Danger Accompanying Missionary Activity
Let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. We shall be in danger of losing our sense of dependence upon God, who alone can make our work succeed; but although this is the tendency, let no one think that the human instrument is to do less. No, he is not to do less, but to do more by accepting the heavenly gift, the Holy Spirit.—The Review and Herald, July 4, 1893.There will come times when the church will be stirred by divine power, and earnest activity will be the result; for the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit will inspire its members to go forth and bring souls to Christ. But when this activity is manifested, the most earnest workers will be safe only as they depend upon God through constant, earnest prayer. They will need to make earnest supplication that through the grace of Christ they may be saved from taking pride in their work, or of making a savior of their activity. They must constantly look to Jesus, that they may realize that it is His power which does the work, and thus be able to ascribe all the glory to God. We shall be called upon to make most decided efforts to extend the work of God, and prayer to our heavenly Father will be most essential. It will be necessary to engage in prayer in the closet, in the family, and in the church.—The Review and Herald, July 4, 1893.In the estimation of the rabbis, it was the sum of religion to be always in a bustle of activity. They depended upon some outward performance to show their superior piety. Thus they separated their souls from God, and built themselves up in self-sufficiency. The same dangers still exist. As activity increases, and men become successful in doing any work for God, there is danger of trusting to human plans and methods. There is a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. Like the disciples, we are in danger of losing sight of our dependence on God, and seeking to make a savior of our activity. We need to look constantly to Jesus, realizing that it is His power which does the work. While we are to labor earnestly for the salvation of the lost, we must also take time for meditation, for prayer, and for the study of the Word of God. Only the work accomplished with much prayer, and sanctified by the merit of Christ, will in the end prove to have been efficient for good.—The Desire of Ages, 362.
Encouragement to Beginners in Christian Service
The most successful toilers are those who cheerfully take up the work of serving God in little things. Every human being is to work with his life-thread, weaving it into the fabric to help complete the pattern.—Testimonies for the Church 6:115.We are to make our everyday duties acts of devotion, constantly increasing in usefulness, because we see our work in the light of eternity.—Testimonies for the Church 9:150.The Lord has a place for every one in His great plan. Talents that are not needed are not bestowed.—Testimonies for the Church 9:37.Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.—Christ's Object Lessons, 326, 327.The Lord has His eye upon every one of His people; He has His plans concerning each.—Testimonies for the Church 6:12.All can do something in the work. None will be pronounced guiltless before God unless they have worked earnestly and unselfishly for the salvation of souls.—Testimonies for the Church 5:395.Your duty cannot be shifted upon another. No one but yourself can do your work. If you withhold your light, someone must be left in darkness through your neglect.—Testimonies for the Church 5:464.The humble worker who obediently responds to the call of God may be sure of receiving divine assistance. To accept so great and holy a responsibility is itself elevating to the character. It calls into action the highest mental and spiritual powers, and strengthens and purifies the mind and heart. Through faith in the power of God, it is wonderful how strong a weak man may become, how decided his efforts, how prolific of great results. He who begins with a little knowledge, in a humble way, and tells what he knows, while seeking diligently for further knowledge, will find the whole heavenly treasure awaiting his demand. The more he seeks to impart light, the more light he will receive. The more one tries to explain the Word of God to others, with a love for souls, the plainer it becomes to himself. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our powers, the more knowledge and power we shall have.—Christ's Object Lessons, 354.Let every one labor for God and for souls; let each show wisdom, and never be found in idleness, waiting for some one to set him to work. The “some one” who could set you to work is overcrowded with responsibilities, and time is lost in waiting for his directions. God will give you wisdom in reforming at once; for the call is still made, “Son, go work today in My vineyard.” “Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Hebrews 3:7, 8. The Lord prefaces the requirement with the endearing word “son.” How tender, how compassionate, yet withal, how urgent! His invitation is also a command.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 419.Strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service.—The Acts of the Apostles, 105.Every act, every deed of justice and mercy and benevolence, makes music in heaven.—The Review and Herald, August 16, 1881.The spirit of Christ is a missionary spirit. The very first impulse of the renewed heart is to bring others also to the Saviour.—The Great Controversy, 70.The only way to grow in grace is to be interestedly doing the very work Christ has enjoined upon us to do.—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.You are not to wait for great occasions or to expect extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God.—Steps to Christ, 83.The man who blesses society, and makes a success of life, is the one who, whether educated or uneducated, uses all his powers in the service of God and his fellow men.—The Southern Watchman, April 2, 1903.Many whom God has qualified to do excellent work accomplish very little, because they attempt little.—Christ's Object Lessons, 331.If you fail ninety-nine times in a hundred, but succeed in saving the one soul from ruin, you have done a noble deed for the Master's cause.—Testimonies for the Church 4:132.The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.—Steps to Christ, 100.The Lord sees and understands, and He will use you, despite your weakness, if you offer your talent as a consecrated gift to His service; for in active, disinterested service the weak become strong and enjoy His precious commendation. The joy of the Lord is an element of strength. If you are faithful, the peace that passeth all understanding will be your reward in this life, and in the future life you will enter into the joy of your Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 8:34.Persons of little talent, if faithful in keeping their hearts in the love of God, may win many souls to Christ. Harlan Page was a poor mechanic of ordinary ability and limited education; but he made it his chief business to seek to advance the cause of God, and his efforts were crowned with marked success. He labored for the salvation of his fellow men in private conversation and in earnest prayer. He established prayer meetings, organized Sunday schools, and distributed tracts and other religious reading. And on his deathbed, with the shadow of eternity resting upon his countenance, he was able to say, “I know that it is all of God's grace, and not through any merit of anything that I have done; but I think I have evidence that more than one hundred souls have been converted to God through my personal instrumentality.”—Testimonies for the Church 5:307, 308.This world is not the Christian's heaven, but merely the workshop of God, where we are to be fitted up to unite with sinless angels in a holy heaven.—Testimonies for the Church 2:187.The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others. They may not realize that they are doing any special good, but by their unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results they may never know until the day of final reward. They do not feel or know that they are doing anything great. They are not required to weary themselves with anxiety about success. They have only to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work that God's providence assigns, and their life will not be in vain. Their own souls will be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ; they are workers together with God in this life, and are thus fitting for the higher work and the unshadowed joy of the life to come.—Steps to Christ, 83.There are many who have given themselves to Christ, yet who see no opportunity of doing a large work or making great sacrifices in His service. These may find comfort in the thought that it is not necessarily the martyr's self-surrender which is most acceptable to God; it may not be the missionary who has daily faced danger and death, that stands highest in heaven's records. The Christian who is such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that which is least, the one who in the home life represents the character of Christ,—such a one may in the sight of God be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary or martyr.—Christ's Object Lessons, 403.Not the amount of labor performed, or its visible results, but the spirit in which the work is done, makes it of value with God.—Christ's Object Lessons, 397.The approval of the Master is not given because of the greatness of the work performed, because many things have been gained, but because of the fidelity in even a few things. It is not the great results we attain, but the motives from which we act, that weigh with God. He prizes goodness and faithfulness more than the greatness of the work accomplished.—Testimonies for the Church 2:510, 511.Do not pass by the little things, and look for a large work. You might do successfully the small work, but fail utterly in attempting a large work, and fall into discouragement. Take hold wherever you see that there is work to be done. Whether you are rich or poor, great or humble, God calls you into active service for Him. It will be by doing with your might what your hands find to do that you will develop talent and aptitude for the work. And it is by neglecting your daily opportunities that you become fruitless and withered. This is why there are so many fruitless trees in the garden of the Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 9:129.The Lord desires us to use every gift we have; and if we do this, we shall have greater gifts to use. He does not supernaturally endow us with the qualifications we lack; but while we use that which we have, He will work with us to increase and strengthen every faculty. By every wholehearted, earnest sacrifice for the Master's service, our powers will increase.—Christ's Object Lessons, 353, 354.Christ's heart is cheered by the sight of those who are poor in every sense of the term; cheered by His view of the ill-used ones who are meek; cheered by the seemingly unsatisfied hungering after righteousness, by the inability of many to begin. He welcomes, as it were, the very condition of things that would discourage many ministers.—Gospel Workers, 37.We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ. We can do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate, and with whom we do business.—Steps to Christ, 81.If we are making the life and teachings of Christ our study, every passing event will furnish a text for an impressive discourse.—Testimonies for the Church 9:63.The life on earth is the beginning of the life in heaven; education on earth is an initiation into the principles of heaven; the life-work here is a training for the life-work there. What we now are, in character and holy service, is the sure foreshadowing of what we shall be.—Education, 307.Those who reject the privilege of fellowship with Christ in service, reject the only training that imparts a fitness for participation with Him in His glory. They reject the training that in this life gives strength and nobility of character.—Education, 264.Let none suppose that they can live a life of selfishness, and then, having served their own interests, enter into the joy of their Lord. In the joy of unselfish love they could not participate. They would not be fitted for the heavenly courts. They could not appreciate the pure atmosphere of love that pervades heaven. The voices of the angels and the music of their harps would not satisfy them. To their minds the science of heaven would be as an enigma.—Christ's Object Lessons, 364, 365.Christ calls upon us to labor patiently and perseveringly for the thousands perishing in their sins, scattered in all lands, like wrecks on a desert shore. Those who share in Christ's glory must share also in His ministry, helping the weak, the wretched, and the despondent.—Testimonies for the Church 9:31.The common people are to take their place as workers. Sharing the sorrows of their fellow men as the Saviour shared the sorrows of humanity, they will by faith see Him working with them.—Testimonies for the Church 7:272.Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple. Every one God has predestinated to be “conformed to the image of His Son.” In every one Christ's long-suffering love, His holiness, meekness, mercy, and truth, are to be manifested to the world.—The Desire of Ages, 827.The call to place all on the altar of service comes to each one. We are not all asked to serve as Elisha served, nor are we all bidden to sell everything we have; but God asks us to give His service the first place in our lives, to allow no day to pass without doing something to advance His work in the earth. He does not expect from all the same kind of service. One may be called to ministry in a foreign land; another may be asked to give of his means for the support of gospel work. God accepts the offering of each. It is the consecration of the life and all its interests, that is necessary. Those who make this consecration, will hear and obey the call of Heaven.—Prophets and Kings, 221.The worldly wise man, who meditates and plans, and whose business is ever in his mind, should seek to become wise in matters of eternal interest. If he would put forth as much energy to secure the heavenly treasure and the life which measures with the life of God as he does to secure worldly gain, what could he not accomplish?—Testimonies for the Church 6:297.God will move upon men in humble positions to declare the message of present truth. Many such will be seen hastening hither and thither, constrained by the Spirit of God to give the light to those in darkness. The truth is as a fire in their bones, filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sit in darkness. Many, even among the uneducated, will proclaim the word of the Lord. Children will be impelled by the Holy Spirit to go forth to declare the message of heaven. The Spirit will be poured out upon those who yield to His promptings. Casting off man's binding rules and cautious movements, they will join the army of the Lord.—Testimonies for the Church 7:26, 27.
The Christian Life in Landscape
The heart that receives the word of God is not as a pool that evaporates, not like a broken cistern that loses its treasure. It is like the mountain stream, fed by unfailing springs, whose cool, sparkling waters leap from rock to rock, refreshing the weary, the thirsty, the heavy-laden. It is like a river constantly flowing, and as it advances, becoming deeper and wider, until its life-giving waters are spread over all the earth. The stream that goes singing on its way, leaves behind its gift of verdure and fruitfulness. The grass on its banks is a fresher green, the trees have a richer verdure, the flowers are more abundant. When the earth lies bare and brown under the summer's scorching heat, a line of verdure marks the river's course.So it is with the true child of God. The religion of Christ reveals itself as a vitalizing, pervading principle, a living, working, spiritual energy. When the heart is opened to the heavenly influence of truth and love, these principles will flow forth again like streams in the desert, causing fruitfulness to appear where now are barrenness and dearth.—Prophets and Kings, 233, 234.
The Christian's Watchwords
There are three watchwords in the Christian life, which must be heeded if we would not have Satan steal a march upon us; namely, Watch, Pray, Work.—Testimonies for the Church 2:283.Every soul that has made a profession of Christ has pledged himself to be all that it is possible for him to be as a spiritual worker, to be active, zealous, and efficient in his Master's service. Christ expects every man to do his duty; let this be the watchword throughout the ranks of His followers.—Testimonies for the Church 5:460.
A Spiritual Paralytic
Strength comes by exercise. All who put to use the ability which God has given them, will have increased ability to devote to His service. Those who do nothing in the cause of God, will fail to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. A man who would lie down and refuse to exercise his limbs, would soon lose all power to use them. Thus the Christian who will not exercise his God-given powers, not only fails to grow up into Christ, but he loses the strength which he already has; he becomes a spiritual paralytic. It is those who, with love for God and their fellow men, are striving to help others, that become established, strengthened, settled, in the truth. The true Christian works for God, not from impulse, but from principle; not for a day or a month, but during the entire period of life.—Testimonies for the Church 5:393.
The Sure Remedy
For the disheartened there is a sure remedy,—faith, prayer, work. Faith and activity will impart assurance and satisfaction that will increase day by day. Are you tempted to give way to feelings of anxious foreboding or utter despondency? In the darkest days, when appearances seem most forbidding, fear not. Have faith in God. He knows your need. He has all power. His infinite love and compassion never weary. Fear not that He will fail of fulfilling His promise. He is eternal truth. Never will He change the covenant He has made with those who love Him. And He will bestow upon His faithful servants the measure of efficiency that their need demands.—Prophets and Kings, 164, 165.There is but one genuine cure for spiritual laziness, and that is work,—working for souls who need your help.—Testimonies for the Church 4:236.This is the recipe that Christ has prescribed for the fainthearted, doubting, trembling soul. Let the sorrowful ones, who walk mournfully before the Lord, arise and help some one who needs help.—Testimonies for the Church 6:266.Christians who are constantly growing in earnestness, in zeal, in fervor, in love,—such Christians never backslide.—The Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.It is those who are not engaged in this unselfish labor who have a sickly experience, and become worn out with struggling, doubting, murmuring, sinning, and repenting, until they lose all sense as to what constitutes genuine religion. They feel that they cannot go back to the world, and so they hang on the skirts of Zion, having petty jealousies, envyings, disappointments, and remorse. They are full of fault finding, and feed upon the mistakes and errors of their brethren. They have only a hopeless, faithless, sunless experience in their religious life.—The Review and Herald, September 2, 1890.
When Jesus went away, He left to every man his work, and “nothing to do” is an unwarrantable excuse. “Nothing to do” is the reason of trial among the brethren; for Satan will fill the minds of idlers with his own plans, and set them to work.... “Nothing to do” brings evil testimony against the brethren, and dissension into the church of Christ. Jesus says, “He that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.”—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1888.Brethren and sisters, many of you excuse yourselves from labor, on the plea of inability to work for others. But did God make you so incapable? Was not this inability produced by your own inactivity, and perpetuated by your own deliberate choice? Did not God give you at least one talent to improve, not for your own convenience and gratification, but for Him? Have you realized your obligation, as His hired servant, to bring a revenue to Him by the wise and skillful use of this intrusted capital? Have you not neglected opportunities to improve your powers to this end? It is too true that few have felt any real sense of their responsibility to God.—Testimonies for the Church 5:457.Many have the idea that if their life is a working, business life, they can do nothing for the salvation of souls, nothing to advance the cause of their Redeemer. They say they cannot do things by the halves, and therefore turn from religious duties and religious exercises, and bury themselves up in the world. They make their business primary, and forget God, and He is displeased with them. If any are engaged in business where they cannot advance in the divine life and perfect holiness in the fear of God, they should change to a business in which they can have Jesus with them every hour.—Testimonies for the Church 2:233, 234.
Aim for a Heavy Crown
We must not become weary or faint-hearted. It would be a terrible loss to barter away enduring glory for ease, convenience, and enjoyment, or for carnal indulgences. A gift from the hand of God awaits the overcomer. Not one of us deserves it; it is gratuitous on His part. Wonderful and glorious will be this gift, but let us remember that “one star differeth from another star in glory.” But as we are urged to strive for the mastery, let us aim, in the strength of Jesus, for the crown heavy with stars. “They that be wise shall shine as the firmament, and they that win many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.”—The Review and Herald, October 25, 1881.
Service Has Been Paid For
The Lord at His coming will scrutinize every talent; He will demand interest on the capital He has intrusted. By His own humiliation and agony, by His life of toil and His death of shame, Christ has paid for the service of all who have taken His name and profess to be His servants.—Testimonies for the Church 9:104.All are under deepest obligation to improve every capability for the work of winning souls to Him. “Ye are not your own,” He says; “for ye are bought with a price;” therefore glorify God by a life of service that will win men and women from sin to righteousness. We are bought with the price of Christ's own life,—bought that we may return to God His own in faithful service.—Testimonies for the Church 9:104.God has given me a message for His people. They must awake, spread their tents, and enlarge their borders. My brethren and sisters, you have been bought with a price, and all that you have and are is to be used to the glory of God and for the good of your fellow men. Christ died on the cross to save the world from perishing in sin. He asks your co-operation in this work. You are to be His helping hand. With earnest, unwearying effort you are to seek to save the lost. Remember that it was your sins that made the cross necessary.—Testimonies for the Church 7:9.Christ's followers have been redeemed for service. Our Lord teaches that the true object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service,—service to God and to their fellow men.... The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.—Christ's Object Lessons, 326.
Often the Christian life is beset with dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage and death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, Go forward. Let us obey the command, even though our sight cannot penetrate the darkness. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never disappear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obedience till every uncertainty disappears, and there remains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey. Faith looks beyond the difficulties, and lays hold of the unseen, even Omnipotence, therefore it cannot be baffled. Faith is the clasping of the hand of Christ in every emergency.—Gospel Workers, 262.Our ideas are altogether too narrow. God calls for continual advancement in the work of diffusing light. We must study improved ways and means of reaching the people. We need to hear with ears of faith the mighty Captain of the Lord's host saying, “Go forward.” We must act, and God will not fail us. He will do His part when we in faith do ours. Brethren and sisters who have been long in the truth, you have not done the work God calls upon you to do. Where is your love for souls?—Historical Sketches, 289, 290.It was the joy of Christ to save souls. Let this be your work and your joy. Perform all duties and make all sacrifices for Christ's sake, and He will be your constant helper. Go straight forward where the voice of duty calls; let no seeming difficulties hinder you. Take up your God-given responsibilities, and as you bear your sometimes heavy burdens, do not ask, “Why idle stands my brother, no yoke upon him laid?” Do the duty nearest you, and do it thoroughly and well, not coveting praise, but working for the Master because you belong to Him.—The Southern Watchman, April 2, 1903.The course of God's people should be upward and onward to victory. A greater than Joshua is leading on the armies of Israel. One is in our midst, even the Captain of our salvation, who has said for our encouragement, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He will lead us on to certain victory. What God promises, He is able at any time to perform. And the work He gives His people to do, He is able to accomplish by them.—Testimonies for the Church 2:122.Why do we not become enthused with the Spirit of Christ? Why are we so little moved by the pitiful cries of a suffering world? Do we consider our exalted privilege of adding a star to Christ's crown—a soul cut loose from the chains with which Satan has bound him, a soul saved in the kingdom of God? The church must realize its obligation to carry the gospel of present truth to every creature. I entreat of you to read the third and fourth chapters of Zechariah. If these chapters are understood, if they are received, a work will be done for those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness, a work that means to the church, “Go forward and upward.”—Testimonies for the Church 6:296.The great majority of this earth's inhabitants have given their allegiance to the enemy. But we have not been deceived. Notwithstanding the apparent triumph of Satan, Christ is carrying forward His work in the heavenly sanctuary and on the earth. The Word of God portrays the wickedness and corruption that would exist in the last days. As we see the fulfillment of prophecy, our faith in the final triumph of Christ's kingdom should strengthen; and we should go forth with renewed courage to do our appointed work.—Gospel Workers, 26, 27.
An Impressive Scene
In the visions of the night a very impressive scene passed before me. I saw an immense ball of fire fall among some beautiful mansions, causing their instant destruction. I heard someone say, “We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon.” Others, with agonized voices, said, “You knew! Why then did you not tell us? We did not know!” On every side I heard similar words of reproach spoken.In great distress I awoke. I went to sleep again, and I seemed to be in a large gathering. One of authority was addressing the company, before whom was spread out a map of the world. He said that the map pictured God's vineyard, which must be cultivated. As light from heaven shone upon any one, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled.The words were repeated: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16.I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.—Testimonies for the Church 9:28, 29.