Then this map was removed and another put in its place. On it light was shining from a few places only. The rest of the world was in darkness, with only a glimmer of light here and there. Our Instructor said: “This darkness is the result of men’s following their own course. They have cherished hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. They have made questioning and faultfinding and accusing the chief business of their lives. Their hearts are not right with God. They have hidden their light under a bushel.”
If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind. While men have slept, Satan has stolen a march upon us.
Putting our trust in God, we are to move steadily forward, doing His work with unselfishness, in humble dependence upon Him, committing ourselves and our present and future to His wise providence, holding the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end, remembering that it is not because of our worthiness that we receive the blessings of heaven, but because of the worthiness of Christ, and our acceptance, through faith in Him, of God’s abounding grace.
Chapter 3—Home Missionary Work
God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has entrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods. There are many ways in which church members may give the message to those around them. One of the most successful is by living helpful, unselfish, Christian lives. Those who are fighting the battle of life at great odds may be refreshed and strengthened by little attentions which cost nothing. Kindly words simply spoken, little attentions simply bestowed, will sweep away the clouds of temptation and doubt that gather over the soul. The true heart expression of Christlike sympathy, given in simplicity, has power to open the door of hearts that need the simple, delicate touch of the spirit of Christ.
Christ accepts, oh, so gladly! every human agency that is surrendered to Him. He brings the human into union with the divine, that He may communicate to the world the mysteries of incarnate love. Talk it, pray it, sing it, fill the world with the message of His truth, and keep pressing on into the regions beyond.
Heavenly intelligences are waiting to co-operate with human instrumentalities, that they may reveal to the world what human beings may become and what, through their influence, they may accomplish for the saving of souls that are ready to perish. He who is truly converted will be so filled with the love of God that he will long to impart to others the joy that he himself possesses. The Lord desires His church to show forth to the world the beauty of holiness. She is to demonstrate the power of Christian religion. Heaven is to be reflected in the character of the Christian. The song of gratitude and praise is to be heard by those in darkness. For the good tidings of the gospel, for its promises and assurances, we are to express our gratitude by seeking to do others good. The doing of this work will bring rays of heavenly righteousness to wearied, perplexed, suffering souls. It is as a fountain opened for the wayworn, thirsty traveler. At every work of mercy, every work of love, angels of God are present.
Christ’s work is to be our example. Constantly He went about doing good. In the temple and the synagogues, in the streets of the cities, in the marketplace and the workshop, by the seaside and among the hills, He preached the gospel and healed the sick. His life was one of unselfish service, and it is to be our lessonbook. His tender, pitying love rebukes our selfishness and heartlessness.
Wherever Christ went, He scattered blessings in His path. How many who claim to believe on Him have learned His lessons of kindness, of tender pity, of unselfish love? Hear His voice speaking to the weak, the weary, the helpless: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. There was no wearying of His patience, no repressing of His love.
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.
Let those who take up this work make the life of Christ their constant study. Let them be intensely in earnest, using every capability in the Lord’s service. Precious results will follow sincere, unselfish effort. From the Great Teacher the workers will receive the highest of all education. But those who do not impart the light they have received will one day realize that they have sustained a fearful loss.
Human beings have no right to think that there is a limit to the efforts that they are to make in the work of soulsaving. Did Christ ever become weary in His work? Did He ever draw back from sacrifice and hardship? Church members are to put forth the continuous, persevering efforts that He put forth. They are to be ever ready to spring into action in obedience to the Master’s commands. Wherever we see work waiting to be done we are to take it up and do it, constantly looking unto Jesus. If our church members would heed this instruction, hundreds of souls would be won to Jesus. If every church member were a living missionary, the gospel would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to all peoples, nations, and tongues.
The Result of Wholehearted Effort
Let sanctified ability be brought into the work of proclaiming the truth for this time. If the forces of the enemy gain the victory now, it will be because the churches neglect their God-given work. For years the work has been kept before us, but many have been asleep. If Seventh-day Adventists will now arouse and do the work assigned them, the truth will be presented to our neglected cities in clear, distinct lines and in the power of the Spirit.
When wholehearted work is done, the efficacy of the grace of Christ will be seen. The watchmen on the walls of Zion are to be wide awake, and they are to arouse others. God’s people are to be so earnest and faithful in their work for Him that all selfishness will be separated from their lives. His workers will then see eye to eye, and the arm of the Lord, the power of which was seen in the life of Christ, will be revealed. Confidence will be restored, and there will be unity in the churches throughout our ranks.
Different Lines of Service
The Lord is calling upon His people to take up different lines of work. Those in the highways and byways of life are to hear the gospel message. Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of their neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth for this time.
God calls for Christian families to go into communities that are in darkness and error, and work wisely and perseveringly for the Master. To answer this call requires self-sacrifice. While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, souls are dying without hope and without God in the world. Many, very many, for the sake of worldly advantage, for the sake of acquiring scientific knowledge, will venture into pestilential regions and endure hardship and privation. Where are those who are willing to do this for the sake of telling others of the Saviour? Where are the men and women who will move into regions that are in need of the gospel, that they may point those in darkness to the Redeemer?
Circulating Our Publications
Many of God’s people are to go forth with our publications into places where the third angel’s message has never been proclaimed. Our books are to be published in many different languages. With these books, humble, faithful men are to go out as colporteur-evangelists, bearing the truth to those who would otherwise never be enlightened. Those who take up this line of work are to go prepared to do medical missionary work. The sick and suffering are to be helped. Many for whom this work of mercy is done will hear and accept the words of life.
The work of the canvasser-evangelist, whose heart is imbued with the Holy Spirit, is fraught with wonderful possibilities for good. The presentation of the truth, in love and simplicity, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave His disciples when He sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise, by humble, heartfelt prayers, many will be reached. The divine Worker will be present to send conviction to hearts. “I am with you alway,” is His promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a helper we may labor with faith and hope and courage.
From city to city, from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promise of the Saviour’s soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language, for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success.
Those who have long known the truth need to seek the Lord most earnestly, that their hearts may be filled with a determination to work for their neighbors. My brethren and sisters, visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness seek to reach their hearts. Be sure to work in a way that will remove prejudice instead of creating it. And remember that those who know the truth for this time and yet confine their efforts to their own churches, refusing to work for their unconverted neighbors, will be called to account for unfulfilled duties.
Lend your neighbors some of our smaller books. If their interest is awakened, take some of the larger books. Show them Christ’s Object Lessons. Tell them its history, and ask them if they do not want a copy. If they already have it, ask them if they do not want to read other books of a similar nature. If possible, secure an opportunity to teach them the truth. Beside all waters you are to sow the seeds of truth, though not knowing which shall prosper, this or that.
In many states there are settlements of industrious, well-to-do farmers, who have never had the truth for this time. Such places should be worked. Let our lay members take up this line of service. By lending or selling books, by distributing papers, and by holding Bible readings, our lay members could do much in their own neighborhoods. Filled with love for souls they could proclaim the message with such power that many would be converted.
Two Bible workers were seated in a family. With the open Bible before them, they presented the Lord Jesus Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour. Earnest prayer was offered to God, and hearts were softened and subdued by the influence of the Spirit of God. Their prayers were uttered with freshness and power. As the word of God was explained, I saw that a soft, radiant light illumined the Scriptures, and I said, softly: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.
The precious light was communicated from neighbor to neighbor. Family altars which had been broken down were again erected, and many were converted.
My brethren and sisters, give yourselves to the Lord for service. Allow no opportunity to pass unimproved. Visit the sick and suffering, and show a kindly interest in them. If possible, do something to make them more comfortable. Through this means you can reach their hearts and speak a word for Christ.
Eternity alone will reveal how far-reaching such a line of labor can be. Other lines of usefulness will open before those who are willing to do the duty nearest them. It is not learned, eloquent speakers that are needed now, but humble, Christlike men and women, who have learned from Jesus of Nazareth to be meek and lowly, and who, trusting in His strength, will go forth into the highways and hedges to give the invitation: “Come; for all things are now ready.” Verse 17.
Those who are wise in agricultural lines, in tilling the soil, those who can construct simple, plain buildings, may help. They can do good work and at the same time show in their characters the high standard to which it is the privilege of this people to attain. Let farmers, financiers, builders, and those who are skilled in various other crafts, go to neglected fields, to improve the land, to establish industries, to prepare humble homes for themselves, and to give their neighbors a knowledge of the truth for this time.
Work for Women
There is a wide field of service for women as well as for men. The efficient cook, the seamstress, the nurse—the help of all is needed. Let the members of poor households be taught how to cook, how to make and mend their own clothing, how to nurse the sick, how to care properly for the home. Even the children should be taught to do some little errand of love and mercy for those less fortunate than themselves.
The Home A Mission Field
Let not parents forget the great mission field that lies before them in the home. In the children committed to her every mother has a sacred charge from God. “Take this son, this daughter,” God says, “and train it for Me. Give it a character polished after the similitude of a palace, that it may shine in the courts of the Lord forever.” The light and glory that shine from the throne of God rest upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil.
A Place for Everyone
There is earnest work for every pair of hands to do. Let every stroke tell for the uplifting of humanity. There are so many that need to be helped. The heart of him who lives, not to please himself, but to be a blessing to those who have so few blessings, will thrill with satisfaction. Let every idler awake and face the realities of life. Take the word of God and search its pages. If you are doers of the word, life will indeed be to you a living reality, and you will find that the reward is abundant.
The Lord has a place for everyone in His great plan. Talents that are not needed are not bestowed. Supposing that the talent is small. God has a place for it, and that one talent, if faithfully used, will do the very work God designs that it should do. The talents of the humble cottager are needed in the house-to-house labor and can accomplish more in this work than brilliant gifts.
A thousand doors of usefulness are open before us. We lament the scanty resources at present available, while various and urgent demands are pressing us for means and men. Were we thoroughly in earnest, even now we could multiply the resources a hundredfold. Selfishness and self-indulgence bar the way.
Church members, let the light shine forth. Let your voices be heard in humble prayer, in witness against intemperance, the folly, and the amusements of this world, and in the proclamation of the truth for this time. Your voice, your influence, your time—all these are gifts from God and are to be used in winning souls to Christ.
Visit your neighbors and show an interest in the salvation of their souls. Arouse every spiritual energy to action. Tell those whom you visit that the end of all things is at hand. The Lord Jesus Christ will open the door of their hearts and will make upon their minds lasting impressions.
Strive to arouse men and women from their spiritual insensibility. Tell them how you found Jesus and how blessed you have been since you gained an experience in His service. Tell them what blessing comes to you as you sit at the feet of Jesus and learn precious lessons from His word. Tell them of the gladness and joy that there is in the Christian life. Your warm, fervent words will convince them that you have found the pearl of great price. Let your cheerful, encouraging words show that you have certainly found the higher way. This is genuine missionary work, and as it is done, many will awake as from a dream.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 29-38