Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2


Chapter 22—Courage in the Minister

Dear Brother G,

I have been shown that you were greatly deficient in your duties as a minister. You lack essential qualifications. You do not possess a missionary spirit. You have not a disposition to sacrifice your ease and pleasure to save souls. There are men, women, and youth to be brought to Christ who would embrace the truth could they have the light presented to them. In your own vicinity there are those who have an ear to hear. 2T 150.1

I saw you seeking to instruct some; but at the very time when you needed perseverance, courage, and energy, you became fainthearted, distrustful, discouraged, and dropped the work. You desired your own ease, and allowed an interest which might have increased, to go down. There might have been an ingathering of souls; but the golden opportunity passed for that time, because of your lack of energy. I saw that unless you decide to gird on the whole armor, and are willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross of Christ, and feel that you can spend and be spent to bring souls to Christ, you should give up your profession as a minister and choose some other calling. 2T 150.2

Your soul is not sanctified to the work. You do not take the burden of the work upon you. You choose an easier lot than that which is appointed to the minister of Christ. He counted not His life dear unto Himself. He pleased not Himself, but lived for others’ good. He made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant. It is not enough to be able to present the arguments of our position before the people. The minister of Christ must possess an undying love for souls, a spirit of self-denial, of self-sacrifice. He should be willing to give his life, if need be, to the work of saving his fellow men, for whom Christ died. 2T 151.1

You need a conversion to the work of God. You need wisdom and judgment to apply yourself to the work and direct your labor. Your labors are not required among the churches. You should go out in new places and prove your work. Go with a spirit to labor to convert souls to the truth. If you feel the worth of souls, the least indication for good will rejoice your heart, and you will persevere, although there may be labor and weariness in the effort. After you have once agitated the subject of truth, do not leave that place if there is the least indication for good. Do you expect a harvest without labor? Do you expect that Satan will readily allow his subjects to pass from his ranks to the ranks of Christ? He will make every effort to keep them bound in fetters of darkness under his black banner. Can you expect to be victorious in winning souls to Christ without earnest effort, when you have such a foe to face and battle? 2T 151.2

You must have more courage, more zeal, and put forth greater efforts, or you will have to decide that you have mistaken your calling. An easily discouraged minister does injury to the cause he desires to promote, and injustice to himself. All who profess to be ministers of Christ should learn wisdom by studying the history of the Man of Nazareth, and also the history of Martin Luther and the lives of other Reformers. Their labors were arduous, but they endured hardness as faithful soldiers of the cross of Christ. You should not shun responsibilities. With modesty, you should be willing to be advised, to be instructed. After you have received counsel from the wise, the judicious, there is yet a Counselor whose wisdom is unerring. Fail not to present your case before Him and entreat His direction. He has promised that if you lack wisdom and ask of Him, He will give it to you liberally and upbraid not. The sacred, solemn work in which we are engaged calls for wholehearted, thoroughly converted men, whose lives are interwoven with the life of Christ. They draw sap and nourishment from the living Vine, and flourish in the Lord. Although they feel the magnitude of the work, and are led to exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things?” yet they will not shrink from labor and toil, but will labor earnestly and unselfishly to save souls. If the undershepherds are faithful in all their duty, they will enter into the joy of their Lord and have the satisfaction of seeing souls saved in heaven through their faithful efforts. 2T 151.3