instead of repairing evils, he creates them. Those who have tact in governing their families or controlling the minds of men, are generally calm, prompt, resolute. They show no weak selfishness; but they have a strong, uncomplaining spirit, and are always ready to speak a kind, encouraging word. ST June 12, 1884, par. 9

Wherever in the providence of God we may be placed, whatever the work that is given us to do, God is honored by whole-hearted, cheerful service. He is pleased when we take up our work with gratitude, rejoicing that he has accounted us worthy to be co-laborers with him. None need be idlers; for all around us there is earnest work to be done. The Christian rule of service is, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” God will help those who are “not slothful in business,” but “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” and through faith and patience they will “inherit the promises.” ST June 12, 1884, par. 10

There is peace and contentment in the service of Christ. As he was about to leave his disciples, he made them this parting promise,—a promise that has been fulfilled to his faithful ones through all the ages,—“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth give I unto you.” He invites, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” It is the want of this meekness and lowliness of heart that causes so much unrest and uneasiness, so much perplexity and fear, so many imaginary ills. ST June 12, 1884, par. 11

Make it a rule to refrain from fretting, and offer praise to God. We are not obliged to carry our burdens in our own strength. If we have Jesus for our helper, we may say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” Jesus has promised, “My grace is sufficient for you.” There is a transforming power in love. When the love of God rules in the heart, it brings all our powers into obedience to his will, and enlists them in willing, active service. ST June 12, 1884, par. 12