The Review and Herald


April 23, 1901

Missionary Work in the Neighborhood


Before His ascension to heaven, Jesus, with hands outstretched in blessing His disciples, gave them their commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Repentance of sin was to be preached in His name among all nations, but the work was to begin at Jerusalem. Before going out into new fields of labor, the disciples of Christ were to give the message to their own people. Home missions were to receive their first attention. RH April 23, 1901, par. 1

Wherever the people of God are placed, in the crowded cities, in the villages, or among the country byways, there is a home mission field, for which a responsibility is laid upon them by their Lord's commission. They are to take up the duty that lies nearest. First of all is the work in the family; next they should seek to win their neighbors to Christ, and to bring before them the great truths of this time. RH April 23, 1901, par. 2

This work places a responsibility upon us to recommend by our daily life the faith which we profess. The piety of its believers is the standard by which worldlings judge the truth. In all your associations with unbelievers, be careful to give them no occasion to misjudge your faith, or to reproach the cause of truth which you advocate. Many hedge up the way by their own course of action. There is some indiscretion on their part. They are easily provoked. Little difficulties arise in trade or in some other temporal matter, which lead them to think themselves misjudged or wronged by their neighbors. These things are allowed to create coldness or ill-feeling, and thus to close the door of access to those who might be reached by the truth. We should never allow matters of temporal interest to quench our love for souls. Brethren, be kind and courteous on all occasions. RH April 23, 1901, par. 3

Never be sharp, critical, or exacting in your deal. If there is any advantage to be gained, give it to your neighbor, whom you are required to love as you love yourself. With the patience and love of Jesus, watch for opportunities to do him a kindness. Let him see that the religion that you profess does not close up nor freeze over the avenues of the soul, making you unsympathizing and exacting. Let a well-ordered life and a godly conversation testify to your sincerity and piety; and when you have thus gained his confidence, the way is open for you to reach the heart by introducing the truth. RH April 23, 1901, par. 4

If these matters, which may appear of minor consequence, are neglected, you may present the most convincing arguments in favor of the truth, but they will have no weight. If your family government is not according to the Bible rule, if your children are not brought up with habits of order and industry, if they are selfish, proud, disobedient, unthankful, unholy, be sure that your unbelieving neighbor will see and remark upon your neglect. “They would better spend their labor at home,” he will say, “teaching piety and good behavior to their children, instead of trying to convert me.” Very many have been caused to stumble by the inconsistencies of professed Christians, and have been led to reject the precious truths of the Bible. RH April 23, 1901, par. 5