The Review and Herald

138/1902

December 12, 1878

Address and Appeal, Setting Forth the Importance of Missionary Work

EGW

“And 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.” Daniel 12:3. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 1

There is a constant conflict between the two great armies led by the Prince of life and the Prince of the powers of darkness. The devil, assisted by his angels, is constantly engaged in the most determined effort to gather souls under his banner, while Jesus Christ and holy angels are diligently at work pressing back the powers of darkness, rescuing souls from the grasp of Satan, and gathering them under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel. Those who are truly soldiers of the cross of Christ will not be indifferent spectators, but will take an active part and manifest a personal interest in this conflict. They will “know the fellowship of his sufferings,” being co-laborers with Jesus Christ in disseminating light and truth to redeem the purchase of his blood from the slavery of sin and death. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 2

There is now the same call for disinterested workers as when Christ gave his commission to his disciples before he was taken from them into Heaven. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” is our Lord's command. Self-sacrificing labor is wanted in every part of the harvest-field. Men and women may be co-workers with their self-sacrificing, self-denying Redeemer. In their unselfish efforts to do others good, they will be bearing his yoke and lifting his burdens. Thus they will find pure happiness and rich joys. Whoever accepts the invitation of Christ to bear his yoke and share his burdens will not only find the yoke easy but the burden light. Rest and peace is found in forgetfulness of self and in earnest, persevering efforts to save souls from the darkness of error. Those who shirk the responsibilities which Jesus would have them bear, choosing a life of self-indulgent ease, will be destitute of spiritual joys and divine peace, and cannot be partakers with Christ of his glory. Selfish enjoyments will never satisfy the cravings of a soul whom God has qualified for a higher sphere and nobler mission. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 3

That church only is strong that is a working church, whose members feel an individual responsibility to act their part in strengthening, encouraging, and building up the church by their personal efforts. These workers will extend their influence and labors in doing all that they can in every branch of the work. The truth spreads when living, active workers commend it by personal effort, characterized by piety and the beauty of true holiness. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 4

We are a people whom God has favored with special privileges and blessings in making us the depositaries of his law. None of us are to be idlers in the vineyard of the Lord. We are not all qualified to do the same kind of work; all cannot be ministers, to labor in word and doctrine; but there are other parts of the work, fully as important as this even, which have been fearfully neglected. Men and women are needed to act a part in this great work, in spreading the light of truth by circulating our publications. This work has not been taken hold of as it should have been by those who profess the truth. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 5

The larger part of the members of our churches are not working Christians; they are living as if there was no great emergency, no fearful danger of their fellow-men losing eternal life. Many fold their hands at ease, yet profess to be followers of Christ. The burden of the work has been left principally upon ministers, while many of the church have stood looking on to see how matters were coming out. There are not only men but women who should set their hearts and minds to become intelligent in regard to the very best manner of working for the Master, qualifying themselves to do that part of the work for which they are best adapted. All will, if connected with God, see something to do, and will do it. They cannot be soldiers in the Lord's army unless they shall obey the call of the Captain and bear responsibilities which someone must bear. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 6

There are fields of missionary labor which have been open for years, calling for workers, and yet many have not seen or realized the necessity of their doing anything. The work, they thought, was for some others, but not for them. There are hundreds and thousands who can work if they are so disposed. Up to the present time they have done nothing but serve themselves. This class of do-nothings and know-nothings, as far as the work to be done in God's cause is concerned, will never hear the well done from the lips of the Majesty of Heaven. They have not taken any interest in the many branches of the work. They have not learned how to work for the Master to advance his cause in doing to the utmost of their strength and ability to save souls from error and death. I was shown that there must be with men and women a general waking up to the needs of God's cause. The minds of our sisters may be expanded and cultivated. If they are devoted to selfish interests, the soul will be left dwarfed. Emptiness and unrest will be the result. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 7

A solemn responsibility rests upon the ministers of Christ to do their work with thoroughness. Many have left some portions of the work undone because it was not agreeable, expecting the next coming minister to finish it up for them. They had better not engage in the work unless they can bind it off thoroughly, so that it will not ravel out. There are many ministers who do not connect so closely with God that they can feel and realize the wants of the people and give them meat in due season. They should lead the young disciples along wisely and judiciously, step by step, onward and upward, until every essential point has been brought before them. With the burden of the work upon them, it is their duty to lead the people along until they can present every man perfect in Christ. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 8

A mere assent to the truth is not enough. There must be prayerful labor with those who embrace the truth, until they shall be convicted of their sins and shall seek God and be converted. Then they should be instructed in regard to the claims of God upon them in tithes and in offerings. They must learn that the tithing system is binding upon God's people in these last days as truly as it was upon ancient Israel. The tract and missionary work should be presented before them. Nothing should be kept back. But all points of truth should not be given abruptly in the first few lectures; gradually, cautiously, with his own heart imbued with the spirit of the work of God, the teacher should give meat in due season. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 9

Ministers frequently neglect these important branches of the work,—health reform, spiritual gifts, systematic benevolence, and the great branches of the missionary work. Under their labors large numbers may embrace the theory of the truth, but in time it is found that there are many who will not bear the proving of God. The minister laid upon the foundation, hay, wood, and stubble, which would be consumed by the fire of temptation. Some proved to be gold, silver, and precious stones; these from principle would cling to the truth. But if the teacher of truth had brought these converts along as he should have done, presenting before them the obligation which rested upon them, many who afterward drew back to perdition, might have been saved. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 10

Another minister follows the first, and in the fear of God presents the practical duties, the claims of God upon his people. Some draw back, saying, “Our minister who brought us the truth did not mention these things. We have been deceived. These things were kept back.” And they become offended because of the word. Some will not accept the tithing system; they reject systematic benevolence, and become offended, turn away, and no longer walk with those who believe and love the truth. When the tract and missionary field is opened before them, inviting them to work in it, they answer, “It was not so taught us,” and they hesitate to engage in the work. How much better it would be for the cause, if the messenger of truth had faithfully and thoroughly educated these converts in regard to all these essential matters, ever if there were less whom he could number as being added to the church under his labors. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 11

Ministers must impress upon those for whom they labor the importance of their bearing burdens in connection with the work of God. They should be instructed that every department of the work of God should enlist their support and engage their interest. The great missionary field is open to men, and the subject must be agitated, agitated, again and again. The people must understand that it is not the hearers of the word but the doers of the word that will have eternal life. Not one is exempted from this work of beneficence. God requires of all men to whom he imparts the gifts of his grace to communicate, not only of their substance to meet the demands for the time in successfully advancing his truth, but to give themselves to God without reserve. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 12

Self-denying benevolence characterized the life of Christ. He came not to seek his own. He identified his interest with the wants of his people. He went about doing good. Our sisters who have hitherto lived for self and have cherished habits of indolence and self-indulgence, can now, through the grace given them, imitate the life of Christ. The exercise of disinterested benevolence will strengthen in their own hearts the principles taught by their divine Master. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 13

God gives regularly and freely to bless man. His gifts are not only rich and munificent but systematic. The light of day, the recurring seasons, the dew and rains causing vegetation to flourish, are blessings of God unceasingly flowing to the children of men. And God requires of those whom he blesses beneficent efforts in conformity to the divine Model. Our liberalities are never to cease; our charities must be regular and constant; and order must be observed in the work. It is not a trait of the natural heart to be beneficent; men must be taught, giving them line upon line and precept upon precept, how to work and how to give after God's order. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 14

We are required to do good and bless others by our labors and prayers as well as by the gift of means. In order to be Christians and to gain Heaven we must imitate the great Exemplar. He cheerfully gave his life to ransom an apostate world. Selfishness and worldliness were condemned by the daily life of Christ; and none of us can live for ourselves and yet enjoy the approval of God. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 15

Our sisters have been too willing to excuse themselves from bearing responsibilities which require thought and close application of the mind; yet this is the very discipline they need to perfect Christian experience. They may be workers in the missionary field, having a personal interest in the distribution of tracts and papers which correctly represent our faith. All cannot go abroad to labor, but all can do something at home. Many occupy their time in needless stitching, and trimming, and ruffling of their own and their children's clothing, and thus lose golden moments in which they might improve their talents by efforts to get the truth before others. We should, as Christians, have an abiding sense that our time, our strength and ability, have been purchased with an infinite price. We are not our own to use our moments in gratifying our fancy and our pride. As children of the light we should diffuse light to others. It should be our study how we may best glorify God, how we can work to save and bless souls for whom Christ died. In working to bless others we shall be gathering strength and courage to our own souls, and shall receive the approval of God. Hundreds of our sisters might be at work today if they would. They should dress themselves and their children with simplicity, in neat and durable garments free from adornment, and devote the time they have spent in needless display to missionary work. Letters may be written to friends at a distance. Our sisters may meet together to consult as to the best manner of labor. Money can be saved to present as an offering to God, to be invested in papers and tracts to send to their friends. Those who are now doing nothing should go to work. Let each sister who claims to be a child of God feel indeed a responsibility to help all within her reach. The noblest of all attainments may be gained through practical self-denial and benevolence for others’ good. RH December 12, 1878, Art. A, par. 16

(To be continued.)