The Review and Herald


April 26, 1887

Courtesy in Workers for God

[Morning talk at Orebro, Sweden, June 22, 1886.]


“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another; love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” 1 Peter 3:8. RH April 26, 1887, par. 1

There is a necessity for all who profess to be followers of Christ, to manifest true Christian politeness. In Sweden the education given to the children is to be courteous in character. And while we profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, we must make it our life work to bring into the character whatever is amiable in temper, with whatever is firm in principle. “Be courteous,” is a Bible injunction. We all have our peculiar temperaments. Some have very quick tempers; some are inclined to be morose, some stubborn, and others coarse and rough, unkind in words. Therefore we need to cultivate our tempers, take ourselves in hand; and the very best way to do this, is to learn diligently meekness and lowliness in the school of Christ. We need to study carefully the lessons that he gave his disciples, meditate upon them, and take them, to ourselves. We should not be satisfied to be half-way Christians. It is not only a privilege to each of us, but a duty, to reach the highest standard of Christian perfection; and especially is this true of those who are contemplating giving themselves to the work, to do errands for God, and to open the Scriptures to their fellow men. RH April 26, 1887, par. 2

It is a very nice business to seek to win souls to Christ. It is the greatest work ever given to mortal man, to deal with human minds. If you find access to hearts of almost every stamp of character, you must heed the injunction of the apostle to be courteous. Love will do that which argument will fail to accomplish. Love is power. The workers need to bring the love of Jesus into their labors. Those who are young are much more easily impressed than those who have reached mature age; and if the young men and women understood their capabilities, if the grace of Christ ruled in their hearts, they might be a power for good in the hand of the Lord. They are to fix their eyes upon the Pattern. RH April 26, 1887, par. 3

There is a brother who gave himself to the work of preparing for the ministry; a large share of his youth was devoted to this object; but when he stood up before the people to preach, his speech was so defective that he could not interest or hold the congregation. That man was strong so far as a knowledge of the truth was concerned, but his utterance was so defective that he wearied the people. His words were not distinctly spoken; and when the brethren tried to persuade him to give up preaching, he said, “I can do better.” And he tried, but the effect was the same. He stated that he had been imitating a certain minister whose organs of speech we knew were defective; and he had tried to imitate this minister's defects in his manner of delivery, and in this way had almost entirely destroyed his influence as a speaker, and his utterance and voice were, we fear, hopelessly ruined. The habit had become second nature to him. Young men who have it in mind to give themselves to the ministry, should be very careful how they imitate any living man. They should act themselves; have their powers consecrated to God. It is much easier to take wrong impressions than to do away with them after they have been established in the mind and become habits. RH April 26, 1887, par. 4

Every one who expects to become a worker in the ranks in any capacity, should educate himself for the work; and he should seek constantly to improve in his general deportment and in the manner of using his voice, in distinct pronunciation, and in every respect. I know that these young people can make of themselves almost anything they may choose to become by the help of Jesus. You want to keep before your mind's eye continually the perfect Pattern, and that is Jesus Christ. And as you go into different places to carry the publications of present truth, you want to have this spirit of courteousness with you; and if you approach the people with an attitude of kindness, not with self-sufficiency, they will know that you are interested in their welfare. You want to bring this spirit of courteousness into your character at home in your families and abroad. RH April 26, 1887, par. 5

Abraham, the father of the faithful, was a man of true courteousness, and he brought courtesy into his family. Abraham was a man of peace; he wished to avoid contention. When the dispute arose among his herdsmen and those of Lot, it was his privilege to say which part of the country he should have. Abraham was the older; he had brought Lot up as his own son; but he gave the privilege of choice to Lot, saying, “If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” Lot accordingly chose. He was captivated by the rich valley of the Jordan. He did not have the spirit of true courtesy. He only considered his own advantage. He did not think of the character of those who dwelt where he was choosing his home. He was ambitious for riches. The inhabitants of that beautiful valley were exceedingly wicked; but, nevertheless, Lot placed himself among them without considering what the associations would be to him and his family religiously. As the result, his soul was vexed with the abominable wickedness of Sodom, and his interest and that of his family had become so mixed with them that he thought change impossible. He had, lastly, the command of an angel from heaven to flee for his life; and all his possessions were consumed in Sodom. RH April 26, 1887, par. 6

We want to bring the spirit that Abraham had into our lives; and if we cultivate this spirit, we shall leave an impression upon the minds of the people that they cannot easily erase. We have found in America that even the young men have gained access to the hearts of older men by exercising true Christian politeness. Some have found access to hearts by going out into the fields where the men were laboring, and taking hold of the hoe or scythe and helping them in their work. This made the people feel that they were not above them, and they said, These people are different from other ministers I have seen; they are not above laboring with their hands, and I think I shall go out and hear what they have to say. And thus they would become interested in the truth. Now, if all would carry with them this deportment, and show that they have a burden for the work and for the souls around them, they would leave an influence for good. If you throw right open the door of the heart to have Jesus take possession of the soul, you will just as surely carry out the principles of Christian politeness as they dwelt in the heart of Jesus. RH April 26, 1887, par. 7

I wish that all who think of taking a part in the work would feel the importance of starting right. The more you have of Jesus, the more you will reflect him to those that are around you. You want to be thorough with yourselves, that you may be workmen that need not be ashamed, wherever you go bringing the lovely traits of Christ's character into your labor. Soften whatever is harsh in your temper, and burnish off the rough edges of your character. Never be sour and harsh at any time. Abstain from frowns and contempt, however much you may feel them. You should win respect by being respectful and courteous. Treat every one with civility; they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. If you seek to imitate Christ in your character, the impression upon the people will not be made by you, but by the angels of God that stand right by your side; they will touch the hearts of those to whom you speak. RH April 26, 1887, par. 8

Let us read the ninth verse of this chapter: “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Now, you must bear all things, and yet not be discouraged. Hope still that you will yet have access to the hearts of the people. Remember it is the soft answer that turneth away wrath. However they may treat you, remember that they treated Christ worse. Be sure to maintain self-control; if you show self conceit you will be despised. Be clothed with humility, and present the truth as it is in Jesus. RH April 26, 1887, par. 9