The Review and Herald


April 23, 1908

Ministering with Faithfulness and Simplicity


The work of the faithful minister is no child's play: earnest, untiring effort is required to wrench the prey from the hands of the enemy. But God will sustain his servants in the work that he himself has committed to their hands. Whatever the trials and difficulties that the ambassador of Christ may have to meet, it is his privilege to carry them all to God in prayer. He can weep between the porch and the altar, pleading, “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach.” And by the study of the Scriptures, and earnest, wrestling prayer, he may become “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” RH April 23, 1908, par. 1

Christ said to his disciples, as they toiled by the sea of Galilee, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” When the gospel net is cast, there should be watching by the net, with tears and earnest prayers. Let the workers determine not to let the net go until it is drawn ashore, with the fruit of their labor. Sometimes they may be compelled to say, with Peter, “We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing;” but still it is the Master's command, as of old, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship;” work on in faith, and God will give success. Though at times we may feel discouraged as we see how many obstacles there are in the way of Christian living, and how slowly the work of God seems to advance, our duty remains the same. RH April 23, 1908, par. 2

The minister's duty is not done when he has preached the truth from the desk. As a shepherd of the flock, he should care for the sheep and the lambs, searching out the lost and straying, and bringing them back to the fold. He should visit every family, not merely as a guest to enjoy their hospitality, but to inquire into the spiritual condition of every member of the household. His own soul must be imbued with the love of God; then by kindly courtesy he may win his way to the hearts of all, and labor successfully for parents and children. He is to sow the seeds of truth beside all waters. Let him seek to keep the church alive by teaching its members how to labor with him for the conversion of sinners. This is good generalship; and the result will be found far better than if he should seek to perform the work alone. RH April 23, 1908, par. 3

To all our ministers I would say, Encourage your brethren to connect with you in all your labors. All the gifts and talents of the church are to be set to work. Let all desire on the part of any to have a controlling power be put away. There has been danger with some of marking out exactly what this or that man should do. Let the Lord do this work, and guide his own servants. “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” Give the Lord room to work human minds. Give the workers abundant freedom to work out the plans of God in harmony with their brethren. This will save much overwork for the few. Let the strong traits of character that would lead to the control of others be subdued by the grace of Christ. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” RH April 23, 1908, par. 4

The command comes to us as a people from the highest authority: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.” The spirit of Christ will be upon all who will walk with God in humility of heart. RH April 23, 1908, par. 5

A constant effort to promote personal piety should be seen in all our public labors. It is harder to reach the hearts of men today than it was twenty years ago. The most convincing arguments may be presented, and yet sinners seem as far from salvation as ever. Ministers should not preach sermon after sermon on doctrinal subjects alone. Practical godliness should find a place in every discourse. RH April 23, 1908, par. 6

Dwell not on the negative points of questions that arise, but gather to your minds affirmative truths, and fasten them there by much study and earnest prayer and heart-consecration. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning; and let bright rays shine forth, that men, beholding your good works, may be led to glorify your Father which is in heaven. RH April 23, 1908, par. 7

The Great Teacher held in his hand the entire map of truth, but he did not disclose it all to his disciples. He opened to them those subjects only which were essential for their advancement in the path to heaven. There were many things in regard to which his wisdom kept him silent. As Christ withheld many things from his first disciples, knowing that then it would be impossible for them to comprehend them, so today he withholds many things from us, knowing the capacity of our understanding. RH April 23, 1908, par. 8

When we are tempted to climb above the simplicity of the truth, we need to study Christ's method of teaching. We need to learn to talk as simply as Christ talked,—so simply that the little child and the unlearned can understand us. It was the simplicity with which Christ presented the word that drew hearts to him. Yet he spoke with assurance and power. Noblemen and some of the chief priests and rulers believed on his word. RH April 23, 1908, par. 9

We are to work as Christ worked. We are to move carefully. We are not to pour out ideas that contradict the light that God has given; neither are we to follow methods that are opposed to his will. Let us tread in Christ's footsteps. As we follow him, we may know that we are walking in the pathway of light. RH April 23, 1908, par. 10