Christ promised them that He would send them His Spirit, who would recall His words to their minds as forgotten truths. He shall teach you all things,” Christ said, “and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:26.
The way the Jewish teachers explained the Scriptures, their endless repetitions of maxims and fiction, called forth from Christ the words: “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me.” They performed in the temple courts their round of service. They offered sacrifices typifying the great Sacrifice, saying by their ceremonies, “Come, my Saviour;” yet Christ, the One whom all these ceremonies represented, was among them, and they would not recognize nor receive Him. The Saviour declared: “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8, 9.
Christ is saying to His servants today, as He said to His disciples: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” But men are as slow now to learn the lesson as in Christ’s day. God has given His people warning after warning; but the customs, habits, and practices of the world have had so great power on the minds of His professed people that His warnings have been disregarded.
Those who act a part in God’s great cause are not to follow the example of worldlings. The voice of God is to be heeded. He who depends on men for strength and influence leans on a broken reed.
Depending on men has been the great weakness of the church. Men have dishonored God by failing to appreciate His sufficiency, by coveting the influence of men. Thus Israel became weak. The people wanted to be like the other nations of the world, and they asked for a king. They desired to be guided by human power which they
could see, rather than by the divine, invisible power that till that time had led and guided them, and had given them victory in battle. They made their own choice, and the result was seen in the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation.
We cannot put confidence in any man, however learned, however elevated he may be, unless he holds the beginning of his confidence in God firm unto the end. What must have been the power of the enemy upon Solomon, a man whom Inspiration has thrice called the beloved of God, and to whom was committed the great work of building the temple! In that very work Solomon made an alliance with idolatrous nations, and through his marriages he bound himself up with heathen women through whose influence he in his later years forsook the temple of God to worship in the groves he had prepared for their idols.
So now, men set God aside as not sufficient for them. They resort to worldly men for recognition and think that by means of the influence gained from the world they can do some great thing. But they mistake. By leaning on the arm of the world instead of the arm of God, they turn aside the work which God desires to accomplish through His chosen people.
When brought in contact with the higher classes of society, let not the physician feel that he must conceal the peculiar characteristics which sanctification through the truth gives him. The physicians who unite with the work of God are to co-operate with God as His appointed instrumentalities; they are to give all their powers and efficiency to magnifying the work of God’s commandment-keeping people. Those who in their human wisdom try to conceal the peculiar characteristics that distinguish God’s people from the world will lose their spiritual life and will no longer be upheld by His power.
Our medical workers should never entertain the idea that it is essential to make an appearance of being wealthy. There will be a strong temptation to do this with the thought that it will give influence. But I am instructed to say that it will have the opposite effect.
All who seek to uplift themselves by conforming to the world set an example that is misleading. God recognizes as His those only who practice the self-denial and sacrifice which He has enjoined. Physicians are to understand that their power lies in their meekness and lowliness of heart. God will honor those who make Him their dependence.
The style of a physician’s dress, his equipage, his furniture, count not one jot with God. He cannot work by His Holy Spirit with those who try to compete with the world in dress and display. He who follows Christ must deny himself and take up the cross.
The physician who loves and fears God will need to make no outward display in order to distinguish himself; for the Sun of Righteousness is shining in his heart and is revealed in his life, and this gives him distinction. Those who work in Christ’s lines will be living epistles, known and read of all men. Through their example and influence men of wealth and talent will be turned from the cheapness of material things to lay hold on eternal realities. The greatest respect will ever be shown to the physician who reveals that he receives his directions from God. Nothing will work so powerfully for the advancement of God’s instrumentality as for those connected with it to stand steadfast as His faithful servants.
The physician will find that it is for his present and eternal good to follow the Lord’s ways of working. The mind that God has made He can mold without the power of man, but He honors men by asking them to co-operate with Him in His great work.
Many regard their own wisdom as sufficient, and they arrange things according to their judgment, thinking to bring about wonderful results. But if they would depend on God, and not on themselves, they would receive heavenly wisdom. Those who are so engrossed with their work that they cannot find time to press their way to the throne of grace and obtain counsel from God will turn the work into wrong channels. Our strength lies in our union with God through His only-begotten Son and in our union with one another.
The surgeon most truly successful is he who loves God, who sees God in His created work and worships Him as he traces His wise arrangement in the human organism. The most successful physician is he who fears God from his youth, as did Timothy, who feels that Christ is his constant companion, a friend with whom he can always commune. Such a physician would not exchange his position for the highest office the world could give. He is more anxious to honor God and secure His approval than to secure patronage and honor from the great men of the world.
Every sanitarium established among Seventh-day Adventists should be made a Bethel. All who are connected with this branch of the work should be consecrated to God. Those who minister to the sick, who perform delicate, grave operations, should remember that one slip of the knife, one nervous tremor, may cause a soul to be launched into eternity. They should not be allowed to take so many responsibilities that they have no time for special seasons of prayer. By earnest prayer they should acknowledge their dependence upon God. Only through a sense of God’s pure truth working in the mind and
heart, only through the calmness and strength that He alone can impart, are they qualified to perform those critical operations which mean life or death to the afflicted ones.
The physician who is truly converted will not gather to himself responsibilities that interfere with his work for souls. Since without Christ we can do nothing, how can a physician or a medical missionary engage successfully in his important work without earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer? Prayer and a study of the word bring life and health to the soul.
The Lord is waiting to manifest through His people His grace and power. But He requires that those who engage in His service shall keep their minds ever directed to Him. Every day they should have time for reading the word of God and for prayer. Every officer and every soldier under the command of the God of Israel needs time in which to consult with God and seek His blessing. If the worker allows himself to be drawn away from this, he will loose his spiritual power. Individually we are to walk and talk with God; then the sacred influence of the gospel of Christ in all its preciousness will appear in our lives.
A work of reformation is to be carried on in our institutions. Physicians, workers, nurses, are to realize that they are on probation, on trial for their present life, and for that life which measures with the life of God. We are to put every faculty to the stretch in order to bring saving truths to the attention of suffering human beings. This must be done in connection with the work of healing the sick. Then the cause of truth will stand before the world in the strength which God designs it to have. Through the influence of sanctified workers the truth will be magnified. It will go forth “as a lamp that burneth.”
The World’s Need
When Christ saw the multitudes that gathered about Him, “He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” Christ saw the sickness, the sorrow, the want and degradation of the multitudes that thronged His steps. To Him were presented the needs and woes of humanity throughout the world. Among the high and the low, the most honored and the most degraded, He beheld souls who were longing for the very blessings He had come to bring, souls who needed only a knowledge of His grace to become subjects of His kingdom. “Then saith He unto His disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38.
Today the same needs exist. The world is in need of workers who will labor as Christ did for the suffering and the sinful. There is indeed a multitude to be reached. The world is full of sickness, suffering, distress, and sin. It is full of those who need to be ministered unto–the weak, the helpless, the ignorant, the degraded.
Many of the youth of this generation, in the midst of churches, religious institutions, and professedly Christian homes, are choosing the path to destruction. Through intemperate habits they bring upon themselves disease, and through greed to obtain money for sinful indulgences they fall into dishonest practices. Health and character are ruined. Aliens from God and outcasts from society, these poor souls feel that they are without hope either for this life or for the life to come. The hearts of parents are broken. Men speak of these erring ones as
hopeless, but God looks upon them with pitying tenderness. He understands all the circumstances that have led them to fall under temptation. This is a class that demands labor.
Nigh and afar off are souls, not only the youth but those of all ages, who are in poverty and distress, sunken in sin, and weighed down with a sense of guilt. It is the work of God’s servants to seek for these souls, to pray with them and for them, and lead them step by step to the Saviour.
But those who do not recognize the claims of God are not the only ones who are in distress and in need of help. In the world today, where selfishness, greed, and oppression rule, many of the Lord’s true children are in need and affliction. In lowly, miserable places, surrounded with poverty, disease, and guilt, many are patiently bearing their own burden of suffering, and trying to comfort the hopeless and sin-stricken about them. Many of them are almost unknown to the churches or to the ministers; but they are the Lord’s lights, shining amid the darkness. For these the Lord has a special care, and He calls upon His people to be His helping hand in relieving their wants. Wherever there is a church, special attention should be given to searching out this class and ministering to them.
And while working for the poor, we should give attention also to the rich, whose souls are equally precious in the sight of God. Christ worked for all who would hear His word. He sought not only the publican and the outcast, but the rich and cultured Pharisee, the Jewish nobleman, and the Roman ruler. The wealthy man needs to be labored for in the love and fear of God. Too often he trusts in his riches and feels not his danger. The worldly possessions which the Lord has entrusted to men are
often a source of great temptation. Thousands are thus led into sinful indulgences that confirm them in habits of intemperance and vice. Among the wretched victims of want and sin are found many who were once in possession of wealth. Men of different vocations and different stations in life have been overcome by the pollutions of the world, by the use of strong drink, by indulgence in the lusts of the flesh, and have fallen under temptation. While these fallen ones excite our pity and demand our help, should not some attention be given also to those who have not yet descended to these depths, but who are setting their feet in the same path? There are thousands occupying positions of honor and usefulness who are indulging habits that mean ruin to soul and body. Should not the most earnest effort be made to enlighten them?
Ministers of the gospel, statesmen, authors, men of wealth and talent, men of vast business capacity and power for usefulness, are in deadly peril because they do not see the necessity of strict temperance in all things. They need to have their attention called to the principles of temperance, not in a narrow or arbitrary way, but in the light of God’s great purpose for humanity. Could the principles of true temperance be thus brought before them, there are very many of the higher classes who would recognize their value and give them a hearty acceptance.
There is another danger to which the wealthy classes are especially exposed, and here also is a field for the work of the medical missionary. Multitudes who are prosperous in the world and who never stoop to the common forms of vice, are yet brought to destruction through the love of riches. Absorbed in their worldly treasures, they are insensible to the claims of God and the needs of their fellow men. Instead of regarding their wealth as a talent to be used for the glory of God and the uplifting
of humanity, they look upon it as a means of indulging and glorifying themselves. They add house to house and land to land, they fill their homes with luxuries, while want stalks the streets, and all about them are human beings in misery and crime, in disease and death. Those who thus give their lives to self-serving are developing in themselves, not the attributes of God, but the attributes of Satan.
These men are in need of the gospel. They need to have their eyes turned from the vanity of material things to behold the preciousness of the enduring riches. They need to learn the joy of giving, the blessedness of being co-workers with God.
Persons of this class are often the most difficult of access, but Christ will open ways whereby they may be reached. Let the wisest, the most trustful, the most hopeful, laborers seek for these souls. With the wisdom and tact born of divine love, with the refinement and courtesy that result alone from the presence of Christ in the soul, let them work for those who, dazzled by the glitter of earthly riches, see not the glory of the heavenly treasure. Let the workers study the Bible with them, pressing sacred truth home to their hearts. Read to them the words of God: “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” “In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” But my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 1:30; Jeremiah 9:23, 24; Ephesians 1:7; Philippians 4:19.
Such an appeal, made in the spirit of Christ, will not be thought impertinent. It will impress the minds of many in the higher classes.
By efforts put forth in wisdom and love, many a rich man may be awakened to a sense of his responsibility and his accountability to God. When it is made plain that the Lord expects them as His representatives to relieve suffering humanity, many will respond and will give of their means and their sympathy for the benefit of the poor. When their minds are thus drawn away from their own selfish interests, many will be led to surrender themselves to Christ. With their talents of influence and means they will gladly unite in the work of beneficence with the humble missionary who was God’s agent in their conversion. By a right use of their earthly treasure they will lay up “a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.” They will secure for themselves the treasure that wisdom offers, even “durable riches and righteousness.”
Through observing our lives, the people of the world form their opinion of God and of the religion of Christ. All who do not know Christ need to have the high, noble principles of His character kept constantly before them in the lives of those who do know Him. To meet this need, to carry the light of Christ’s love into the homes of the great and the lowly, the rich and the poor, is the high duty and precious privilege of the medical missionary.
“Ye are the salt of the earth,” Christ said to His disciples; and in these words He was speaking to His workers
of today. If you are salt, saving properties are in you, and the virtue of your character will have a saving influence.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 249-258