The Review and Herald

675/1902

June 20, 1893

Our Duty in Ministering to the Poor

EGW

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The price which heaven has paid for man reveals the value of every soul. There is not one passed by in the provision of God's love. “Whosoever believeth in him” shall not perish, but have everlasting life. RH June 20, 1893, par. 1

And to all who have received Christ, the Holy Spirit says, “Ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Every provision has been made that his possession, purchased at such infinite cost to heaven, should grow into a holy temple unto the Lord, complete in him. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Every facility has been provided that man may have a perfect character, that he should come off more than conqueror through the merits of Christ. RH June 20, 1893, par. 2

Satan, the rebel and apostate, works by every possible device to defeat the purpose of God. Because men have sinned, he claims that they have come under his dominion, and that the heavenly agencies, angels that excel in strength, should not take his subjects from under his control. Should men receive divine power, he knows that he cannot prevail against them, and work his will in cruelty upon body and mind; therefore he accuses them before God, and claims that the power of God shall not be imparted to them. RH June 20, 1893, par. 3

Zechariah the prophet beholds “Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” Joshua represents the people of God standing in the presence of their Redeemer. Satan, with his masterly accusing power, is resisting the plan of Christ for the redemption of his people. The Majesty of heaven, the only begotten of the Father, responds to Satan's claims. “The Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan, even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.” Satan was charging God's people with impurity. He was presenting every defect in their character. Through his deceiving power he had tempted them to sin, and now he represents them as full of transgression and defilement. He declares that they have come under his control, that they are the subjects of his pleasure, and he claims the right to work his will upon them without interference from God in their behalf. RH June 20, 1893, par. 4

“And he [the Lord Jesus Christ] answered and spake unto those that stood before him [his holy attending angels], saying, Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to Joshua he said, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Jesus has borne the sins of the whole world, he suffered as man's substitute and surety. He has himself bridged the gulf that sin has made, that separated man from God, and earth from heaven. With his own divine hand he plucked the brand from the burning, that man might not die the second death. RH June 20, 1893, par. 5

“And I [the Lord] said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments,”—the pure garments woven in the loom of heaven, the righteousness of Christ. “And the angel of the Lord stood by,” to behold the perfect justification of his saints, the victory over Satan and sin. “And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house [as kings and priests unto God], and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by,”—the loyal angels of heaven. RH June 20, 1893, par. 6

Here the curtain that separates us from the unseen world is lifted, and we behold the conflict that is waged over every soul who believes in Christ. All heaven is interested in the people who are walking in the ways of the Lord, and keeping his charge. Shall not the great love and care manifested by the world's Redeemer and all the heavenly host in our behalf arouse us to love and good works in behalf of our fellow-men? For the redemption of the human soul the Majesty of heaven yielded up his life, and all the agencies of heaven are engaged in tireless ministry. In view of what heaven is doing to save the lost, how can those who are partakers of the riches of the grace of Christ withdraw their interest and their sympathies from their fellow-men? How can they indulge in pride of rank or caste, and despise the unfortunate and the poor? RH June 20, 1893, par. 7

Yet it is too true that the pride of rank, and the oppression of the poor which prevail in the world, exist also among the professed followers of Christ. With many, the sympathies that ought to be exercised in full measure toward humanity, seem frozen up. Men appropriate to themselves the gifts intrusted to them wherewith to bless others. The rich grind the face of the poor, and use the means thus gained to indulge their pride and love of display even in the house of God. The poor are made to feel that it is too costly a thing for them to attend the service of God. The feeling exists with many that only the rich can engage in the public worship of God so as to make a good impression on the world. Were it not that the Lord has revealed his love to the poor and lowly who are contrite in heart, this world would be a sad place for the poor man. RH June 20, 1893, par. 8

The word of God rebukes the narrow exclusiveness that is often manifested by the rich toward his fellow-man who for some reason has not acquired wealth. There is no respect of persons with God. The wealthy man has larger responsibilities than the poor man, but there is no caste with God. Those who have been unfortunate in temporal things, but who love and fear God, are registered in heaven as rich in faith and good works. RH June 20, 1893, par. 9

The world's Redeemer was the son of poor parents, and when in his infancy he was presented in the temple, his mother could bring only the offering appointed for the poor,—a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons. He was the most precious gift of heaven to our world, a gift above all computation, yet it could be acknowledged only by the smallest offering. Our Saviour, during all his sojourn on earth, shared the lot of the poor and lowly. Self-denial and sacrifice characterized his life. All the favors and blessings we enjoy are alone from him; we are stewards of his grace and of his temporal gifts; the smallest talent and the humblest service may be offered to Jesus as a consecrated gift, and with the fragrance of his own merits he will present it to the Father. If the best we have is presented with a sincere heart, in love to God, from a longing desire to do service to Jesus, the gift is wholly acceptable. Every one can lay up a treasure in the heavens. All can be “rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” RH June 20, 1893, par. 10

It is God's purpose that the rich and the poor shall be closely bound together by the ties of sympathy and helpfulness. He has a plan for us individually. To all who shall serve him he has appointed a work. He bids us to interest ourselves in every case of suffering or need that shall come to our knowledge. RH June 20, 1893, par. 11

Our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. He bids all whom he has intrusted with temporal blessings to follow his example. Jesus says, “Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” The want and wretchedness in the world are constantly appealing to our compassion and sympathy, and the Saviour declares that ministry to the afflicted and suffering is the service most pleasing to him. “Is it not,” he says, “to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” We are to minister to the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to instruct the ignorant. RH June 20, 1893, par. 12

There are many who complain of God because the world is so full of want and suffering. But the Lord is a God of benevolence, and through his representatives, to whom he has intrusted his goods, he would have all the needs of his creatures supplied. He has made abundant provision for the wants of all, and if men did not abuse his gifts, and selfishly withhold them from their fellow-men, none need suffer from want. RH June 20, 1893, par. 13

(Concluded next week.)