The Review and Herald

288/1902

November 18, 1884

I am happy to be able to say that thus far on this journey East, our brethren have given evidence that they love and appreciate the Master by the care they have bestowed on the servants who are engaged in doing his work. They have thus left the impression on the minds of their children, and of others who are not naturally considerate, that those to whom God has intrusted his most solemn, sacred message are to be highly esteemed for their work's sake. They have been made to feel that the lives and strength of God's chosen messengers are precious, and should be carefully preserved to do the work of the Lord in the best manner possible. Jesus counts the kindnesses done to them as service rendered to himself. Remember his words: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 1

Right Methods in Labor

[Remarks made in a meeting for ministers, canvassers, and other laborers, held on the camp-ground at Burlington, VT.]

EGW

Ministers, canvassers, colporteurs, and other laborers in the cause, should be careful to meet the responsibilities that God has laid upon them. Their course of action will mold the churches that have their labor; therefore there should be diligent heart-searching to see whether they are in the love of God, whether Christ is dwelling in them by living faith. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 2

The standard of Bible religion has been greatly lowered. To confess Christ is not what many suppose it to be; and the lax ideas that prevail on this subject have affected ministers as well as people. Personal conflicts and victories will make up the experience of every child of God. But how many there are who profess Christ, and yet know nothing of this Christian warfare. They make no advancement in the Christian life after their baptismal vows are taken. It is not considered essential to carry their religion into their every-day life, into all their business and social relations; and with many, personal experience in the things of God come to an end when they unite with the church. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 3

A worldly religion is now current; and the minister has a work to do to arouse a sleepy, indolent, world-loving church from their dangerous slumbers. If he is a true servant of Christ, he will not cease his prayers, he will not cease his efforts, until every member of his flock has been brought into working order. He will not, if he is a true educator, think to do all the work himself, but will show skill in bringing out and developing the talent that is within his reach. The people must be taught to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, and this is the minister's great work. All power belongs to God; but he has chosen human instrumentalities to do his work in the earth. Here is something to call into active exercise all the powers which men and women possess, whether mental or physical. They have no right to bury their talents in worldly enterprises, thus depriving the Creator of the service which is his due. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 4

The work of God must be carried forward in the earth, and that which he has determined must be accomplished. But the Lord is just, merciful, and good; he requires nothing of his servants which they cannot do,—nothing but that it is for their interest to do. Sometimes ministers do too much; they seek to embrace the whole work in their arms. It absorbs and dwarfs them; yet they continue to grasp it all. They seem to think that they alone are to work in the cause of God, while the members of the church stand idle. This is not God's order at all. Jesus inquires of these unemployed ones, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” And his word of command to them is, “Go ye also into the vineyard.” RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 5

Christ is our living head, and we are the members of his body, mutually dependent. It is not his plan that a single member shall become weak for want of exercise. If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it. If one member is honored or enlightened, all the members rejoice with it. Every member receives life from Christ, the living head, “from whom the whole body, fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.” “The eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee,” for “unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 6

Thus it is plainly stated that each member is to be active, and to use his ability to the utmost for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom in the earth. We each have an individuality in our work, but not separate and distinct from our brethren. A living link unites the people of God, and makes them one in spirit, one in knowledge, and one in love to God and their fellow-men. They are branches of the Living Vine, and are partakers of its sap and nourishment. Every branch in the Vine is expected to be fruit-bearing. Said Jesus, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 7

It is not the will of God that any should perish, but that all should come to a knowledge of the truth, and be saved. And if men and women would unselfishly do the work which God has left for them, not shirking responsibilities, the gospel would be brought within the reach of all. Let none be content to drink of the life-giving fountain themselves, but let them extend the invitation, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Christ left his royal throne and high command in heaven, and came into the world to save sinners. Who of those who profess to be his ministers—who of you, my brethren—have such a love for souls as Jesus has shown for you? RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 8

God uses simple instruments. With Jesus abiding in the soul by faith, we can do all things. If the soul is sanctified through the truth, it will be revealed in the life. If you labor unselfishly, dear brethren, however imperfect your work may appear, it is accepted in the sight of your Master, and it will accomplish his purpose. But if your work has been done in human wisdom, or has been marred by selfish motives, the divine signet will not be placed upon it, and you will be made ashamed. Your preaching in the desk is only the beginning of your work for Jesus. Your discourses must be followed by holy living, by bearing burdens in the cause of God, by coming close to hearts, by teaching every one how to make the best use of the talents intrusted to him of God. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 9

Everything of a worldly nature must be kept subordinate to the higher, eternal interest. The minister must be Christ-like, forgetful of self; all childishness, weakness, and deformity of character must be overcome. He must be a pattern of piety, having learned to exercise the meekness and lowliness of Christ and to bear his yoke with patience. Jesus lived not to please himself; but how few are the instances where men in this age are willing to deny self, and take up the cross and bear it after him. The present character and works of God's professed people are not in accordance with their faith. There must be more of a self-sacrificing spirit, more earnestness and faithfulness in their labors, on the part of those who would enter the ministry. Those who professedly represent Christ must keep themselves unspotted from the world. They must be minute men, earnest and true, that the power of God may attend their efforts, while like Paul they labor to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 10

The great deficiency in love and zeal, the manifest backsliding, the easy, contented disposition of many who profess Christ, should alarm the watchmen. They should inquire, What does this mean? Where am I standing? What am I doing to make manifest the truth as it is in Jesus? Am I watching for souls as they that must give an account? What do the books of heaven testify of me? Is faithfulness set down opposite my name, or am I classed with the slothful servants, whose portion will be with hypocrites and unbelievers? As a people, we profess to believe most sacred, testing truths. God has made us the depositaries of his law. We are chosen to be separate from the world, to be God's peculiar people, to love him, but to renounce the world and the things of the world. We are called upon to deny self, and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 11

Many youthful ministers have not a sense of the sacredness of the work. They are weak when they should be strong. Christ went without the camp, bearing the reproach of sin, and we are to follow his example. Paul exhorts, “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” The Lord of glory assumed human nature that he might seek and save that which was lost, and link finite man with the infinite God. No other eyes looked upon man with such pity; no other arm was able to save; no other hand could lay hold on man to lift him up. The condescension of Jesus, his self-sacrifice and unparalleled effort, have prepared the way for us to labor in his strength. Now the question is, Will we work as Christ worked, full of love and pity, or will we coldly hold ourselves aloof from our fellow-men? RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 12

We should manifest our love for souls by doing what we can for their salvation. We must exercise much forbearance and wisdom, and put forth pains-taking effort. We must be much in prayer that God will work with our efforts. “Abide in me,” is Jesus’ requirement; and this involves careful living, and persevering, untiring efforts to save souls. But how easily we become discouraged, and turn away from souls because the great adversary binds them to his side. Selfishness girds us about as with iron bands, and we do not feel like exerting ourselves for others; but selfishness cannot exist where true faith in Christ is exercised. Self-interest, coldness, sluggishness, cowardice, all shrink from the presence of faith. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 13

There is danger of becoming selfish and sectional in our feelings while laboring for the upbuilding of the cause of God. If men are converted to the truth here in Vermont, is it any reason why you should feel that you have a right to confine their labors to this State? This is not wise policy. They may be adapted to some special work which the Lord has for them to do elsewhere, and let no man reach out his finite arm to bar the way. Let no one manifest a selfishness in this matter, for the world is to be warned. Souls in other States and Conferences are just as much in need of the message of truth as those in your own State, where you are particularly interested. The truth is in our hands to be communicated to those who have it not, and souls are to be reached wherever they are. The standard of Christ is to be raised in many places where as yet it has never been seen. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 14

If duty calls the young men who have been laboring in your State to go elsewhere, do not seek to hold them back. There has been too much of this selfishness shown in various sections. One part of the field is as important as another. Our field is the world. There are no bounds; but, sowers, be diligent, “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” If men are moved to other fields, work on, pray on, that God may raise up others, and by the soul-transforming truths for this time fit them to labor in his vineyard, either to remain with you, or to go into other States. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 15

Of those who are just entering the work of the ministry, growth is expected. They should heed the words of Peter, “Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How few receive the amazing grace and love of Christ with a deep and permanent sense of their own weakness and unworthiness! If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for them; but he cannot trust them with any large measure of grace and responsibility without their becoming self-exalted, filled with pride and vain conceit. RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 16

What a work might be done for the Master by you, brethren, who are assembled under this tent. But do not overestimate yourselves. “I dwell,” says Jehovah, “with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” We shall forfeit the favor of God if we lose the meek and lowly spirit which in his sight is of great price. Love to Jesus must be the motive which impels us to action. He places the highest value upon even the most trivial acts done from love to him. We must love one another as he has loved us; and by and by we shall hear him pronounce the welcome benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” RH November 18, 1884, Art. A, par. 17