The Review and Herald


March 29, 1898

Personal Effort


“And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat. He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes.” RH March 29, 1898, par. 1

Five loaves and two fishes! What a meager portion, seemingly! But in his life of assumed humanity, the Saviour relied implicitly upon God; he knew that his Father's power was sufficient for all things. Taking the small supply of food, he blessed it, and dividing it among the disciples, bade them distribute it to the multitude. “And they did all eat, and were filled.” RH March 29, 1898, par. 2

The provision lasted until the deed of mercy was accomplished, and the wants of every hungry soul were supplied. Then Christ said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” “And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes.” So Christ would teach us economy. RH March 29, 1898, par. 3

From this miracle, Christ would have us learn lessons applying to spiritual things. By his action he showed the necessity of relieving temporal hunger; and how much more important it is that spiritual hunger be satisfied. In this world there are hearts that are crying aloud for the living God, that are starving for the bread of life. God requires that the truth committed to men be not only eaten by them, but given to others. RH March 29, 1898, par. 4

As we do this work, we must learn to rely upon what God can do for the saving of souls. Generally too much dependence is placed upon human ability, and too little faith is shown in him whose grace is sufficient to supply all our deficiencies. We are inclined to think that unless an organized company of workers is sent to a field, the efforts put forth will be useless. We feel as if we must belong to some organization if we would accomplish good. RH March 29, 1898, par. 5

But John the Baptist did not work on this plan. His mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah by his God-given message; and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he did the work appointed him without calling to his aid priest or rabbi. RH March 29, 1898, par. 6

In the place of relying upon men for guidance, we should humble ourselves before God, confessing our sins, and pleading with him for forgiveness. We should forsake our proud, self-sufficient way, and go to work, seeking God most earnestly for strength to give the bread of life to those who are not converted,—those who are sick and in need of a physician. RH March 29, 1898, par. 7

After the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, they went out to give to others the light and knowledge they had received. They were few in numbers, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they did more for the conversion of those in Jerusalem than the large religious organizations had ever done. They extended their work to the remote parts of the earth. God blessed their efforts, and thousands of such as should be saved were added to the church. So the Lord would have us labor. Unless those now gathered in cities will go forth willingly to do earnest, solemn work for the Master, the Lord himself will scatter them. RH March 29, 1898, par. 8

Success does not depend upon the numbers engaged in the work. Whether they be few or many, all are to work to the utmost of their ability, feeling that as individuals they have a personal responsibility to labor for Christ. RH March 29, 1898, par. 9

When Christ fed the multitude, each one of the disciples was given a part in the work. Christ asked his Father's blessing on the food, and it came; but the work was not left to one man. Each one was given something to do. So it is now. God has given to every man his work; and he expects all to do their part faithfully. When the truth is presented, God does not design that one man shall do the greatest part of the work. No man should put himself and his work in the place of God. One man's voice must not be heard continually, while others stand by as onlookers. All are to labor for the promotion of the work. Every available power is to be used to carry forward the great work. RH March 29, 1898, par. 10

No one should lose sight of his personal responsibility, relying on some other worker to do the work he should do, forgetting that he has a part to act in relieving those who are perishing for want of the bread of life. Ordained ministers are not the only ones who can work for Christ. Those who have heard the truth and rejoice in it have a work to do also. At all times they can work for God. It is a law of God that whoever believes the truth as it is in Jesus will make it known. In this perilous time no one can really believe the truth, and stand idly by as a spectator, without interest in the work of God. RH March 29, 1898, par. 11

God has given different gifts to different people. These varied gifts meet and impress varied minds. In any effort made to advance the truth, a diversity of gifts is a help. By their personal influence some may win their way to hearts and subdue stubborn natures, while others, though not possessing this God-given tact, may have more knowledge and experience. RH March 29, 1898, par. 12

God desires all to realize that they must be careful how they strive to control those who are doing his work. No one is to seek to bind the hands of God's instrumentalities. God has given to every man his work, and if his children will consecrate themselves to him, no one has a right to specify who is to work, or who is not to work. Let God work through whomsoever he will. RH March 29, 1898, par. 13

Faithfully and earnestly we are to do the work God has given us, be it large or small. No one else can do our work for us. Individual effort must be made. The Holy Spirit worked through John, but it did not submerge him in some one else. Christ called Matthew from the receipt of custom; he did not make Matthew John. He took his disciples just as he found them, and connected them with himself. He poured out his Spirit upon these human agencies, that they might speak the word of righteousness to those in need of light. RH March 29, 1898, par. 14

As we work for God, the outlook may not be flattering, yet if faithful, unselfish workers will go to those places that have not yet received the truth, and act their part by communicating the light they have received, God will bless their efforts. As they hold forth the bread of life to perishing souls, even though they themselves do not know where the means to carry forward the work is coming from, God will open a way before them. They will be furnished with grace, ample and full, which will supply their every necessity. The Lord will not allow his work to languish. RH March 29, 1898, par. 15

A simple faith and trust in God brings its reward. But the work must be regarded as God's work. It is to be done for the good of others, not to gratify pride or self-sufficiency. Every worker must be ready to sacrifice his own wishes and plans for the good of others. RH March 29, 1898, par. 16

The work of saving souls is infinitely above any other work in our world. He who is brought under the influence of the truth, and through faith is made a partaker of Christ's love, is by that very act appointed to save others. He has a mission in the world. He is a co-worker with Christ. RH March 29, 1898, par. 17

It pays to labor for those for whom Christ has died. Our strength and resources can be expended in no better way. As we co-operate with God in this work, we can think of Christ's words, which are so full of assurance: “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” God loves the souls to whom he gave his only begotten Son, and he calls upon us to see all men through the eyes of divine compassion. RH March 29, 1898, par. 18