The Review and Herald

359/1902

June 15, 1886

To Every Man His Work

EGW

When Christ ascended on high, he bade his disciples take the gospel work where he had left it, and carry it forward to completion. Though more than eighteen centuries have passed since that command was uttered, it has lost naught of its force. Today, the last warning message of mercy, the closing invitation of the gospel, is sounded to the world. A great work is yet to be accomplished, a work which will require most earnest, determined effort. Every one who has received the light of truth, is required, in turn, to aid in giving the light to the world. If we would at last share the reward of the righteous, we must wisely improve the time of our probation. Moments are more precious than gold. We have been redeemed by the blood of Christ; our time, our talents, belong to him. We should improve every opportunity to advance the cause of our Master. RH June 15, 1886, par. 1

We should seek to preserve the full vigor of all our powers, for the accomplishment of the work before us. Whatever detracts from physical vigor, weakens mental effort. Hence, every practice unfavorable to the health of the body, should be resolutely shunned. RH June 15, 1886, par. 2

Says the great apostle, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We cannot maintain consecration to God, and yet injure our health by the willful indulgence of a wrong habit. Self-denial is one of the conditions, not only of admission into the service of Christ, but of continuance therein. Christ himself declared, in unmistakable language, the conditions of discipleship: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” RH June 15, 1886, par. 3

Yet how many who call themselves Christians are unwilling to exercise self-denial, even for Christ's sake. How often the love for some pernicious indulgence is stronger than the desire for a sound mind in a sound body! Precious hours of probation are spent, God-given means squandered, to please the eye or to gratify the appetite. Custom holds thousands in bondage to the earthly and sensual. Many are willing captives; they desire no better portion. RH June 15, 1886, par. 4

They are few who walk in the clear light of God's word, who maintain their freedom in Christ by daily self-denial. Yet none need fail in this work of self-renunciation. God will give help to every earnest seeker. He reads the intents and purposes of the heart. He marks every soul-struggle. If we sincerely seek his grace, our life will correspond with our profession of faith; our light will shine forth, in good works, to the world. RH June 15, 1886, par. 5

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” He knows whether our hearts are wholly devoted to his service, or given to the things of the world. We may profess what we will, but unless our life corresponds with our profession, our faith is dead. The rule given by the apostle Paul is the only safe rule for our guidance in all the affairs of life. “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” In the selection of our food, we should not seek merely to please the taste, but should choose that which is most healthful. In dress, we should seek that which is simple, comfortable, convenient, and appropriate. RH June 15, 1886, par. 6

The coming of the Lord draweth nigh. We have but a little time in which to make ready. If precious opportunities are slighted, it will result in eternal loss. We need a close connection with God. We are not safe a moment unless guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. The soul should be often uplifted to God in prayer, even while we are engaged in our business vocations. These silent prayers rise like precious incense before the throne of grace. Satan is baffled. He cannot overcome the Christian whose heart is thus stayed upon God. No hellish arts can destroy his peace. All the promises of God's word, all the power of divine grace, all the resources of Jehovah, are pledged to secure his deliverance. RH June 15, 1886, par. 7

If we would not be misled by error and falsehood, the heart must be preoccupied by the truth. The word of God will furnish the mind with weapons of divine power, to vanquish the enemy. Happy is the man, who, when tempted, finds his soul rich in the knowledge of the Scriptures, who finds shelter beneath the promises of God. “Thy word,” said the psalmist, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” We need now, as never before, that calm, steady faith, that undaunted moral courage, which none but Christ can give, to brace us for trial and strengthen us for duty. RH June 15, 1886, par. 8

My fellow Christians, we are far from reaching the divine standard. Our works do not correspond with our privileges and opportunities. Few devote themselves unreservedly to the service of God. Few are accomplishing all that they might accomplish if they would wisely put to use the talents that God has given them. The powers that are suffered to lie dormant should be strengthened and developed by active work for the Master. Some who would gladly be useful in the cause of Christ, are hindered by timidity and self-distrust. Such persons need encouragement. Many possess latent powers of which they are wholly unconscious. They should be aroused to put to use their God-given ability. Many refuse to enter the harvest field because they cannot do as great a work as some others. But there is work for all to do. When one excuses himself, the burden rests more heavily upon others, who must do their part and that of the delinquent. RH June 15, 1886, par. 9

Christ has left his work on earth to be carried forward by those who believe in him. Love for Jesus will be manifested in a desire to work for him. Love for Jesus will lead to love, tenderness, and sympathy for his followers. Those who are partakers of the grace of Christ, will be willing to make any sacrifice, that others for whom he died may share the heavenly gift. They will do all they can to make the world better for their sojourn in it. The Lord is not pleased with our weak, inefficient efforts, our indifference and indecision concerning matters of eternal moment. Whatever we do for the salvation of souls, should be done with zeal and devotion, as though this were—as indeed it is—the most important work that can engage our attention. We must work with the same earnestness with which Christ worked. Our efforts should be marked by intensity and perseverance, proportionate to the importance of the object which we seek—eternal life. RH June 15, 1886, par. 10

Conscientious, enthusiastic workers are needed. The time for labor is short. The months of 1886 are swiftly passing. Soon this year, with its burden of records, will be numbered with the past. Let the precious months remaining be devoted to earnest soul-labor for our Master. Could we behold a faithful record of the manner in which we have spent the months already past, would the view be satisfactory? Deduct every action which would benefit no one, which was performed merely to gratify “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life,” and how little remains of willing service, performed for the glory of God! Is not the record alarming? How many will have such an account to meet in the day of final Judgment! How many precious hours have been squandered in selfish gratification! How often, to please ourselves, have we neglected opportunities to work for Christ! Even when we consecrate to God the full strength of our powers, we can do but little in comparison with all that Christ has done for us. Let us, then, serve him with undivided affection, by zeal and fidelity manifesting our gratitude for the love which we are powerless to repay. RH June 15, 1886, par. 11

In the service of God there is no middle ground. Said Christ, “He that is not with me is against me.” Let none expect to make a compromise with the world, and yet enjoy the blessing of the Lord. Let God's people come out from this world, and be separate. Let us seek more earnestly to know and do the will of our Father in heaven. Let the light of truth which has shone upon us be so received that its bright rays may go forth from us to the world. Let unbelievers see that the faith we hold makes us better men and better women; that it is a living reality, sanctifying the character, transforming the life. Let the word of God dwell richly in our hearts. Let our conversation be upon heavenly things. Let us surround ourselves with an atmosphere of Christian cheerfulness. Let us show that our religion can stand the test of trial. Let us by our kindness, forbearance, and love, prove to the world the power of our faith. RH June 15, 1886, par. 12

Many who set out well in the Christian life, are losing spiritual strength, and placing themselves in the enemy's power, by their indulgence in vain and trifling conversation. They cannot look up to God with holy confidence, to ask for needed strength. By their irreligious course, they bar the way of souls that might have come to Christ. Let these careless triflers remember that every word and act is photographed in the books of heaven. No human hand can erase one disgraceful blot. RH June 15, 1886, par. 13

Life, with its marvelous privileges and opportunities, will soon be ended. The time for improvement in character will be past. Unless our sins are now repented of, and blotted out by the blood of the Lamb, they will stand in the ledger of heaven to confront us in the coming day. RH June 15, 1886, par. 14

As we are daily brought in contact with those who have not a knowledge of Christ and the truth, shall we talk only of our farms, our merchandise, our gains and losses; or shall we speak of those things which concern our future life? shall we seek to win souls to Jesus? Oh, what shameful neglect of duty stands registered against the professed followers of Christ! Let us earnestly examine ourselves by the light of God's word, seeking to discover every defect of character, that we may wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. RH June 15, 1886, par. 15

Life is short. The things of the world must perish with the using. Let us be wise, and build for eternity. We cannot afford to idle away our precious moments, or engage in busy activities that will bring forth no fruit for eternity. Let the time hitherto devoted to idleness, frivolity, worldliness, be spent in gaining a knowledge of the Scriptures, in beautifying our life, and blessing and ennobling the life and character of others. This work will meet the approval of God, and win for us the heavenly benediction of “Well done.” RH June 15, 1886, par. 16