The Review and Herald

259/1902

April 29, 1884

Importance of Attending Business Meetings

EGW

The business meetings held in connection with our annual gatherings do not receive the attention which their importance demands. We are sorry this is so; for through them our brethren and sisters might learn of the present standing of the cause, and of the plans laid for its advancement. Every one who loves the truth ought to be interested in these meetings, and to attend them when it is possible. But there are some who have plenty of interest if there is any speculation on foot, who say by their indifference that the business meetings are of little consequence; and although these meetings should be intensely interesting to them because they unfold the workings of the different societies and institutions connected with the cause of God, they are, as a rule, poorly attended. At our General Conferences, many of our brethren spend time in aimless sight-seeing, allowing their minds to be diverted from the spirit of the meeting by unimportant matters. Our sisters attend; but they bring their work, as though these meetings were not spiritual and devotional, but more after the order of common, temporal business. This is not treating with becoming respect meetings that are of so great importance. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 1

At our camp-meetings, we see large numbers of believers strolling about the grounds, when they ought to be in the business meetings learning all they can in relation to the cause and work of God. They say, “Oh, it is only a business meeting.” But all who have the mental capacity ought to be anxious and determined to understand how the business matters are managed. Some who have given up the faith have made very false statements in relation to the workings of the cause and the management of its business. Had these attended the business meetings, and listened attentively to the proceedings, they would have understood how the work was conducted in all its branches, and could have borne testimony to the strict integrity that characterizes every department. The enemy could not then have urged in the insinuation that there were things kept back that the people were not permitted to know. Those who take no interest in the business meetings, generally have no real interest in the cause of God, and these are the ones who are tempted to believe that the management of our various enterprises is not just what it should be. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 2

Brethren and sisters, if we love the truth, which has brought us from the darkness of error to the observance of the law of God, we shall highly estimate everything connected with its interests. At our business meetings everything is laid open, so that all may understand how our institutions and various enterprises are conducted and sustained; and when they have this opportunity to know, and yet fail to improve it, ignorance is sin. Those who believe the truth should be prepared to defend our institutions. When false and detrimental reports come, either from believers or unbelievers, they should be able to answer intelligently, telling, not what they have gathered from hearsay, but what they know to be true in relation to their prosperity and plan of operations. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 3

We shall be attacked on every point; we shall be tried to the utmost. We do not want to hold our faith simply because it was handed down to us by our fathers. Such a faith will not stand the terrible test that is before us. We want to know why we are Seventh-day Adventists,—what real reason we have for coming out from the world as a separate and distinct people. We want to know why our different institutions have been established. We want to know their relation to the cause of truth, and the part they are designed to act in the promulgation of truth. This knowledge can be best obtained at the business meetings. Our brethren and sisters should feel that these meetings are a school to them; to many, they are of greater importance than any other meetings held among us. Here persons of experience bear testimony in regard to the workings of the different institutions, and the manifestations of the providence of God in the various branches of the cause; and the Spirit of God bears witness to these statements that they are indeed true. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 4

When men are willing to become intelligent in regard to the cause of God because they have invested faith and means in it, God will help them to understand, and they will be steadfast in the faith; but when they have merely a theory, a shallow faith they cannot explain, a sudden temptation will cause them to drift away with the current bearing toward the world. It is not always an easy matter to be steadfast and immovable, “always abounding in the work of the Lord.” In order to be firmly anchored, there must be something firm to hold us; and nothing will avail until Christ takes possession of the soul, until the cause becomes our property, and is made a part of ourselves. Many who now appear strong, and talk in vindication of the truth, are not rooted and grounded. They have no tap-root; and when the storms of opposition and persecution come, they are like a tree uprooted by the blast. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 5

Every one of us needs to have a deep insight into the teachings of the word of God. Our minds must be prepared to stand every test, and to resist every temptation, whether from without or from within. We must know why we believe as we do, why we are on the Lord's side. The truth must keep watch in our hearts, ready to sound an alarm, and summon us to action against every foe. The powers of darkness will open their batteries upon us; and all who are indifferent and careless, who have set their affections on their earthly treasure, and who have not cared to understand God's dealings with his people, will be ready victims. No power but a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, will ever make us steadfast; but with this, one may chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 6

Brethren and sisters, I beseech you to learn all you can in relation to the truth, and to the workings of the different societies and institutions connected with the cause of truth. All who can do so, should make their own business of minor importance, and should train their minds to understand the cause of God in all its departments. While we hold our convictions firmly, let us hold them in the strength of God, intelligently, as his truth, or they will be wrenched from us by the machinations of Satan. It is only when we have on the whole armor of God that we are prepared to resist Satan's devices and to triumph over him. RH April 29, 1884, Art. B, par. 7

E. G. White.