Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 34, 1901

Our Aged Workers


April 20, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in RY 34-35; ChL 18. +Note

I call upon my brethren assembled in Conference to remember that the church militant is not the church triumphant. Let our younger ministers show great respect for the men of grey hairs, who have had an experience in the development of the work from stage to stage. These wrestlers should be greatly appreciated. As they become worn, unable to bear taxation, give them attention and respect and a place in your councils in connection with the work. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 1

When John was old and grey-headed he was given a message to bear to the persecuted churches. Read and appreciate the first epistle of John. Study the principles presented. From the lips of the aged disciple there constantly fell words which magnified the Saviour as he related his experience in connection with Him. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 2

Because of the false accusations made by the Jews against John, the Roman power tried to take his life. But his time to die had not come. The Lord said, “Let him live. I who created him will be with him and guard him.” The Jews made several attempts to take John’s life, but this they could not do. Constantly he bore testimony for the Master. In beautiful language and with musical voice he told of the words and works of Christ, speaking in a way that impressed the hearts of all who heard him. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 3

John was sent as an exile to Patmos, and the Jews thought that they had certainly rid themselves of him. But Christ visited him in his exile and communicated to him the grand truths found in the Revelation. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 4

The Lord gives special grace and knowledge to the aged men who have had an experience in the work from its earliest history, and have watched it develop in its various lines of progress. Let these men be appreciated and respected. Let not <the fact be lost sight of that> in the past they have sacrificed everything to advance the work. Because they are growing old is no reason why they should cease to exert an influence superior to the influence of the men who have had far less study of the Word, far less experience in divine things, far less knowledge of the communications of Christ to His people. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 5

I have been instructed that no indifference or disrespect is to be shown to these burden-bearing pioneers in the work. They are God’s workmen and have acted a prominent part in the building up [of] the work which today ought to bear the similitude of the pattern shown them in the mount. But the principles of right have been perverted; worldly plans have been brought in, greatly to the detriment of the purity, sanctification, and holiness of the work in its various branches. God calls for decided reformations. Men who at this time are placed in office should be regarded as on trial for not more than six months or one year, to develop their specific qualifications for the line of work they are to carry. Those who are entrusted with the management of the more important districts should have solid ability. They should be men who are able to carry responsibilities. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 6

It would be wisdom for <several> men to take this work. One man should not be left to oversee the important but neglected fields. With the testimonies before them, our ministers have passed by on the other side, to seek more favorable places where churches have been raised up. Slothful work has been done. The Lord calls for persevering, determined effort. He will not accept or bless the workers who do not manifest a determined effort to be producers as well as consumers. Men must be chosen as leaders who are benevolent, who will take in the situation. A genuine experience is a growing experience. He who has this experience increases daily in ability. His trust is in God, and he is given strength to devise and plan, multiplying powers of usefulness. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 7

The young convert must advance in the knowledge of truth and of the love of God in order to keep the place he has reached. If he does not increase in knowledge, gaining greater wisdom day by day, as his responsibilities increase and new fields open before him, his light will become dim and will finally flicker into darkness. The Lord has made every provision for men to gain strength and maturity. Let all remember that they are on trial before the heavenly intelligences, that they must be faithful armor bearers. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 8

The minister is placed where he must be an example to others. Those who are placed in a position of responsibility should work with an eye single to the glory of God. This must be if their profiting appears unto all. The idea of being once in grace, always in grace, will not bear the test. Men may be thrown off their guard. They may not, when entrusted with responsibilities, make the Lord their dependence. We must all remember that this world is not heaven. The faith of those who comprehend the situation, who work with all their God-given energy, will be tried, because there are so few who work in such a way as to uplift and save perishing souls. Let the vain and envious talkers be converted. Let them come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. The enemy of God and man will be glad to receive the strength of your influence, which you give to him when you fail to use aright your God-given talents. Do not use the talent of speech to misrepresent, misjudge, and depreciate. By doing this work many have been growing weak in spirituality and in brotherly love, until the candlestick is terribly shaken, and, unless they repent, will be moved out of its place. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 9

God has given every one a part in the work of defeating the enemy. Let us not, by thinking and speaking evil, sow seed which will produce a harvest we shall not care to reap. God calls upon His people to use the tongue in speaking words of hope and encouragement. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 10

Let the backsliders humble their poor, sin-sick hearts before the throne of God. Wrestle with God as Jacob wrestled with the angel, until you realize that He will have mercy and not sacrifice. Do you see much that you interpret as selfishness, much that you think cannot be approved by God? Apply your keen, sharp measurement of perfection to your individual self. Be sure that you are doing better work than the one you criticize. Be sure that you are diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. Be sure that you set a better example than the one with whom you find fault. Be sure that your words with reference to the defects of your brethren are few and well-chosen. Remember that men and women are justified by faith and judged by works. What are you doing? Let the complainers and faultfinders cease doing the work that suits the enemy so well. Devote the talent of speech to blessing and strengthening, not to weakening and destroying. Let every one who has had the privilege of knowing the truth ask himself the question, “Am I investing my influence, my time, and my means in God’s way? Is my whole life an evidence that I love my Lord and the souls for whom He gave His life?” Let each one say, “I am the possessor of some trust, and I will probe my own motives and scrutinize my own actions.” 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 11

To one God gives five talents, to another two, and to another one. To every one is given some gift. There is no person living who has not received a talent from God; and God holds him responsible to make the most of that gift, to sanctify it to the Master’s use. God has given talents to the entire human family, from the highest to the lowest. All our talents belong to Him. They are to be used in blessing our fellow beings. The church of Christ is made up of talents large and small. All are to use their capabilities and powers in doing good. Continually they are to increase in usefulness, by seeking to bless and help others. 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 12

Those who misapply the gifts of grace, so that they do not accomplish what they should for the benefit of others, are consumers, but not producers. God requires His own with usury. He keeps an account with every individual. Let no one use his influence to disparage the work of another, which they cannot understand because they have never felt a burden of responsibility. Weakness and indecision, self-indulgence and selfish ambition, are carrying church members to spiritual imbecility. The fruits of righteousness do not appear in them. They apply selfish motives to the earnest worker, because it seems an impossibility for them to do the work others are doing. O, how dangerous is such a position! How much such lose of the precious fragrance of Christ’s love! 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 13

Are you condemning your brother, while at the same time you fail to examine yourself? The word of the Lord to you is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” [Matthew 7:1-5.] 16LtMs, Ms 34, 1901, par. 14