The Review and Herald

382/1902

December 7, 1886

Workers With God

EGW

God's blessings are not bestowed upon men independent of human effort. We see this principle illustrated in the natural world. God has given us the earth with its treasures. He causes it to bring forth food for man and beast, he sends the recurring seasons, he gives the sunshine, the dew, and the rain; yet man is required to act his part; he must co-operate with God's plan by diligent, painstaking effort. The plough must break up the soil, the seed must be sown, the field must be tilled, or there will be no harvest. RH December 7, 1886, par. 1

So in the spiritual world. All that we possess, whether of talents, of influence, or of means, is of God; we can accomplish nothing without divine aid. Yet we are not released from the necessity of effort. While salvation is the gift of God, man has a part to act in the carrying out of the plan of redemption. God has chosen to use men as his instruments, to employ human agencies in the accomplishment of his purposes. He has ordained to unite divine power with human endeavor, in the work of saving souls. Thus we become laborers together with God. We have a grand and important work, because it is a part of God's great plan for the redemption of man. It is a high honor bestowed upon finite beings thus to co-operate with the Majesty of heaven. RH December 7, 1886, par. 2

God is not dependent upon men for the advancement of his cause. He might have made angels the embassadors of his truth. He might have made known his will, as he proclaimed the law from Sinai with his own voice. But in order to cultivate a spirit of benevolence in us, he has chosen to employ men to do this work. Every act of self-sacrifice for the good of others will strengthen the spirit of beneficence in the giver's heart, allying him more closely to the Redeemer of the world, who “was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich.” And it is only as we fulfill the divine purpose in our creation that life can be a blessing to us. All the good gifts of God to man will prove only a curse, unless he employs them to bless his fellow men, and for the advancement of God's cause in the earth. RH December 7, 1886, par. 3

The spirit of benevolence is the spirit of heaven. The spirit of selfishness is the spirit of Satan. Christ's self-sacrificing love is revealed upon the cross. He gave all he had, and then gave himself that man might be saved. The cross of Christ appeals to the benevolence of every follower of the blessed Saviour. The principle illustrated there is to give, give. This carried out in good works is the true fruit of the Christian life. The principle of worldliness is to get, get, and thus people expect to secure happiness; but carried out in all its bearings, its fruit is misery and death. RH December 7, 1886, par. 4

Selfishness is the strongest and most general of human impulses, the struggle of the soul between sympathy and covetousness is an unequal contest; for while selfishness is the strongest passion, love and benevolence are too often the weakest, and as a rule the evil gains the victory. Therefore in our labors and gifts for God's cause, it is unsafe to be controlled by feeling or impulse. To give or to labor when our sympathies are moved, and to withhold our gifts or service when the emotions are not stirred, is an unwise and dangerous course. If we are controlled by impulse or mere human sympathy, then a few instances where our efforts for others are repaid with ingratitude, or where our gifts are abused or squandered, will be sufficient to freeze up the springs of beneficence. RH December 7, 1886, par. 5

Christians should act from fixed principle, following the Saviour's example of self-denial and self-sacrifice. What if Christ had left his work, becoming weary because of the ingratitude and abuse that met him on every side? What if he had returned to heaven discouraged by his reception? We are reaping the fruits of his infinite self-sacrifice; and yet when labor is to be done, when our help is needed in the work of the Redeemer in the salvation of souls, we shrink from duty and pray to be excused. Ignoble sloth, careless indifference, and wicked selfishness seal our senses to the claims of God. RH December 7, 1886, par. 6

How does God regard our ingratitude and lack of appreciation of his blessings? When we see one slight or misuse our gifts, our hearts and hands are closed against him. But those who received God's merciful gifts day after day, and year after year, misapply his bounties, and neglect the souls for whom Christ has given his life. The means which he has lent them to sustain his cause and build up his kingdom are invested in houses and lands, lavished on pride and self-indulgence, and the Giver is forgotten. The truth which is designed of God to be carried to all nations is impeded in its course, because the money that is needed for the work is expended on selfish gratifications. The gifts of heaven, if employed for the purpose for which they were bestowed, would bring many sons and daughters to God. But vanity and extravagant display grasp everything within their reach to build up and glorify self, and many souls are lost because of this neglect. RH December 7, 1886, par. 7

By their abuse of God's gifts in this life, many are proving themselves unworthy of eternal life. The powers of the mind and the affections of the soul are selfishly diverted from the channel in which God would have them flow. These persons do not appreciate the great salvation brought within their reach, or they would unite with Christ in his work. Their interest is not in that direction, but centered upon self. Their treasure is not laid up in heaven but on the earth, and they mind earthly things. They are laying upon the foundation wood, hay, and stubble, which the fires of the last day will consume. The life work, so full of anxiety, perplexity, and needless toil, is lost, eternally lost! The treasure that might have been laid up in the bank of heaven is swept away, and the poor souls who have misapplied the means lent them of God are bankrupt for eternity! RH December 7, 1886, par. 8

You who claim to believe the truth, to be waiting for the appearing of our Lord in the clouds of heaven, waiting to be translated to the mansions Christ has given his life to purchase, how much, I ask, do you love his appearing? How much do you value eternal above temporal things?—Just as much as your works show, and no more. Brethren and sisters, “the night is far spent, the day is at hand.” I call upon you to awake out of sleep. Let every church arouse and put away their pride and vanity and worldliness. Let them humble their hearts before God by repentance that they have lifted so few burdens for Christ. RH December 7, 1886, par. 9

Did we realize that we are not our own, but are bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God, we would work from altogether a higher stand-point. God despises a dead offering; he requires a living sacrifice, with intellect, sensibilities, and will, fully enlisted in his service. Every distinctive faculty should be devoted to this work,—our feet swift to move at the call of duty, our hands ready to act when work is to be done, our lips prepared to speak the truth in love, and show forth the praise of Him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We should continue this consecration, not taking anything from the altar; for this is sacrilege. When his people thus consecrate themselves in sincerity and humility, they are accepted of God; and they become to him a sweet-smelling savor, diffusing a rich fragrance throughout all the earth. RH December 7, 1886, par. 10

To us as a people God has committed great and solemn truths, not merely to be enjoyed by ourselves, but to be given to others. The banner of truth must be unfurled in every nation. The message of warning must be proclaimed to every tongue and people. But this work is still far from being accomplished. I am pained as I see the condition of things in Europe. Something has been accomplished, and the angels are still holding the four winds that a far greater work may be done; but there is so great poverty and actual want that the truth makes slow progress. In how many countries has the message as yet only found an entrance! In how many cities is there not even one soul that has heard the proclamation of the Third Angel's Message! Angels of God are moving upon minds, and preparing the way for the reception of the truth. From every side the Macedonian cry is heard, “Come over and help us.” But the work is hindered for lack of workers and for lack of means. RH December 7, 1886, par. 11

The people of God are not half awake. A stupor seems to be paralyzing their sensibilities. Each of us will soon have to stand before the Judge of all the earth, to answer for the deeds done in the body. All will then have to give an account for the good they might have done, but did not do because they were not so closely connected with God that they could know his will and understand his claims upon them. If the money that has been expended annually by our brethren in selfish gratification had been placed in the mission treasury, where there is now one missionary in the field there might be one hundred. Who will have to render an account for this great lack of funds? Many of our American brethren have done nobly and willingly for the advancement of the truth in Europe, but there is a great work yet to be done. Many who have given liberally could do more, and others should now come forward and bear their share of the burden. Now is the time when houses and lands should be converted into mission funds. Men are to be educated and disciplined. We feel alarmed as we see the little that is being done, when we have a world-wide message, and the end of all things is at hand. RH December 7, 1886, par. 12

The voice of Providence is calling upon all who have the love of God in their hearts to arouse to this great emergency. Never was there a time when so much was at stake as today. Never was there a period in which greater energy and self-sacrifice were demanded of God's commandment-keeping people. If there was ever need of economy and self-denial, it is now. There should be no extravagance in dress, no useless expenditure for self-indulgence or display. Let our means and our labors be devoted to the cause of God, to save souls for whom Christ died. RH December 7, 1886, par. 13

As the holidays are approaching, I appeal to you, instead of making gifts to your friends, to bring your offerings to God. Let us show that we appreciate the great plan of redemption. As God has given us all Heaven in the gift of his dear Son, let us express our gratitude by thank-offerings to his cause. Let the evergreen Christmas trees yield a rich harvest for God. RH December 7, 1886, par. 14

I present before you our missions in foreign lands as the object of your gifts. Let us show that we value the precious light of truth by making a sacrifice to extend the light to those who are in darkness. Through our self-denial and sacrifice, lands that have never heard the truth may hear it. They may become vocal with the praise of God, and from them many voices may be lifted to swell the last note of warning. Let every church, every family, join in this work. Let every child take a part, bringing some offering as the result of his own industry and self-denial. The Saviour will accept the free-will offerings of every one. Gifts which are the fruit of self-denial to extend the precious light of truth, will be as fragrant incense before God. RH December 7, 1886, par. 15

Have we been forgetful of God's goodness in the past, we have now a precious opportunity to redeem these neglects. Let us upon the coming Christmas and New Year's not only make an offering to him of our means, but give ourselves to him in willing service. To each of us, from the oldest to the youngest, is granted the privilege of becoming workers together with God. Christ is soon to come in the clouds of heaven to reward every one according to his works. To whom will it then be said, “Ye have done what ye could”? RH December 7, 1886, par. 16

Torre Pellice, Italy.