The Review and Herald

810/1902

January 28, 1896

Lift Up Your Eyes and Look on the Field

EGW

Those who work in the Southern field will need to have a sanctified judgment, in order to discriminate in applying help where it will do the greatest amount of good. They should help those who will be a help to others, as well as those who may not be able to carry on very decided missionary operations. I know that it will be impossible for workers to remain in this field in a bare-handed condition, and do the work that is required to be done in the Southern States. It will be necessary that a fund shall be created, so that the workers may have means with which to help those who are in poverty and distress; and this practical ministry will open their hearts to respond to the truth. RH January 28, 1896, par. 1

It will be necessary for the worker in the Southern field not only to have an appreciation of the physical wants of the colored people, but his heart must also be aglow with the love of God. He must present the love of God with faith and assurance, and not follow any bleak, cold, methodical style. The Southern field is a field where the religious instruction will have to be repeated again and again. The language must be most simple in style, for many of the colored people are only children in understanding; but though this field has been long neglected, the words of Christ are applicable to it. Our Lord said to his disciples, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” RH January 28, 1896, par. 2

When the Lord spoke these words to the disciples, they did not see anything that denoted that they were in an encouraging field. The seed of truth had been sown, and the harvest was about to follow. While they had been away purchasing food, Christ had preached a sermon to the woman at the well, and had sown the seed, and the harvest was to come forth speedily. She had gone back into the city of Samaria, and had spread abroad the words of Christ. She gave the invitation to those she met, saying with assurance, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?” Jesus knew that at the report of the woman many, out of curiosity, would come to see and to hear him, and that many would believe on him, and drink of the water of life that he should give them. “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them; and he abode there two days. And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” Thus the harvest came speedily after the sowing; for the Holy Spirit had impressed the truth upon the hearts of the Samaritans. RH January 28, 1896, par. 3

The words that Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying that the fields were white for the harvest, are addressed to every genuine Christian. We also are to look upon the fields, and see the necessities of men. The disciples were encouraged, as they saw the readiness of the Samaritans to receive the truth. They had regarded this field as a very hard field, and yet they saw men acknowledging the words of the Master, and believing on him for themselves. This lesson is for our encouragement as well, and while there are many who will not yield to the convicting power of God's Spirit, there are also many who are hungering for the words of light and salvation. Many will receive the truth, and testify, as did the Samaritans, that Christ is the Saviour of the world. In their turn, they will become sowers of the seed of truth. We are to lift up our eyes, and look upon the fields that are white already for the harvest. For years we have passed by the Southern field, and have looked upon the colored race, feebly deploring their condition; but our eyes have been fastened upon more promising fields. But now God's people should lift up their eyes, and look upon this destitute field that has not been worked. The missionary spirit must prevail, if we form characters after the pattern, Christ Jesus. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves, and the colored people, in the sight of God, are our neighbors. It is not enough for us merely to look on and deplore the discouraging appearance of the field, and then pass by on the other side, and do nothing. Unitedly and interestedly we must take hold of the work. We are not only to look upon the fields, but we are to reap, and gather fruit unto life eternal. RH January 28, 1896, par. 4

God calls us to consider and to help those who are in most need of help. As workers together with God, we are not simply to deplore the destitute condition of the Southern people, but we are to seek to alleviate their condition. Here is a field in America that is nigh at hand. One is to sow the seed, another to reap the harvest, another to bind it up. There is a variety of work, which must be done now while the angels continue to hold the four winds. Many who desire to do missionary work may labor in this field. There is no time to be lost. As men, women, and children among the colored people receive the truth, they should be instructed by those who are imbued with the Spirit of God, and educated and directed in such a way that they may help others. RH January 28, 1896, par. 5

The Southern field is right in the shadow of your own doors. It is as land that has had a touch of the plow here and there, and then has been left by the plowman, who has been attracted to some easier or more promising field; but those who work the Southern field must make up their minds to practise self-denial. Those who would aid in this work must also practise self-denial, in order that facilities may be provided whereby the field may be worked. God calls for missionaries, and asks us to take up our neglected duties. Let farmers, financiers, builders, and those who are skilled in various arts and crafts, go to this field to improve lands, and to build humble cottages for themselves and their neighbors. Christ says to you, Lift up your eyes, and look upon this Southern field; for it needs the sowers of seed and the reapers of grain. The grace of Christ is unlimited; it is God's free gift. Why should not this neglected people have the benefit of divine hope and courage and faith? All those who will accept Christ will have sunlight in the heart, and the whole-hearted, unselfish worker will receive a reward. Those who are laborers together with God will enter into the joy of their Lord. What is this joy?—It is the joy that is felt in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance. RH January 28, 1896, par. 6

Those who labor in the Southern field will meet with deplorable ignorance. The colored people are suffering the results of the bondage in which they were held. When they were slaves, they were taught to do the will of those who called them their property. They were kept in ignorance, and today there are thousands among them that cannot read. Many who profess to be teachers among them are corrupt in character, and they interpret the Scriptures in such a way as to fulfil their own purposes, and degrade those who are in their power. The colored people are taught that they must not think or judge for themselves, but that their ministers must be permitted to judge for them. Because of this, the divine plan of salvation has been covered up with a mass of human rubbish and falsehood. The Scripture has been perverted, and the people have been so instructed as to be easily seduced by evil spirits. Mind, as well as body, has been long abused. The whole system of slavery was originated by Satan, who delights in tyrannizing over human beings. Though he has been successful in degrading and corrupting the black race, many are possessed of decided ability, and if they were blessed with opportunities, they would show more intelligence than do many of their more favored brethren among the white people. Thousands may now be uplifted, and may become agents by which to help those of their own race. There are many who feel the necessity of becoming elevated, and when faithful teachers open the Scriptures, presenting the truth in its native purity to the colored people, the darkness will be dispelled under the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. Directed in their search for truth by those who have had advantages enabling them to know the truth, they will become intelligent in the Scriptures. RH January 28, 1896, par. 7

When laws are enacted that bind the consciences of those whom God has made free, and men are cast into prison for exercising their religious liberty, many poor, timid, ignorant souls will be hindered from doing the will of God; but many will learn aright from Jesus Christ, and will maintain their God given freedom at any cost. The colored people have been slow to learn what is their right in religious liberty, because of the attitude that men have assumed toward them. In many minds there is great confusion in regard to what is individual right. Men have exercised compelling power over the mind and judgment of the colored race. Satan is the originator of all oppression, and history shows a record of the terrible results of oppressive tortures that have been endured by men who are God's property, both by creation and by redemption. Through human agencies, Satan has manifested his own attributes and passions; but every act of injustice, every fraudulent purpose, every pang of anguish, is written down in the books of heaven as done against Christ Jesus, who has purchased man at an infinite price. The manner in which men treat their fellow men is registered as done unto Christ; but those who have been faithful winners of souls will receive commendation, and will join in the song of those who rejoice, and shout the harvest home. How great will be the joy when the redeemed of the Lord will all meet together in the mansions prepared for them! What rejoicing will come to those who have been impartial, unselfish laborers together with God in winning souls to Christ! What satisfaction will fill the breast of every reaper when he hears the musical voice of Jesus saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!” RH January 28, 1896, par. 8

Those who win souls to Christ glorify their Redeemer. He has not died in vain for them; for they are in harmony with Christ. They look upon those who have turned to God through their efforts, with glad rejoicing; for they also see of the travail of their souls, and are satisfied. They see that the anxious hours they have spent, the perplexing circumstances they have had to meet, the sorrows they have had to endure, have worked for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. As they look upon the souls they have won to Christ, and know that they are eternally saved, are monuments of God's mercy and of a Redeemer's love, they touch the golden harp, and fill the arches of heaven with praise and thanksgiving. They sing, “Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.... Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” RH January 28, 1896, par. 9

“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.” How great is the reward that will come to those who devote their God-given abilities to doing the words of Christ. Those who are partakers of his sufferings in this world, will be partakers of his glory in the world hereafter, and will sit down with Christ upon his throne. RH January 28, 1896, par. 10