Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work


Chapter 30—Fragments

Those who instruct children should avoid tedious remarks. Short remarks and to the point will have a happy influence. If much is to be said, make up for briefness by frequency. A few words of interest now and then will be more beneficial than to have it all at once. Long speeches burden the small minds of children. Too much talk will lead them to loathe even spiritual instruction, just as overeating burdens the stomach and lessens the appetite, leading even to a loathing of food. The minds of the people may be glutted with too much speechifying. Labor for the church, but especially for the youth, should be line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Give minds time to digest the truths you feed them. Children must be drawn toward heaven, not rashly, but very gently.—Testimonies for the Church 2:420. TSS 107.1

The student of the Sabbath-school should feel as thoroughly in earnest to become intelligent in the knowledge of the Scriptures as to excel in the study of the sciences. If either is neglected, it should be the lessons of the six days. The injunction of our Saviour should be religiously regarded by every man, woman, and child who professes His name. Teachers in the Sabbath-school have a missionary field given them to teach the Scriptures, not parrot-like, to repeat over that which they have taken no pains to understand. “They are they which testify of Me,”—the Redeemer, Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. If teachers are not imbued with the spirit of truth, and care not for the knowledge of what is revealed in the Word of God, how can they present the truth in an attractive light to those under their charge? ... TSS 107.2

The student of the Sabbath-school should be in earnest, should dig deep and search with the greatest care for the precious gems of truth contained in the weekly lessons. The privileges and opportunities which they now have of becoming intelligent in regard to the Scriptures should not be neglected. God would have those who profess to be His followers thoroughly furnished with proof of the doctrines of His Word. When and where can this be better obtained than in youth at the Sabbath-school? Parents should in no case treat this matter indifferently.—The Review and Herald, November 28, 1878, par. 12. TSS 108.1

No one can labor in the Sabbath-school or in the temperance work without reaping a bountiful harvest, not only in the end of the world, but in the present life. In the very effort to enlighten and bless others, his own views will become clearer and broader. The more we endeavor to explain the truth to others, with a love for souls, the plainer will it become to ourselves. It ever opens with new beauty and force to the understanding of the expounder.—Testimonies for the Church 5:121. TSS 108.2

The Sabbath-school work is important, and all who are interested in the truth should endeavor to make it prosperous.—Testimonies for the Church 5:127. TSS 109.1

Companies of Sabbath-keepers may be raised up in many places. Often they will not be large companies; but they must not be neglected; they must not be left to die for want of proper personal effort and training. The work should not be left prematurely. See that all are intelligent in the truth, established in the faith, and interested in every branch of the work, before leaving them for another field.... TSS 109.2

It has been proved in the missionary field that, whatever may be the preaching talent, if the laboring part is neglected, if the people are not taught how to work, how to conduct meetings, how to act their part in missionary labor, how to reach people successfully, the work will be nearly a failure. There is much to be done in the Sabbath-school work, also, in bringing the people to realize their obligation, and to act their part. God calls them to work for Him, and the ministers should guide their efforts.—Testimonies for the Church 5:256. TSS 109.3

After referring to the faithfulness of Caleb, Hannah, and Dorcas, the testimony says:— TSS 109.4

Such patient, prayerful, and persevering fidelity as was possessed by these saints of God is rare; yet the church can not prosper without it. It is needed in the church, in the Sabbath-school, and in society.—Testimonies for the Church 5:304. TSS 109.5

The Sabbath-school is an important branch of the missionary work, not only because it gives to young and old a knowledge of God's Word, but because it awakens in them a love for its sacred truths, and a desire to study them for themselves; above all, it teaches them to regulate their lives by its holy teachings,—Testimonies for the Church 5:389. TSS 109.6

At a certain meeting held in Iowa in 1884, Sister White said:— TSS 110.1

By request I spoke about thirty minutes, warning them against letting their Sabbath-schools degenerate into a mere mechanical routine. We should not seek to imitate Sunday-schools, nor keep up the interest by offering prizes. The offering of rewards will create rivalry, envy, and jealousy; and some who are the most diligent and worthy will receive little credit. Scholars should not try to see how many verses they can learn and repeat; for this brings too great a strain upon the ambitious child, while the rest become discouraged. TSS 110.2

Try none of these methods in your Sabbath-schools; but let superintendents and teachers make every effort to have life and interest in their schools. What a blessing it would be if all would teach as Jesus taught! He did not aim to attract attention by eloquence or by overwhelming grandeur of sentiment. On the contrary, His language was plain, and His thoughts were expressed with greatest simplicity; but He spoke with loving earnestness. In your teaching be as near like Him as possible. Make your exercises interesting. Let the teachers show that they have thoroughly learned the lesson, and are intensely interested in it. Let there be no frivolous or superficial interpretations of the Scriptures, but let each be prepared to go to the bottom of the subject presented. TSS 110.3

Parents should feel it a sacred duty to instruct their children in the statutes and requirements of God as well as in the prophecies. They should educate their children at home, and should themselves be interested in the Sabbath-school lessons. By studying with the children they show that they attach importance to the truth brought out in the lessons, and help to create a taste for Bible knowledge.—The Review and Herald, October 21, 1884. TSS 111.1

Our Sabbath-schools, which are to instruct the children and youth, are too superficial. The managers of these need to plow deeper. They need to put more thought and more hard work upon the work they are doing. They need to be more thorough students of the Bible, and to have a deeper religious experience, in order to know how to conduct Sabbath-schools after the Lord's order, and how to lead children and youth to their Saviour. This is one of the branches of the work that is crippling along for the want of efficient, discerning men and women, who feel their accountability to God to use their powers, not to exhibit self, not for vainglory, but to do good.—The Review and Herald, June 21, 1887. TSS 111.2

There was a general superintendent of Sabbath-schools who, while addressing a Sabbath-school upon one occasion, was very dry, lengthy, and uninteresting. A mother asked her daughter of ten years if she enjoyed the exercise, and also, “What did the minister say?” Said the little girl, “He said, and he said, and he said, and he didn't say anything.” Now, we do not want any such account of our labor as that. We want the very best of training for the work that we can possibly have ourselves, so that we can make a success in teaching others the things that we have learned.—The Review and Herald, July 26, 1887. TSS 111.3