Chapter 12—Methods of Labor
In connection with the proclamation of the message in large cities, there are many kinds of work to be done by laborers with varied gifts. Some are to labor in one way, some in another. The Lord desires that the cities shall be worked by the united efforts of laborers of different capabilities. All are to look to Jesus for direction, not depending on man for wisdom, lest they be led astray. As laborers together with God they should seek to be in harmony with one another. There should be frequent councils and earnest, wholehearted co-operation. Yet all are to look to Jesus for wisdom, not depending upon men alone for direction.
The Lord has given to some ministers the ability to gather and to hold large congregations. This calls for the exercise of tact and skill. In the cities of today, where there is so much to attract and please, the people can be interested by no ordinary efforts. Ministers of God’s appointment will find it necessary to put forth extraordinary efforts in order to arrest the attention of the multitudes. And when they succeed in bringing together a large number of people they must bear messages of a character so out of the usual order that the people will be aroused and warned. They must make use of every means that can possibly be devised for causing the truth to stand out clearly and distinctly. The testing message for this time is to be borne so plainly and decidedly as to startle the hearers and lead them to desire to study the Scriptures.
Those who do the work of the Lord in the cities must put forth calm, steady, devoted effort for the education of the people. While they are to labor earnestly to interest the hearers and to hold this interest, yet at the same time they must carefully guard against anything that borders on sensationalism. In this age of extravagance and outward show, when men think it is necessary to make a display in order to gain success, God’s chosen messengers are to show the fallacy of spending means needlessly for effect. As they labor with simplicity, humility, and graceful dignity, avoiding everything of a theatrical nature, their work will make a lasting impression for good.
There is a necessity, it is true, for expending money judiciously in advertising the meetings and in carrying forward the work solidly. Yet the strength of every worker will be found to lie, not in these outward agencies, but in trustful dependence upon God, in earnest prayer to Him for help, in obedience to His word. Much more prayer, much more Christlikeness, much more conformity to God’s will, is to be brought into the Lord’s work. Outward show and extravagant outlay of means will not accomplish the work to be done.
God’s work is to be carried forward with power. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need to understand that God will add to the ranks of His people men of ability and influence who are to act their part in warning the world. All in the world are not lawless and sinful. God has many thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. There are God-fearing men and women in the fallen churches. If this were not so, we would not be given the message to bear: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen…. Come out of her, My people.” Revelation 18:2-4. Many of the honest in heart are gasping for a breath of life from heaven. They will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in the beauty and simplicity with which it is presented in God’s word.
The Need of House-to-House Work
Of equal importance with special public efforts is house-to-house work in the homes of the people. In large cities there are certain classes that cannot be reached by public meetings. These must be searched out as the shepherd searches for his lost sheep. Diligent, personal effort must be put forth in their behalf. When personal work is neglected, many precious opportunities are lost, which, were they improved, would advance the work decidedly.
As the result of the presentation of the truth in large congregations, a spirit of inquiry is awakened, and it is especially important that this interest be followed up by personal labor. Those who desire to investigate the truth need to be taught to study diligently the word of God. Someone must help them to build on the sure foundation. At this critical time in their religious experience, how important it is that wisely directed Bible workers come to their help and open to their understanding the treasure house of God’s word.
The City Mission a Training School
A well-balanced work can be carried on best when a training school for Bible workers is in progress. While the public meetings are being held, connected with this training school or city mission should be experienced laborers of deep spiritual understanding who can give the Bible workers daily instruction and who can also unite wholeheartedly in the general public effort being put forth. And as men and women are converted to the truth, those standing at the head of the city mission should with much prayer show these new converts how to experience the power of the truth in their lives. This united effort on the part of all the workers would be as a nail driven in a sure place
Teaching the Principles of Health Reform
As a people we have been given the work of making known the principles of health reform. There are some who think that the question of diet is not of sufficient importance to be included in their evangelistic work. But such make a great mistake. God’s word declares: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the work of salvation.
In connection with our city missions there should be suitable rooms where those in whom an interest has been awakened can be gathered for instruction. This necessary work is not to be carried on in such a meager way that an unfavorable impression will be made on the minds of the people. All that is done should bear favorable witness to the Author of truth and should properly represent the sacredness and importance of the truths of the third angel’s message.
Cooking schools are to be held. The people are to be taught how to prepare wholesome food. They are to be shown the need of discarding unhealthful foods. But we should never advocate a starvation diet. It is possible to have a wholesome, nutritious diet without the use of tea, coffee, and flesh food. The work of teaching the people how to prepare a dietary that is at once wholesome and appetizing is of the utmost importance.
The work of health reform is the Lord’s means for lessening suffering in our world and for purifying His church. Teach the people that they can act as God’s helping hand by co-operating with the Master Worker in restoring physical and spiritual health. This work bears the signature of heaven and will open doors for the entrance of other precious truths. There is room for all to labor who will take hold of this work intelligently.
Keep the work of health reform to the front is the message I am instructed to bear. Show so plainly its value that a widespread need for it will be felt. Abstinence from all hurtful food and drink is the fruit of true religion. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every injurious habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.
I am instructed to say to health reform educators: Go forward. The world needs every jot of the influence you can exert to press back the tide of moral woe. Let those who teach the third angel’s message stand true to their colors. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. May the Lord arm those who labor in word and doctrine, with the clearest messages of truth. If His workers will give these messages with simplicity, assurance, and all authority, the Lord will work with them.
The Wealthy Classes Not to be Passed By
The servants of Christ should labor faithfully for the rich men in our cities, as well as for the poor and lowly. There are many wealthy men who are susceptible to the influences and impressions of the gospel message, and who, when the Bible, and the Bible alone, is presented to them as the expositor of Christian faith and practice, will be moved by the Spirit of God to open doors for the advancement of the gospel. They will reveal a living faith in the word of God and will use their entrusted means to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
For years the perplexing question has been before us: How can we raise funds adequate for the support of the missions which the Lord has gone before us to open? We read the plain commands of the gospel; and the missions, in both home and foreign fields, present their necessities. The indications, yea, the positive revelations of Providence, unite in urging us to do quickly the work that is waiting to be done. The Lord desires that moneyed men shall be converted and act as His helping hand in reaching others. He desires that those who can help in the work of reform and restoration shall see the precious light of truth and be transformed in character and led to use their entrusted capital in His service. He would have them invest the means He has lent them, in doing good, in opening the way for the gospel to be preached to all classes nigh and afar off.
Will not heaven be appreciated by the worldly wise men? Oh, yes; there they will find rest and peace and repose from all trifling, all ambition, all self-serving. Urge them to seek for the peace and happiness and joy that Christ is longing to bestow upon them. Urge them to give their attention to securing the richest gift that can be given to mortal man—the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Christ offers them a life that measures with the life of God, and a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. If they accept Christ they will have the highest honor, honor which the world can neither give nor take away. They will find that in the keeping of the commandments of God there is great reward.
The compassionate Redeemer bids His servants give to rich and poor the call to the supper. Go out into the highways and the hedges, and by your persevering, determined efforts, compel them to come in. Let ministers of the gospel take hold of these worldly moneyed men and bring them to the banquet of truth that Christ has prepared for them. He who gave His precious life for them says: “Bring them in, and seat them at My table, and I will serve them.”
Ministers of Christ, link yourselves up with this class. Pass them not by as hopeless. Work with all the persuasion possible, and as the fruit of your faithful efforts you will see in the kingdom of heaven men and women who will be crowned as overcomers to sing the triumphant song of the conqueror. “They shall walk with Me in white,” says the First and the Last; “for they are worthy.” Revelation 3:4.
Altogether too little effort has been put forth for men in responsible places in the world. Many of them possess superior qualifications; they have means and influence. These are precious gifts, entrusted to them by the Lord to be increased and used for the good of others.
Seek to save men of wealth. Entreat them to return to the Lord the treasures He has lent them in trust, that in New York and other great cities there may be established centers of influence from which Bible truth in its simplicity shall go forth to the people. Persuade men to lay up their treasures beside the throne of God by returning to the Lord their substance, enabling His workers to do good and to advance His glory.
Plans for Enlarging Our Laboring Forces
The strength of an army is measured largely by the efficiency of the men in the ranks. A wise general instructs his officers to train every soldier for active service. He seeks to develop the highest efficiency on the part of all. If he were to depend on his officers alone he could never expect to conduct a successful campaign. He counts on loyal and untiring service from every man in his army. The responsibility rests largely upon the men in the ranks.
And so it is in the army of Prince Immanuel. Our General, who has never lost a battle, expects willing, faithful service from everyone who has enlisted under His banner. In the closing controversy now waging between the forces for good and the hosts of evil He expects all, laymen as well as ministers, to take part. All who have enlisted as His soldiers are to render faithful service as minutemen, with a keen sense of the responsibility resting upon them individually.
Those who have the spiritual oversight of the church should devise ways and means by which an opportunity may be given to every member of the church to act some part in God’s work. Too often in the past this has not been done. Plans have not been clearly laid and fully carried out whereby the talents of all might be employed in active service. There are but few who realize how much has been lost because of this.
The leaders in God’s cause, as wise generals, are to lay plans for advance moves all along the line. In their planning they are to give special study to the work that can be done by the laity for their friends and neighbors. The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.
The salvation of sinners requires earnest, personal labor. We are to bear to them the word of life, not to wait for them to come to us. Oh, that I could speak words to men and women that would arouse them to diligent action! The moments now granted to us are few. We are standing upon the very borders of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. Every moment is golden and altogether too precious to be devoted merely to self-serving. Who will seek God earnestly and from Him draw strength and grace to be His faithful workers in the missionary field?
Development of Talent in the Churches
In every church there is talent, which, with the right kind of labor, might be developed to become a great help in this work. That which is needed now for the upbuilding of our churches is the nice work of wise laborers to discern and develop talent in the church—talent that can be educated for the Master’s use. There should be a well-organized plan for the employment of workers to go into all our churches, large and small, to instruct the members how to labor for the upbuilding of the church and also for unbelievers. It is training, education, that is needed. Those who labor in visiting the churches should give the brethren and sisters instruction in practical methods of doing missionary work.
All the preaching in the world will not make men feel deeply the need of perishing souls around them. Nothing will so arouse in men and women a self-sacrificing zeal as to send them forth into new fields to work for those in darkness. Prepare workers to go out into the highways and hedges. We need wise nurserymen who will transplant trees to different localities and give them advantages, that they may grow. It is the positive duty of God’s people to go into the regions beyond. Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new centers of influence wherever an opening can be found. Rally workers who possess true missionary zeal, and let them go forth to diffuse light and knowledge far and near. Let them take the living principles of health reform into the communities that to a large degree are ignorant of these principles.
Men in humble walks of life are to be encouraged to take up the work of God. As they labor they will gain a precious experience. There is a dearth of laborers, and we have not one to spare. Instead of discouraging those who are trying to serve the Master, we should encourage many more laborers to enter the field.
All who commune with God will find abundance of work to do for Him. Those who go forth in the spirit of the Master, seeking to reach souls with the truth, will not find the work of drawing souls to Christ a dull, uninteresting drudgery. They are charged with a work as God’s husbandmen, and they will become more and more vitalized as they give themselves to the service of God. It is a joyous work to open the Scriptures to others.
Young men and women should be educated to become workers in their own neighborhoods and in other places. Let all set their hearts and minds to become intelligent in regard to the work for this time, qualifying themselves to do that for which they are best adapted.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 109-118