The Review and Herald

677/1902

July 4, 1893

The True Missionary's Dependence Is in God

EGW

There are times when prayer becomes unusually urgent. It is when we are to take a decided position that the church and the world are not to be united, when philosophy and science claim to be the gospel, when men by their own interpretation make the commandments of God and the traditions of men identical. Fervent prayer must go up to God when the church is to show forth in her pure and exalted character the religion of Christ, and by precept and example affirm the difference between the teachings of men, purporting to be for the uplifting of humanity, and the means by which God would purify society. The church is to shine in the world as a light; but she is to do so by depending upon a divine agency, by having a living connection with the living God. This dependence is indispensable to her success and victory. RH July 4, 1893, par. 1

The true missionary's hope is in God alone, and he makes manifest this fact by importuning the throne of grace. Skeptical philosophy is easily distinguished from the gospel; for the gospel makes known the Christian's dependence upon God, and requires him to take counsel with God. In this way the Christian becomes a true sign-board, pointing heavenward. He says, “I can do nothing of myself,” and makes manifest the fact that the rebuke of God is upon the pride of human inventions. He lays claim to a power that is all-sufficient to accomplish the work. RH July 4, 1893, par. 2

There will come times when the church will be stirred by divine power, and earnest activity will be the result; for the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit will inspire its members to go forth and bring souls to Christ. But when this activity is manifested, the most earnest workers will be safe only as they depend upon God through constant, earnest prayer. They will need to make earnest supplication that through the grace of Christ they may be saved from taking pride in their work, or of making a saviour of their activity. They must constantly look to Jesus, that they may realize that it is his power which does the work, and thus be able to ascribe all the glory to God. We shall be called upon to make most decided efforts to extend the work of God, and prayer to our heavenly Father will be most essential. It will be necessary to engage in prayer in the closet, in the family, and in the church. Our households must be set in order, and earnest efforts must be made to interest every member of the family in missionary enterprises. We must seek to engage the sympathies of our children in earnest work for the unsaved, that they may do their best at all times and in all places to represent Christ. RH July 4, 1893, par. 3

But let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. We shall be in danger of losing our sense of dependence upon God, who alone can make our work succeed; but although this is the tendency, let no one think that the human instrument is to do less. No, he is not to do less, but to do more by accepting the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit. The world in its own wisdom knew not God, and every human power is naturally, to a greater or less degree, opposed to God. We are to look to Jesus, and co-operate with heavenly agencies, offering our petitions to the Father in Jesus’ name. In this way we shall not turn aside with those who are content to follow the sparks of their own kindling; but by the precept and example we shall make it manifest to the world that we are Christ's witnesses. RH July 4, 1893, par. 4

The Lord has said that his work is to be done, “not by might nor by power; but by my Spirit.” The work of God is to be carried on to completion by the co-operation of divine and human agencies. Those who are self-sufficient may be apparently active in the work of God; but if they are prayerless, their activity is of no avail. Could they look into the censer of the angel that stands at the golden altar before the rainbow-circled throne, they would see that the merit of Jesus must be mingled with our prayers and efforts, or they are as worthless as was the offering of Cain. Could we see all the activity of human instrumentality, as it appears before God, we would see that only the work accomplished by much prayer, which is sanctified by the merit of Christ, will stand the test of the judgment. When the grand review shall take place, then shall ye return and discern between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. RH July 4, 1893, par. 5

To preach to the people will avail nothing unless the worker has a vital connection with God. The minister may attract attention by his eloquence; but if his spirit and action are not in harmony with his words, they will have little power to convert the soul. Christ sent forth his disciples to preach the gospel not singly, but by twos, that they might labor unitedly in spreading the truth. Jesus saw that this plan would result in much more good than if one was sent alone. There is need of two working together; for one can encourage the other, and they can counsel, pray, and search the Bible together. In this they may get a broader light upon the truth; for one will see one phase, and the other another phase of the truth. If they are erring, they can correct one another in speech and attitude, so that the truth may not be lightly esteemed because of the defects of its advocates. If the workers are sent out alone, there is no one to see or correct their errors; but when two go together, an educating work may be carried on, and each worker become what he should be,—a successful soul-winner. RH July 4, 1893, par. 6

If frequently happens that one of the workers is self-conceited because of his power to interest his hearers, and yet he may not be one who may win souls to Christ. How important that a humble man be set aside, who is a laborer together with God, who watches and prays in simplicity, whom the heavenly Father that seeth in secret can reward openly. In the sight of men the self-sufficient worker may seem to be moving the world; but in the sight of God the humble wrestler moves heaven. The hosts of God are interested in the humble, praying man, who dares not make a move without first coming in prayer into the presence of God to counsel with the Omnipotent. True missionary work can be done only in the spirit of the first Missionary who visited our world. He was often in prayer to his Father, and at times presented his petitions with strong crying and tears, pleading that the power of God might save those who knew not that they needed salvation. We must have the spirit that actuated Christ, that led him to entreat and persuade the rebellious to come unto him. Even when men turn away from us in hardness of heart, refusing the gift of eternal life, we are to imitate the example of Christ. He did not look with indifference upon those who slighted and rejected him. It was a hard struggle for the Saviour to give up the child of his love, even Jerusalem. He had led his chosen people through the wilderness, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He had directed their ways, guided them by his eye, and watched over them continually. Must he now give up his son whom he had delivered from slavery in Egypt? O, if the Jewish nation had known the Prince of Life who came to save them, they would not have hated him, refused to hear him, and at last crucified him. But knowing that they would work the will of Satan against him, he looked upon Jerusalem, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” RH July 4, 1893, par. 7

The church must pray in faith, else if the Lord grants success to our work, we shall be ensnared through spiritual pride. Sincere, earnest prayer will be answered. God has pledged his word that he will answer the cry of the honest heart. The order will be given in heaven, “Open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing upon the earnest suppliant.” Let many missionaries enter the field, but let them count the cost before beginning the work. Let each ask himself, Am I prepared to surrender everything for the success of the work? Then as wise men lay your plans that you may devote yourself to the work, that in singleness of purpose you may endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, giving yourselves wholly to his service, humbly trusting in God, who has said, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Go forth to labor in the interests of the truth, and become agents in the hands of God for the saving of perishing souls for whom Christ died. RH July 4, 1893, par. 8