The Review and Herald

295/1902

1885

January 6, 1885

“Go Ye Also Into the Vineyard”

EGW

Each of us has a work to do in the vineyard of the Lord. Talents are committed to our trust, and we are responsible for the use we make of them. The Christian life does not consist merely in the exercise of meekness, patience, humility, and kindness. One may possess these precious and amiable traits, and yet be nerveless and spiritless, and almost useless when the work goes hard. Such persons lack the positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character, which would enable them to resist evil, and would make them a power in the cause of God. RH January 6, 1885, par. 1

Jesus was our example in all things, and he was an earnest and constant worker. He commenced his life of usefulness in childhood. At the age of twelve he was “about his Father's business.” Between the ages of twelve and thirty, before entering upon his public ministry, he led a life of active industry. RH January 6, 1885, par. 2

In his ministry, Jesus was never idle. Said he, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.” The suffering who came to him were not turned away unrelieved. He was acquainted with each heart, and knew how to minister to its needs. Loving words fell from his lips to comfort, encourage, and bless; and the great principles of the kingdom of heaven were set before the multitudes in words so simple as to be understood by all. RH January 6, 1885, par. 3

Jesus was a silent and unselfish worker. He did not seek fame, riches, or applause; neither did he consult his own ease and pleasure. When the day's labor was done, and he had dismissed his disciples that they might seek needed rest, he often retired to the lonely mountain or the silent grove, and spent the night in prayer, offering up his petitions with strong crying and tears. Not for himself were these vigils kept, but for those he came to save. He was standing between the living and the dead; his heart was moved with compassion for those who “fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” RH January 6, 1885, par. 4

Our Saviour went about doing good. He did not shirk care and responsibility, as many do who profess to be his followers. There are positions which they could fill to acceptance, and where they could do good work for God and their fellow-men; but they shrink from the work, for it would cost them pains and effort to do it well. If they were sure their work would be perfect, and they should receive only praise, they might be induced to take it up; but their hearts are filled with pride, and they will run no risks of failure and blame. They will not endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ Jesus, and so are weak where they might be strong. Were Jesus upon earth now, he would say to thousands whose names are on church-books, “Why stand ye all the day idle?” “Go ye also into the vineyard.” RH January 6, 1885, par. 5

Every Christian should study the life of Christ, and should labor as he labored, with the same unselfishness and devotion that characterized his whole life, from his cradle in the manger to the cross of Calvary. The claims of Christ upon our service are new every day. However complete may have been our consecration at conversion, it will avail us nothing unless it be renewed daily; but a consecration that embraces the actual present is fresh, genuine, and acceptable to God. We have not weeks and months to lay at his feet; tomorrow is not ours, for we have not yet received it; but today we may work for Jesus. Today we may lay our plans and purposes before him for his inspection and approval. Work, then, while it is day, remembering that the “night cometh, wherein no man can work.” This is God's day, and you are his hired servant. No matter how far his plans and purposes may be from harmonizing with yours, you should do his bidding, answer every call, patiently take up every duty lying in your path. RH January 6, 1885, par. 6

On the part of every member of the church, there should be patient continuance in well-doing. Ministers have their work to do; but they cannot do that of the lay-members. God wants workers in his vineyard, and every one who has become a partaker of the heavenly gift is under obligation to respond to his call. There is unused talent among us, which should be employed in ministering to others. Some with limited talents are doing a far greater work than others who pride themselves upon their intellectual gifts. God will accept the efforts of those who put to good use the ability which he has given them, and they will be rewarded by and by according to their works. RH January 6, 1885, par. 7

Many admire the broad, deep river which moves majestically in its onward course to the ocean. It is worthy of admiration; for it is doing its appointed work. But what of the thousand rivulets from the mountain side, which help to swell this noble stream? It is true that they are small and narrow; but they are indispensable, for without them the river could not exist. They are unitedly doing their appointed work in fertilizing the earth; their path through fields and meadows can be traced by the living green that lines their banks. Thus they are carrying out God's plan, and adding to the prosperity of the world. The mighty river has worn for itself a channel through the everlasting hills; but in its place the brook is as necessary as the river. RH January 6, 1885, par. 8

We are not all called to do some great work. We may not all be engaged in laying large plans, in doing something that will make self prominent. There are small places to be filled, little duties that must be done; and much depends on faithfulness in these minor things in binding together and making effective the larger work. If the small duties are overlooked or neglected, the large plans will not accomplish the results designed, because the details upon which success depends have not received due attention. Christ says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” RH January 6, 1885, par. 9

Men are needed who will work with an eye single to the glory of God. Simplicity of faith is a power in the believer. It will give him the mind that was in Christ, and make him a burden-bearer in the cause of God. There are some who are ready to bear burdens and responsibilities that some one must take,—some who shirk in no place. Yet there are comparatively few real workers, not one where there should be a hundred. RH January 6, 1885, par. 10

The work of God calls for young men who are not self-sufficient and boastful,—young men who study their Bibles and are honest and God-fearing. Volunteers are needed who will respect gray hairs and honor those whom God honors, and who will not feel insulted if they receive counsel from men of experience. Such men will be earnest workers; for their motive power will be love to God, and interest in their fellow-men. They approach the Lord's standard of manhood, and with the divine blessing on their capabilities they may reach a high degree of mental and moral excellence. To be a man that God can approve and use in his cause, is honor enough for any human being. Office, wealth, position, sink into insignificance in comparison. RH January 6, 1885, par. 11

Any young man is wanting in his duty to himself if he fails to meet the purposes of God by improving and enlarging his faculties. The mind is the best possession we have; but it must be trained by study, by reflection, by learning in the school of Christ, the best and truest educator the world has ever known. The Christian worker must grow. He must build up a character for usefulness; he must educate himself to endure hardness, and to be wise to plan and execute in the work of God. He must be a man of pure mind and conversation,—one who will abstain from every appearance of evil, and give no occasion for reproach through his heedless ways. He must be truthful at heart; in his mouth there must be no guile. RH January 6, 1885, par. 12

But how imperfect and one-sided are the characters of many who profess godliness. They show that as pupils in the school of Christ, they have learned their lessons very imperfectly. Some who have learned to imitate Christ in meekness, have not learned his diligence in doing good. Others are very active and zealous; but they are boastful; they have never learned humility. Still others who are diligent, leave Christ out of their work. They may be social and pleasing in their manners, as was Jesus, the sinner's friend; they may evince sympathy and love for their fellow-men; but their hearts are not centered on the Saviour, and they have not learned the language of heaven. They do not pray as Christ prayed: they do not place his estimate upon souls. They know nothing of his self-denying life; they have not learned to endure inconvenience and hardship in their efforts to save souls from ruin. RH January 6, 1885, par. 13

However zealously the truth may be advocated, while the every-day life and character do not testify to its sanctifying power, it will avail nothing. Such a course hardens the heart, and narrows the mind to a form of godliness without the power. Some who profess the truth, but know nothing of the transforming work of grace in the heart, become egotistical, critical, harsh, and repulsive. Others become plastic and yielding, and bend this way and that to please every one. When the heart is changed from sin to holiness, there will be a fear of offending God. Such a work of grace will prompt men to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. In their work as ministers, it will enable them to develop firm, decided principle, which cannot be bribed or swayed from integrity to obtain any earthly good. RH January 6, 1885, par. 14

The minister, as a laborer for God and a representative of Christ, is under sacred obligations to be an example to the flock of which he is an under-shepherd. He should care in a special manner for the sheep of his fold; he should watch for souls as they that must give an account. But all who love Jesus in sincerity and truth will be workers in his vineyard. It is one of the great sins of the church that there are so many who are doing nothing. They are cumberers of the ground,—withered branches, bearing no fruit. They do not exert a healthful influence in the church; for their spirit and example are contagious, and the lame are turned out of the way. Idlers in the church are Satan's most efficient helpers. RH January 6, 1885, par. 15

I have tried to present before you, dear brethren and sisters, the necessity of personal effort to save souls. Each individual member is responsible for the prosperity of the church. The world is full of work for the Master. Every day brings its burden of care and responsibility; and if just one neglects the work assigned him, some sacred interest suffers. RH January 6, 1885, par. 16

The Lord keeps a complete list of his workers, and in Bible history he has given us the names of a few. Among those who were faithful stewards are Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Nehemiah, John, and Paul. These cases are recorded for our instruction, that we may imitate their virtues. The workers in the vineyard of the Lord have the example of the good of all ages to stimulate them. They have to encourage them the love of God, the ministration of angels, the sympathy of Jesus, and the hope of winning precious souls to shine forever as stars in their crown of rejoicing. “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 January 6, 1885, par. 17