My brethren and sisters, study your plans; grasp every opportunity of speaking to your neighbors and associates or of reading something to them from books that contain present truth. Show that you regard as of first importance the salvation of the souls for whom Christ has made so great a sacrifice.
In working for perishing souls, you have the companionship of angels. Thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand angels are waiting to cooperate with members of our churches in communicating the light that God has generously given, that a people may be prepared for the coming of Christ. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Let every family seek the Lord in earnest prayer for help to do the work of God.
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.
In the home circle, at your neighbor’s fireside, at the bedside of the sick, in a quiet way you may read the Scriptures and speak a word for Jesus and the truth. Precious seed may thus be sown that will spring up and bring forth fruit after many days.
There is missionary work to be done in many unpromising places. The missionary spirit needs to take hold of our souls, inspiring us to reach classes for whom we had not planned to labor and in ways and places that we had no idea of working. The Lord has His plan for the sowing of the gospel seed. In sowing according to His will, we shall so multiply the seed that His word may reach thousands who have never heard the truth.
Opportunities are opening on every side. Press into every providential opening. Eyes need to be anointed with the heavenly eyesalve to see and sense their opportunities. God calls now for wide-awake missionaries. There are ways that will be presented before us. We are to see and understand these providential openings.
God’s messengers are commissioned to take up the very work that Christ did while on this earth. They are to give themselves to every line of ministry that He carried on. With earnestness and sincerity they are to tell men of the unsearchable riches and the immortal treasure of heaven. They are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. They are to repeat Heaven’s offers of peace and pardon. They are to point to the gates of the city of God, saying: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14.
Cherishing a Spirit of Self-Denial
Every church member should cherish a spirit of sacrifice. In every home there should be taught lessons of self-denial. Fathers and mothers, teach your children to economize. Encourage them to save their pennies for missionary work. Christ is our example. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He taught that all should come together in love and unity, to work as He worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, to love as the children of God.
My brethren and sisters, you must be willing to be converted yourselves in order to practice the self-denial of Christ. Dress plainly but neatly. Spend as little as possible upon yourselves. Keep in your homes a self-denial box into which you can put the money saved by little acts of self-denial. Day by day gain a clearer understanding of the word of God, and improve every opportunity to impart the knowledge you have gained. Do not become weary in well-doing, for God is constantly imparting to you the great blessing of His Gift to the world. Co-operate with the Lord Jesus, and He will teach you the priceless lessons of His love. Time is short; in due season when time shall be no longer, you will receive your reward.
To those who love God sincerely and have means, I am bidden to say: Now is the time for you to invest your means in sustaining the work of the Lord. Now is the time to uphold the hands of the ministers in their self-denying efforts to save perishing souls. When you meet in the heavenly courts the souls you have helped to save, will you not have a glorious reward?
Let none withhold their mites, and let those who have much rejoice that they can lay up in heaven a treasure that faileth not. The money that we refuse to invest in the work of the Lord, will perish. On it no interest will accumulate in the bank of heaven.
In the following words the apostle Paul describes those who withhold from God His own: “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:9, 10.
It means much to sow beside all waters. It means a continual imparting of gifts and offerings. God will furnish facilities so that the faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. “As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 9:9, 10. The seed sown with full, liberal hand is taken charge of by the Lord. He who ministers seed to the sower gives His worker that which enables him to co-operate with the Giver of the seed.
The Lord now calls upon Seventh-day Adventists in every locality to consecrate themselves to Him and to do their very best, according to their circumstances, to assist in His work. By their liberality in making gifts and offerings, He desires them to reveal their appreciation of His blessings and their gratitude for His mercy.
My dear brethren and sisters, all the money we have is the Lord’s. I now appeal to you in the name of the Lord to unite in carrying to successful completion the enterprises that have been undertaken in the counsels of God. Let not the work of establishing memorials for God in many places be made difficult and burdensome because the necessary means is withheld. Let not those who are struggling to build up important enterprises, great and small, become disheartened because we are slow to unite in placing these enterprises in a position to do efficient service. Let all our people arise and see what they can do. Let them show that there is unity and strength among Seventh-day Adventists.
Conditions of Acceptable Service
As a people we must come into a sacred nearness to God. We need the light of heaven to shine into our hearts and into the chambers of our mind; we need the wisdom that God alone can give, if we carry the message to these cities with success. Let our churches everywhere come into line. Let none who have pledged themselves by baptism to live for the service and glory of God take back their pledge. There is a world to be saved; let this thought urge us on to greater sacrifices and more earnest labor for those who are out of the way.
When you follow out the principles of the word of God, your influence will be of value to any church, any organization. You are to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. All frivolous words, all lightness and trifling, are enticements of the enemy to deprive you of spiritual strength. Brace yourselves against this evil, in the name of the God of Israel. If you will humble yourselves before God, He will give you a message for those in the highways and the hedges, and for those in foreign countries who need your help. Trim your lamps, and keep them burning, that wherever you may go you may reveal in speech and action precious rays of light.
If we will give ourselves for service to the Lord, He will instruct us what to do. If we will come into close relation with God, He will work with us. Let us not become so absorbed in self and self-interests that we shall forget those who are climbing the ladder of Christian experience and who need our help. We must stand ready to use our God-given capabilities in the work of the Lord, ready to speak words in season and out of season—words that will help and bless.
My brethren and sisters, do we take into consideration the needs of the large cities of the East? Do we not know that they must be warned of Christ’s near approach? The work we have to do is a wonderfully great work. There is a world to be saved; there are souls to be labored for in the cities of the East, in the states where the message of the coming of our Lord was first preached. Who will give themselves to do this line of missionary work? There are hundreds of our people who ought to be out in the field who are doing little or nothing for the advancement of the message. Those who have had every advantage of knowing the truth, who have received instruction line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, have a great responsibility resting upon them in these souls who have never heard the last gospel message.
If in this opportune time the members of the churches will come humbly before God, putting out of their hearts all that is wrong and consulting Him at every step, He will manifest Himself to them and will give them courage in Him. And as the church members do their part faithfully, the Lord will lead and guide His chosen ministers, and strengthen them for their important work. In much prayer let us all unite in holding up their hands and in drawing bright beams from the heavenly sanctuary.
The end is near, stealing upon us stealthily, imperceptibly, like the noiseless approach of a thief in the night. May the Lord grant that we shall no longer sleep as do others, but that we shall watch and be sober. The truth is soon to triumph gloriously, and all who now choose to be laborers together with God will triumph with it. The time is short; the night soon cometh when no man can work. Let those who are rejoicing in the light of present truth now make haste to impart the truth to others. The Lord is inquiring: “Whom shall I send?” Those who wish to sacrifice for the truth’s sake are now to respond: “Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8.
Let those who bear responsibilities remember that it is the Holy Spirit who is to do the fashioning. It is the Lord who controls. We are not to try to mold, according to our own ideas, those for whom we work, but to let Christ do the molding. He follows no human pattern. He works according to His own mind and Spirit. It is man’s work to reveal to the world that which Christ has placed in his heart; through His grace man becomes a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The higher powers of the one who receives Christ are strengthened and ennobled, and he receives a fitness for God’s service.
Many of the world’s learned men have received so high an education that they cannot touch the common people. Their knowledge is intricate. It soars high, but rests nowhere. The most intelligent businessmen desire simple truth such as Christ gave to the people when He was on this earth—the truth that He declares to be spirit and life. His words are as the leaves of the tree of life. What the world needs today is the light of Christ’s example reflected from the lives of Christlike men and women. The intellect most powerful in behalf of truth is the intellect that Christ controls, ennobling and purifying it by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.
Christ has given His commission: “Go ye into all the world.” Mark 16:15. All must hear the message of warning. A prize of richest value is held up before those who are running the Christian race. Those who run with patience will receive a crown of life that fadeth not away.
Cultivate restfulness, and commit the keeping of your souls unto God as unto a faithful Creator. He will keep that which is committed to His trust. He is not pleased to have us cover His altar with our tears and complaints. You have enough to praise God for already, if you do not see another soul converted. But the good work will go on if you will only go forward and not be trying to adjust everything to your own ideas. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, and be ye thankful. Let the Lord have room to work. Do not block His way. He can and will work if we will let Him.
While extensive plans should be laid, great care must be taken that the work in each branch of the cause be harmoniously united with that in every other branch, thus making a perfect whole.
Chapter 14—Words of Counsel to Ministers
November 3, 1901
To a Worker of Long Experience in New York City—
As I have considered the situation in New York, a great burden has come upon my soul. In the night season matters have been presented to me in this light: New York will be worked; openings will be found in parts of the city in which there are no churches, where the truth will find standing room. There is a vast amount of work to be done in proclaiming the truth for this time to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Most startling messages will be borne by men of God’s appointment, messages of a character to warn the people, to arouse them. And while some will be provoked by the warning and led to resist light and evidence, we are to see from this that we are giving the testing message for this time.
Messages will be given out of the usual order. The judgments of God are in the land. While city missions must be established where colporteurs, Bible workers, and practical medical missionaries may be trained to reach certain classes, we must also have, in our cities, consecrated evangelists through whom a message is to be borne so decidedly as to startle the hearers.
“Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears. Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and show us former things? Let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no savior. I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange God among you: therefore ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am He; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” Isaiah 43:8-13.
“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. Who is blind, but My servant? or deaf, as My messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. The Lord is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the law, and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:16-21.
The work outlined in these scriptures is the work before us. The terms “My servant,” “Israel,” “the Lord’s servant,” mean anyone that the Lord may select and appoint to do a certain work. He makes them ministers of His will, though some who are selected may be as ignorant of His will as was Nebuchadnezzar.
God will work for those of His people who will submit themselves to the working of the Holy Spirit. He pledges His glory for the success of the Messiah and His kingdom. “Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
“Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come?” Verses 5-7, 23.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 129-138