The Review and Herald

165/1902

June 10, 1880

Christ's Commission

EGW

After the resurrection of Christ, before he ascended to Heaven, he gave to his disciples, and through them to all who should believe on his name to the end of time, this commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” God has claims upon the service of all,—men and women, youth and children; and the earlier they are led out of and away from themselves, and taught to engage in unselfish labor for others, the nearer will they come to fulfilling this holy commission. There is work for every one of us to do; not one is excused. Many select a course of life for themselves, without thought or reference to the glory of God; and yet they profess to be his servants, following his directions, when they are, in fact, only serving themselves. RH June 10, 1880, par. 1

Some are ever ready to make excuses for not giving more attention to matters pertaining to the cause of God. In the parable of the marriage supper, Christ mentions a class who, with one consent, began to make excuses. One had bought a piece of land, and must needs go and see it; another had purchased a yoke of oxen, and must prove them; another had married a wife, and therefore he could not accept the invitation. This parable illustrates the frivolous and vain excuses which are made by those who, if they would, might come to the marriage supper of the Lamb; and it also conveys a reproof to those who might be workers in the vineyard of the Lord, but who will not, because their temporal affairs are placed above things of eternal interest. RH June 10, 1880, par. 2

Christ left his exalted position as commander of all Heaven, and came to this world as man's Redeemer. While here he was not treated as a sovereign, or even as a benefactor. His life was a scene of continual self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others. Said he, “I came down from Heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.” All was laid upon the altar. How can we better show our appreciation of the great sacrifice made by the Lamb of God than by following his example, and carrying forward the work which he commenced. All who remain inactive when there is so much to be done, will at last be found guilty before God. In the words of the poet, RH June 10, 1880, par. 3

“Do something—do it soon—with all thy might;
An angel's wing would droop if long at rest,
And God himself, inactive, were no longer blest.”
RH June 10, 1880, par. 4

Those who profess to believe the truth, but feel no burden for the souls of others, will be continually backsliding, and it will require time and strength on the part of the minister to keep them from making shipwreck of faith, when they should be laboring with all their might to present the way of life and salvation to their friends and neighbors. Hundreds of men and women who at the present time are professedly engaged in the work of God, are not doing one-tenth that they might do if they would only improve all the powers God has given them. Some are doing literally nothing for the truth, and by their example of indifference are bringing others into the same position of uselessness, and thus are scattering from Christ. This latter class includes by far the greater number. They are thinking and planning only for themselves. Fathers and mothers with their little ones around them make their little circle their world. Every power of their being is centered on “me and mine,” and they are becoming narrower and more circumscribed every year of their lives. They do not open their hearts to the grace and love of Christ, and liberalize their nature and ennoble their being by placing themselves in sympathy with their fellow-men. RH June 10, 1880, par. 5

Many who are now left to darkness and ruin could have been helped, had their brethren—common men and women—come to them with the love of Christ glowing in their hearts, and put forth personal efforts for them. Many are waiting to be thus personally addressed. Humble, earnest conversation with such persons, and prayer for them, heart being brought close to heart, would in most cases be wholly successful. But instead of this, those who profess to be following their Saviour rest content with expressing a desire that some brother or minister may come and help them. Thus they neglect the very work that God has left for them to do. Just the way in which this work is to be done in every case cannot be rigidly prescribed, but as they come in closer connection with the world's Redeemer, ways and means will be suggested to their minds. RH June 10, 1880, par. 6

The true Christian is bent on doing good, not only to his own family, but to all who come within the sphere of his influence. Many ways of usefulness will open before the willing, aspiring, devoted soul, who wants to labor for the salvation of others, thus improving the only means God has provided whereby Christians can grow to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. The more such persons do, the more they will see to do, and the more earnest will they be to have a part in every good work for the up-building of the kingdom of Christ. It will be their meat and drink to benefit their fellow-men and glorify God. RH June 10, 1880, par. 7

Let this question come home to every heart, “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” Jesus, the Master, became poor that we might have eternal riches; he died that we might have life, immortal life. Should we not be willing to follow his example, and do for others as nearly as possible as he has done for us? In so doing, our own character will be disciplined and improved, our faith will grow stronger, our zeal will become more steady and earnest, our love for God and the truth and the souls for whom Christ died will become intensified, and precious souls will be saved as the result of our labors. What greater and more ennobling work can be engaged in, than seeking to attract souls to Christ. This has been successfully done time and again by ordinary men and women, not by the most learned, eloquent or wealthy, but by the true and faithful who do their work in simplicity. One soul thus reached may, in turn, bring an army into the service of Christ. But every worker must depend wholly and constantly upon Jesus Christ for wisdom and strength. RH June 10, 1880, par. 8

As I travel from Maine to Washington Territory, and see the many cities and towns which have never heard the warning message, my heart is burdened. We must devise more thorough and extensive plans in order to obey the divine commission and reach every creature. Our own family, village, or neighborhood is not all the world. If every member of the church would work in any branch suited to his capability, much more might be done than is now being done to obey the command of the Master. “But,” says one, “I do not know of anything I can do in the work of God. I am willing to work, but what can I do?” To such we would say, Go to God; he will teach you. He who prays successfully will labor tirelessly for the salvation of souls. There are many things that persons may do if they only have a mind to work. There are many who will not go to church to hear the truth preached. By personal efforts in simplicity and wisdom these might be persuaded to turn their feet to the house of God. Conviction may fasten upon their minds the first time they hear a discourse upon present truth. Should your solicitations be refused, do not be discouraged. Persevere till success crowns your efforts. RH June 10, 1880, par. 9

Our sisters are doing comparatively nothing, when they might do very much. Christ is searching the life and character for fruit, and he finds many professed Christians, like the fruitless fig-tree, bearing nothing but leaves. The sisters can work efficiently in obtaining subscribers for our periodicals, in this way bringing the light before many minds. The distribution of tracts, and the work of Christian canvassers and colporteurs, can be done as well by our sisters as by our brethren. Satan is busy in this department of his work, scattering literature which is debasing the morals and poisoning the minds of the young. Infidel publications are scattered broadcast throughout the land. Why should not every member of the church be as deeply interested in sending forth publications that will elevate the minds of the people, and bring the truth directly before them? These papers and tracts are for the light of the world, and have often been instrumental in converting souls. Our publications are now sowing the gospel seed, and are instrumental in bringing as many souls to Christ as the preached word. Whole churches have been raised up as the result of their circulation. In this work every disciple of Christ can act a part. Let the leaflets and tracts, the papers and books, go in every direction. Carry with you, wherever you go, a package of select tracts, which you can hand out as you have opportunity. Sell what you can, and lend or give them away as the case may seem to require. Important results will follow. RH June 10, 1880, par. 10

Another work in which all may engage is gathering children and youth into the Sabbath-school. The young may in this way labor efficiently for the dear Saviour. They may shape the destinies of souls. They may do a work for the church and the world the extent and greatness of which will never be known until the day of final accounts, when the “Well done” is spoken to the good and faithful. RH June 10, 1880, par. 11

Sisters, do not become weary of vigilant missionary labor. This is a work you may all engage in successfully, if you will but connect with God. Before writing letters of inquiry, always lift up your heart to God in prayer that you may be successful in gathering some wild branches which may be grafted into the true vine, and bear fruit to the glory of God. All who with humble hearts take part in this work, will be continually educating themselves as workers in the vineyard of the Lord. RH June 10, 1880, par. 12

Our ministers should not give all their powers to preaching discourses, and let the work end there. They should instruct the members of the church how to take hold of and successfully carry forward this branch of the work, which is to our tract and missionary society like a wheel within a wheel. The movement of this inner wheel keeps in healthful, powerful action the outer wheel. Let this inner wheel cease its action, and the result will be seen in diminished life and activity in the tract and missionary society. RH June 10, 1880, par. 13

It is a mystery to me how any can be indifferent and careless in reference to the souls of their fellow-men in these last days. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” says the commandment. Can we do this, and have no special interest in their salvation? There is work to be done for those who know not the truth, just such work as was done for you when you were in darkness. It is too late to sleep, too late to become indolent do-nothings. To every one the Householder has given a work. Let us go forward, and not backward. We want a new conversion daily. We want the love of Jesus throbbing in our hearts, that we may be instrumental in saving many souls. RH June 10, 1880, par. 14

No one who loves Jesus can long retain the divine favor, if he feels no burden for sinners around him. If coldness and indifference have crept over your spiritual senses, and your interest for those who are perishing in their sins is decreasing, it is time you were converted. Your best course will be to engage at once in personal efforts to save others. In blessing them, you will yourself be blessed. No matter how heavy the crosses you must bear to do this, the blood and agonies of the Son of God appeal to you to work on, to sow beside all waters. The rich promises of the word of God are for the workers, the good and faithful. “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” “He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.” RH June 10, 1880, par. 15

The Christian has an inexhaustible supply of strength from which to draw, if he will only take God at his word, and with living faith claim the blessings he so much needs. Few have so closely studied the Bible, and contemplated the great work involved in the plan of salvation, that they can comprehend their responsibility to their fellow-men. Those who profess Christ and yet indulge in sloth and indolence know not how many will be lost through their failure to conform to the principles laid down in the word of God. And they know not how many they might have been the means of bringing under the blood-stained banner of Christ, if they had only taken up their cross and followed him wherever he might lead. It is to those, and those only, who are engaged in carrying forward the commission of our Saviour, that the blessed “Well done” will be spoken, and upon whose brows crowns of immortal glory will be placed. RH June 10, 1880, par. 16