The Review and Herald

835/1902

July 21, 1896

Why the Lord Waits

EGW

The blessing of God cannot come upon those who are idlers in his vineyard. Professed Christians who do nothing, neutralize the efforts of real workers by their influence and example. They make the grand and important truths they profess to believe, appear inconsistent, and cause them to have no effect. They misrepresent the character of Christ. How can God let the showers of his grace come upon the churches that are largely composed of this kind of members? They are of no manner of use in the work of God. How can the Master say to such, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord,” when they have been neither good nor faithful? God cannot speak a falsehood. The power of the grace of God cannot be given in large measure to the churches. It would dishonor his own glorious character to let streams of grace come upon the people who will not wear the yoke of Christ, who will not bear his burdens, who will not deny self, who will not lift the cross of Christ. Because of their slothfulness they are a hindrance to those who would move out in the work if they did not block up the way. God calls not for an empty charity that is but a name, but for liberal, open-handed charity. The liberality of God demands that his people render to him his own in tithes and gifts and offerings. There are many who possess an empty benevolence, who make no retrenchments, practise no self-denial or self sacrifice. They leave that for some one else to do; but God calls for men who, through faith and prayer, will give themselves to the work; who will study, who will plan, and unite with their plans, self-denial and self-sacrifice. This is the only kind of liberality that is after the order of Christ, and which will redound to the honor and glory of God. Until this benevolence is brought into active exercise, God's blessing cannot come upon his people in its fulness and power. RH July 21, 1896, par. 1

Every truly converted soul will be intensely desirous to bring others from the darkness of error into the marvelous light of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with his glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, whole-hearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of his Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God cannot pour out his Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain,—“Am I my brother's keeper?” If the truth for this time, if the signs that are thickening on every hand, that testify that the end of all things is at hand, are not-sufficient to arouse the sleeping energy of those who profess to know the truth, then darkness proportionate to the light which has been shining will overtake these souls. There is not the semblance of an excuse for their indifference that they will be able to present to God in the great day of final reckoning. There will be no reason to offer as to why they did not live and walk and work in the light of the sacred truth of the word of God, and thus reveal to a sin-darkened world, through their conduct, their sympathy, and their zeal, that the power and reality of the gospel could not be controverted. RH July 21, 1896, par. 2

It is not the ministers alone, but the laymen, who are not contributing all that they can to persuade men, by precept and example, to accept the saving grace of Christ. With skill and tact, with wisdom received from above, they should persuade men to behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. When the hearts of the believers are warm with the love for God, they will do a continual work for Jesus. They will manifest the meekness of Christ, and display a steadfast purpose that will not fail nor be discouraged. God will use humble men to do his work; for there is a large vineyard calling for laborers. “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” RH July 21, 1896, par. 3

Christ pronounced a woe upon the cities and the people who had been favored with his labors, who had witnessed his gracious works, and listened to his gracious words, and had failed to repent. To those who made a great profession of godliness while failing to bring forth corresponding works, he gave his most scathing rebukes. To the Pharisees he said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” The mercy and love of God will flow forth from the lips of those in whose hearts abide the mercy and love of God. “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” RH July 21, 1896, par. 4

If those who have had great light will not respond to the invitation to become laborers with God, then God will take and use those who have had far less light and much fewer opportunities. Those who will work out their own salvation with fear and trembling, will realize that it is God that worketh in them, to will and to do of his own pleasure. There should be thousands fully awake and in earnest in the work of God, who should be bright and shining lights. There should be thousands who know the time in which we are living, and who wait not to be urged, but who are constrained by the power of God to diffuse light, to open to others the truth that is so distinctly revealed in the word of God. There is no time to lose. Men and women should be ministering in unenlightened communities in regions beyond. After they have awakened an interest, they should find the living preacher who is skilful in the presentation of the truth, and qualified to instruct families in the word of God. Women who have the cause of God at heart can do a good work in the districts in which they reside. Christ speaks of women who helped him in presenting the truth before others, and Paul also speaks of women who labored with him in the gospel. But how very limited is the work done by those who could do a large work if they would! There are families that have means which they could use for God's glory in going to distant lands to let their light shine forth in good works to those who need help. Why do not men and women engage in the missionary work, following the example of Christ? RH July 21, 1896, par. 5

But we can say nothing more than to repeat what has been said. Instruction has been given, but how few have acted upon it! How few have been sufficiently interested to go without the camp bearing the reproach of Christ! God calls for personal effort from those that know the truth. He calls for Christian families to go into communities that are in darkness and error, to go into foreign fields, to become acquainted with a new class of society, and to work wisely and perseveringly for the cause of the Master. To answer this call, self sacrifice must be experienced. While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, souls are dying without hope and without God in the world. Many, very many, for the sake of worldly advantage, for the sake of acquiring knowledge of the sciences, will venture into pestilential regions, and will go into countries where they think they can obtain commercial advantage; but where are the men and women who will change their location, and move their families into regions that are in need of the light of the truth, in order that their example may tell upon those who shall see in them the representatives of Christ? RH July 21, 1896, par. 6

The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter of the world, and men are saying, “Come over, ... and help us,” and why is there not a decided response? Thousands ought to be constrained by the Spirit of Christ to follow the example of him who has given his life for the life of the world. Why decline to make decided, self-denying efforts, in order to instruct those who know not the truth for this time? The chief Missionary came to our world, and he has gone before us to show us the way in which we should work. No one can mark out a precise line for those who would be witnesses for Christ. Those who have means are doubly responsible; for this means has been entrusted to them of God, and they are to feel their accountability to forward the work of God in its various branches. The fact that the truth binds souls by its golden links to the throne of God, should inspire men to work with all their God-given energy, to trade upon their Lord's goods in regions beyond, disseminating the knowledge of Christ far hence among the Gentiles. RH July 21, 1896, par. 7

Many to whom God has entrusted means with which to bless humanity, have let it prove a snare to them, instead of letting it prove a blessing to themselves and others. Can it be that the property that God has given you shall be permitted to become a stumbling-block? Will you let his entrusted means, which has been given you to trade upon, bind you away from the work of God? Will you allow the trust which God has reposed in you as his faithful steward, serve to lessen your influence and usefulness, by keeping you from being laborers together with God? Will you permit yourself to be detained at home, in order to hold together the means which God has entrusted to you to put into the bank of heaven? You cannot plead that there is nothing to do; for there is everything to do. Will you be content to enjoy the comforts of your home, and not try to tell perishing souls how they may obtain the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love him? Will you not sacrifice your possessions, in order that others may obtain an immortal inheritance? RH July 21, 1896, par. 8

What are the principles of the law of God? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and ... thy neighbor as thyself.” Every soul that obeys the first four commandments, will obey the last six commandments, and make manifest what is the duty of man to his fellow men. He will manifest tender, pitying love toward every one for whom Christ has died. He will consecrate himself to be a missionary, to be a laborer together with God. All who have the Spirit of Christ are missionaries; for they derive zeal and energy from the chief Missionary. They will have the wisdom that comes from God, which is neither a blind impetuosity nor a cold, calculating Phariseeism, but springs from trust in God. “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” RH July 21, 1896, par. 9

What can the universe of heaven think of those who profess to believe that Jesus Christ is the world's only hope of salvation, when they do so little to make him known to those who are in the darkness of error? In the great day when every case is decided for eternity, how enormous will seem the guilt of those who have failed to warn their associates in probationary time of the doom that awaits those who neglect so great salvation. What a revelation will then be made of what professed Christians might have done, and did not do! How many souls will they see that might have been saved through their instrumentality had they been laborers together with God! Many who profess to love God seem to be enclosed in an icy atmosphere, and the love of Christ has never melted their souls. The Lord Jesus says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH July 21, 1896, par. 10