The Review and Herald

676/1902

June 27, 1893

Our Duty in Ministering to the Poor

(Concluded.)

EGW

It is not wise to give indiscriminately to every one who may solicit our aid; for we may thus encourage idleness, intemperance, and extravagance. But if one comes to your door and says he is hungry, do not turn him away empty. Give him something to eat, of such things as you have. You know not his circumstances, and it may be that his poverty is the result of misfortune. RH June 27, 1893, par. 1

But among all whose needs demand our interest, the widow and the fatherless have the strongest claims upon our tender sympathy and care. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” RH June 27, 1893, par. 2

The father who has died in the faith, resting upon the eternal promise of God, left his loved ones in full trust that the Lord would care for them. And how does the Lord provide for these bereaved ones? He does not work a miracle in sending manna from heaven, he does not send ravens to bring them food; but he works a miracle upon human hearts, he expels selfishness from the soul, he unseals the fountain of benevolence. He tests the love of his professed followers by committing to their tender mercies the afflicted and bereaved ones, the poor and the orphan. These are in a special sense the little ones whom Christ looks upon, whom it is an offense to him to neglect. Those who do neglect them are neglecting Christ in the person of his afflicted ones. Every kind act done to them in the name of Jesus, is accepted by him as if done to himself, for he identifies his interest with that of suffering humanity, and he has intrusted to his church the grand work of ministering to Jesus by helping and blessing the needy and suffering. On all who shall minister to them with willing hearts, the blessing of the Lord will rest. RH June 27, 1893, par. 3

Until death shall be swallowed up in victory, there will be orphans to be cared for, who will suffer in more ways than one if the tender compassion and loving-kindness of our church-members are not exercised in their behalf. The Lord bids us, “Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.” Christianity must supply fathers and mothers for these homeless ones. The compassion for the widow and the orphan manifested in prayers and deeds, will come up in remembrance before God, to be rewarded by and by. RH June 27, 1893, par. 4

There is a wide field before all who will work for the Master in caring for these friendless children and youth, placing them in a position favorable for the formation of a right character, that they may become children of God. There are unpromising children that need to be tenderly sought for; many that would otherwise grow up in ignorance, and drift into associations that lead to vice and crime, may be brought into favorable surroundings, and under Christ-like, tender watchcare may be saved to Christ. RH June 27, 1893, par. 5

The children and youth are God's property; the Lord formed their bodies and gave them the breath of life, and Jesus died for them, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. Are you who profess to be children of God acting your part to teach these, who so much need to be patiently instructed, how to come to the Saviour? Are you overcoming your indolence and slothfulness, and acting your part as laborers together with God, faithful servants of Christ? Are these unformed, perhaps ill-balanced minds cared for with that love which Christ has manifested for us? The souls of children and youth are in deadly peril if left to themselves. They need patience, love, tender, Christ-like care. This will break every barrier down. RH June 27, 1893, par. 6

Were there no revelation to point out our duty, the very sight of our eyes, and what we know of the inevitable working of cause and effect, should rouse us to rescue these unfortunate ones. If men would bring into this work the same energy and tact and skill that they employ in the common business relations of life, and while seeking wisdom from God would earnestly study how to mold these undisciplined minds, many souls might be rescued from the multitudes that are ready to perish. RH June 27, 1893, par. 7

If parents would feel the solicitude for the salvation of their own children that they should have, if they would bear them in their prayers to the throne of grace, and then live out their prayers, knowing that God is co-operating with them, they might become successful workers for children outside of their own family, and especially for those who have not parental counsel and guidance. The Lord calls on every member of the church to do your duty to these orphans. Do not, however, work for them merely from the standpoint of duty, but because you love them, and Christ died to save them. Christ has purchased these souls that need your care, and he expects you to love them as he has loved you in your sins and waywardness. RH June 27, 1893, par. 8

Love is the agency through which God works to draw the heart to him. It is the power by which he expels sin from the soul. In every department of life this principle must be the controlling power. In every enterprise of mercy this alone can give efficiency; the finite must unite with the infinite; and “God is love.” RH June 27, 1893, par. 9

This work for others will require effort and self-denial and sacrifice; but what is the little sacrifice that we can make, in comparison with God's great gift of his only begotten Son? God has granted us the privilege of becoming laborers together with him. In his plan there is a positive necessity for good works, for his plan made for the uplifting of man is dependent upon the co-operation of his human agents. RH June 27, 1893, par. 10

God imparts his blessing to us, that we may give to others. And as long as we yield ourselves as the channels through which his love can flow, he will keep the channels supplied. When you ask God for your daily bread, he looks right into your heart to see if you will impart the same to others, more needy than yourself. When you pray, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” he watches to see if you will manifest compassion to those with whom you associate. This is the evidence of our connection with God,—that we are merciful even as our Father who is in heaven is merciful. If we are his, we shall do with a cheerful heart just what he tells us to do, however inconvenient, however contrary it may be to our own feelings. RH June 27, 1893, par. 11

God is always giving; and upon whom are his gifts bestowed? Upon those who are faultless in character? He “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Notwithstanding the sinfulness of humanity, notwithstanding we so often grieve the heart of Christ, when we ask his forgiveness, he does not turn us away, although we are most undeserving. It pleases and honors God when we expect great things at his hand. He has promised us great blessings through our Saviour, and we cannot dishonor his name more than to doubt his love and his willingness to bless us. RH June 27, 1893, par. 12

How are the world to know God and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent?—Through his word and through his human agents; we are to be his representatives. Through us the world will form their opinion of God and of the religion of Christ. Therefore Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” When men see, they glorify God. Great dishonor is brought upon the cause of God because those who profess Christ do not possess his Holy Spirit, but walk in their own ways. What a terrible misrepresentation of God, his ways, his character, are the selfishness of life and hardness of heart of his professed followers. A profession of piety is not enough; if religion is not brought into practical service, and does not produce good works, it is valueless. If we do not live to bless others, we are unfaithful stewards, and we shall never receive the heavenly benediction, “Well done.” But God will have a peculiar people, of whom it is written, that Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren. They bear his likeness. They are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. RH June 27, 1893, par. 13

It is in doing the works of Christ, ministering as he did to the suffering and afflicted, that we are to develop Christian character. It is for our good that God has called us to practice self-denial for Christ's sake, to bear the cross, to labor and sacrifice in seeking to save that which is lost. This is the Lord's process of refining, purging away the baser material, that the precious traits of character which were in Christ Jesus, may appear in the believer. All dross must be cleansed from the soul, through the sanctification of the truth. If good works cost us no sacrifice, then they would not be disciplinary. There are obligations which bring us into conflict with natural feelings and propensities, and in fulfilling these obligations, we gain victory over every objectionable feature of our character. The warfare goes on, and thus we grow in grace. Thus our character is developed in the likeness of Christ, and we are prepared for a place among the blessed in the kingdom of God. RH June 27, 1893, par. 14

Through the grace of Christ our efforts to bless others are not only the means of our growth in grace, but they will enhance our future, eternal happiness. To those who have been co-workers with Christ it will be said, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Although we have no merit in ourselves, in the great goodness and love of God we are rewarded as if the merit were our own. When we have done all the good we can possibly do, we are still unprofitable servants. We have done only what was our duty. What we have accomplished has been wrought solely through the grace of Christ, and no reward is due to us from God on the ground of our merit. But through the merit of our Saviour, every promise that God has made will be fulfilled, and every man will be rewarded according to his deeds. The precious rewards of the future will be proportioned to the work of faith and labor of love in the present life. “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” We should be most grateful that now in probationary time through the infinite mercy of God, we are permitted to sow the seed for our future harvest. We should carefully consider what the harvest will be. Whether the crown of our eternal rejoicing shall be bright or dim depends upon our own course of action. We may make our calling and election sure, and may come into possession of the rich inheritance, or we may defraud ourselves of the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. RH June 27, 1893, par. 15

“Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.” RH June 27, 1893, par. 16