Even while engaged in their daily employment, God’s people can lead others to Christ. And while doing this they will have the precious assurance that the Saviour is close beside them. They need not think that they are left to depend on their own feeble efforts. Christ will give them words to speak that will refresh and encourage and strengthen poor, struggling souls who are in darkness. Their own faith will be strengthened as they realize that the Redeemer’s promise is being fulfilled. Not only are they a blessing to others, but the work they do for Christ brings blessing to themselves.
There are many who can and should do the work of which I have spoken. My brother, my sister, what are you doing for Christ? Are you seeking to be a blessing to others? Are your lips uttering words of kindness, sympathy, and love? Are you putting forth earnest efforts to win others to the Saviour?
The Result of Failing to Work
Comparatively little missionary work is done, and what is the result? The truths that Christ gave are not taught. Many of God’s people are not growing in grace. Many are in an unpleasant, complaining frame of mind. Those who are not helping others to see the importance of the truth for this time must feel dissatisfied with themselves. Satan takes advantage of this feature in their experience and leads them to criticize and find fault. If they were busily engaged in seeking to know and do the will of God they would feel such a burden for perishing souls, such an unrest of mind, that they could not be restrained from fulfilling the commission: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.
An Appeal for Untiring Effort
The Lord calls upon His people to arouse out of sleep. The end of all things is at hand. When those who know the truth will be laborers together with God, the fruits of righteousness will appear. By the revelation of the love of God in missionary effort many will be awakened to see the sinfulness of their own course of action. They will see that in the past their selfishness has disqualified them from being laborers together with God. The exhibition of the love of God as seen in unselfish ministry to others will be the means of leading many souls to believe the word of God just as it reads.
God desires to refresh His people by the gift of the Holy Spirit, baptizing them anew in His love. There is no need for a dearth of the Spirit in the church. After Christ’s ascension the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting, praying, believing disciples with a fullness and power that reached every heart. In the future the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God. A holy influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth. The earth is to be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. The Holy Spirit is to work on human hearts, taking the things of God and showing them to men.
Very much more might be done for Christ if all who have the light of truth would practice the truth. There are whole families who might be missionaries, engaging in personal labor, toiling for the Master with busy hands and active brains, devising new methods for the success of His work. There are earnest, prudent, warmhearted men and women who could do much for Christ if they would give themselves to God, drawing near to Him and seeking Him with the whole heart.
My brethren and sisters, take an active part in the work of soulsaving. This work will give life and vigor to the mental and spiritual powers. Light from Christ will shine into the mind. The Saviour will abide in your hearts, and in His light you will see light.
Consecrate yourselves wholly to the work of God. He is your strength, and He will be at your right hand, helping you to carry on His merciful designs. By personal labor reach those around you. Become acquainted with them. Preaching will not do the work that needs to be done. Angels of God attend you to the dwellings of those you visit. This work cannot be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish it. Sermons will not do it. By visiting the people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts. This is the highest missionary work that you can do. To do it, you will need resolute, persevering faith, unwearying patience, and a deep love for souls.
Find access to the people in whose neighborhood you live. As you tell them of the truth, use words of Christlike sympathy. Remember that the Lord Jesus is the Master Worker. He waters the seed sown. He puts into your minds words that will reach hearts. Expect that God will sustain the consecrated, unselfish worker. Obedience, childlike faith, trust in God—these will bring peace and joy. Work disinterestedly, lovingly, patiently, for all with whom you are brought into contact. Show no impatience. Utter not one unkind word. Let the love of Christ be in your hearts, the law of kindness on your lips.
It is a mystery that there are not hundreds at work where now there is but one. The heavenly universe is astonished at the apathy, the coldness, the listlessness of those who profess to be sons and daughters of God. In the truth there is a living power. Go forth in faith, and proclaim the truth as if you believed it. Let those for whom you labor see that to you it is indeed a living reality.
Development Through Service
Those who give their lives to Christlike ministry know the meaning of true happiness. Their interests and their prayers reach far beyond self. They themselves are growing as they try to help others. They become familiar with the largest plans, the most stirring enterprises, and how can they but grow when they place themselves in the divine channel of light and blessing? Such ones receive wisdom from heaven. They become more and more identified with Christ in all His plans. There is no opportunity for spiritual stagnation. Selfish ambition and self-seeking are rebuked by constant contact with the absorbing interests, the elevated aspirations, which belong to high and holy activities.
Chapter 4—The Need of Earnest Effort
In the power of the Spirit the delegated servants of Christ are to bear witness for their Leader. The yearning desire of the Saviour for the salvation of sinners is to mark all their efforts. The gracious invitation, first given by Christ, is to be taken up by human voices and sounded throughout the world: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. The church is to say: “Come.” Every power in the church is to be actively engaged on the side of Christ. The followers of Christ are to combine in a strong effort to call the attention of the world to the fast-fulfilling prophecies of the word of God. Infidelity and spiritualism are gaining a strong hold in the world. Shall those to whom great light has been given be cold and faithless now?
We are on the very verge of the time of trouble, and perplexities that are scarcely dreamed of are before us. A power from beneath is leading men to war against Heaven. Human beings have confederated with satanic agencies to make void the law of God. The inhabitants of the world are fast becoming as the inhabitants of the world in Noah’s day, who were swept away by the Flood, and as the inhabitants of Sodom, who were consumed by fire from heaven. The powers of Satan are at work to keep minds diverted from eternal realities. The enemy has arranged matters to suit his own purposes. Worldly business, sports, the fashions of the day—these things occupy the minds of men and women. Amusements and unprofitable reading spoil the judgment. In the broad road that leads to eternal ruin there walks a long procession. The world, filled with violence, reveling, and drunkenness, is converting the church. The law of God, the divine standard of righteousness, is declared to be of no effect.
At this time—a time of overwhelming iniquity—a new life, coming from the Source of all life, is to take possession of those who have the love of God in their hearts, and they are to go forth to proclaim with power the message of a crucified and risen Saviour. They are to put forth earnest, untiring efforts to save souls. Their example is to be such that it will have a telling influence for good on those around them. They are to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Intense earnestness should now take possession of us. Our slumbering energies should be aroused to untiring effort. Consecrated workers should go forth into the field clearing the King’s highway, and gaining victories in new places. My brother, my sister, is it nothing to you to know that every day souls are going down into the grave unwarned and unsaved, ignorant of their need of eternal life and of the atonement made for them by the Saviour? Is it nothing to you that soon the world is to meet Jehovah over His broken law? Heavenly angels marvel that those who for so many years have had the light, have not carried the torch of truth into the dark places of the earth.
The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. God might have wiped out this foul blot upon creation by sweeping the sinner from the face of the earth. But He “so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Then why are we not more in earnest? Why are so large a number idle? Why are not all who profess to love God, seeking to enlighten their neighbors and their associates, that they may no longer neglect so great salvation?
A Lack of Sympathy
Among professing Christians of today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. Unless our hearts beat in unison with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words: “Watch for … souls, as they that must give account”? We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard, but do we feel Christ’s tender heart-longing for souls?
The Saviour was an untiring worker. He did not measure His work by hours. His time, His heart, His strength, were given to labor for the benefit of humanity. Entire days were devoted to labor, and entire nights were spent in prayer, that He might be braced to meet the wily foe in all his deceptive working, and fortified to do His work of uplifting and restoring humanity.
The man who loves God does not measure his work by the eight-hour system. He works at all hours and is never off duty. As he has opportunity he does good. Everywhere, at all times and in all places, he finds opportunity to work for God. He carries fragrance with him wherever he goes. A wholesome atmosphere surrounds his soul. The beauty of his well-ordered life and godly conversation inspires in others faith and hope and courage.
It is heart missionaries that are needed. Spasmodic efforts will do little good. We must arrest the attention. We must be deeply in earnest.
By aggressive warfare, in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and human suffering, the work of soulsaving is to be carried forward. At a certain battle, when one of the regiments of the attacking force was being beaten back by the hordes of the enemy, the ensign in front stood his ground as the troops retreated. The captain shouted to him to bring back the colors, but the reply of the ensign was: “Bring the men up to the colors!” This is the work that devolves upon every faithful standard-bearer—to bring the men up to the colors. The Lord calls for wholeheartedness. We all know that the sin of many professing Christians is that they lack the courage and energy to bring themselves and those connected with them up to the standard.
From all countries the Macedonian cry is sounding: “Come over, … and help us.” God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but co-operate with divine agencies, many, many souls would be won to the truth. But the Lord’s professing people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, “Whom shall I send?” there have been few to respond, “Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8.
When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested. Divine power will be revealed. The church will see the providential working of the Lord of hosts. The light of truth will shine forth in clear, strong rays, and, as in the time of the apostles, many souls will turn from error to truth. The earth will be lighted with the glory of the Lord.
Heavenly angels have long been waiting for human agents—the members of the church—to co-operate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you. So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power.
At the same time there will be a power working from beneath. While God’s agents of mercy work through consecrated human beings, Satan sets his agencies in operation, laying under tribute all who will submit to his control. There will be lords many and gods many. The cry will be heard, “Lo, here is Christ,” and, “Lo, there is Christ.” The deep plotting of Satan will reveal itself everywhere for the purpose of diverting the attention of men and women from present duty. There will be signs and wonders. But the eye of faith will discern in all these manifestations harbingers of the grand and awful future, and the triumphs that await the people of God.
Work, oh, work, keeping eternity in view! Bear in mind that every power must be sanctified. A great work is to be done. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us…. That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” Psalm 67:1, 2.
Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men, will walk by faith and will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts will be moved to compassion as they see the widespread destitution in our world—the destitution of the multitudes who are suffering for food and clothing, and the moral destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison with which physical suffering fades into nothingness.
Let church members bear in mind that the fact that their names are registered on the church books will not save them. They must show themselves approved of God, workmen that need not be ashamed. Day by day they are to build their characters in accordance with Christ’s directions. They are to abide in Him, constantly exercising faith in Him. Thus they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ—wholesome, cheerful, grateful Christians, led by God into clearer and still clearer light. If this is not their experience, they will be among those whose voices will one day be raised in the bitter lamentation: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Why did I not flee to the Stronghold for refuge? Why have I trifled with my soul’s salvation, and done despite to the Spirit of grace?”
“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.” Zephaniah 1:14. Let us be shod with the gospel shoes, ready to march at a moment’s notice. Every hour, every minute, is precious. We have no time to spend in self-gratification. All around us there are souls perishing in sin. Every day there is something to do for our Lord and Master. Every day we are to point souls to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.
“Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as we think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44. Go to your rest at night with every sin confessed. Thus we did when in 1844 we expected to meet our Lord. And now this great event is nearer than when we first believed. Be ye always ready, in the evening, in the morning, and at noon, that when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” you may, even though awakened out of sleep, go forth to meet Him with your lamps trimmed and burning.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 39-48