On the other hand, how much might be gained, if the self-supporting plan were followed! The student would often be enabled to leave the educational institution nearly or wholly free from personal indebtedness; the finances of the school would be in a more prosperous condition; and the lessons learned by the student while passing through these experiences in the home field would be of untold value to him in foreign fields.
Let wise plans be laid to help worthy students to earn their own schooling by handling these books, if they so desire. Those who earn sufficient means in this way to pay their way through a course at one of our training schools will gain a most valuable practical experience that will help fit them for pioneer missionary work in other fields.
A great work is to be done in our world in a short time, and we must study to understand and appreciate, more than we have in past years, the providence of God in placing in our hands the precious volumes, Christ’s Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing, as a means of helping worthy students to meet their expenses while in training, as well as a means of liquidating the indebtedness on our educational and medical institutions.
Great blessings are in store for us as we wisely handle these precious books given us for the advancement of the cause of present truth. And as we labor in accordance with the Lord’s plan we shall find that many consecrated youth will be fitted to enter the regions beyond as practical missionaries; and, at the same time, the conferences in the home field will have means with which to contribute liberally to the support of the work that shall be undertaken in new territory.
April 17, 1908
God desires that the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons shall be recognized by all our people as His method of relieving our schools from debt. It is because this plan has been neglected that we now feel so keenly our lack of means for the advancing work. Had the schools availed themselves of the provision thus made for them, there would be more money in the school treasuries, and more money in the hands of God’s servants, with which to relieve the necessities of other needy departments of the cause; and, best of all, teachers and students would have received the very lessons that they needed to learn in the Master’s service.
In the cities within easy reach of our sanitariums and training schools a mission field is open to us that we have as yet only touched with the tips of our fingers. In some of these places, a good beginning has been made. But it was God’s purpose that by the sale of Ministry of Healing and Christ’s Object Lessons much means should be raised for the work of our sanitariums and schools, and that our people might thereby be left more free to donate of their means for the opening of the work in new missionary fields. If our people will now engage in the sale of these books as they ought, we shall have much more means than we now have to carry the work in the way the Lord designed that it should be carried.
Chapter 9—Camp Meetings and Our Publications
In connection with our camp meetings in past years, God’s servants have improved many precious opportunities for instructing our people in practical methods of presenting the saving truths of the third angel’s message to their friends and acquaintances. Many have been taught how to labor as self-supporting missionaries in their home communities. Many have returned home from these annual gatherings to labor with greater zeal and intelligence than hitherto.
It would be pleasing to God if far more of this practical instruction were given the church members who attend our camp meetings, than has usually been given in years past. Our general workers and our brethren and sisters in every conference should remember that one of the objects of our annual gatherings is that all may gain a knowledge of practical methods of personal missionary work. This phase of our camp meetings is outlined in Testimonies for the Church, volume 6, as follows:
“God has committed to our hands a most sacred work, and we need to meet together to receive instruction, that we may be fitted to perform this work. We need to understand what part we shall individually be called upon to act in building up the cause of God in the earth, in vindicating God’s holy law, and in lifting up the Saviour as ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29. We need to meet together and receive the divine touch, that we may understand our work in the home. Parents need to understand how they may send forth from the sanctuary of the home their sons and daughters so trained and educated that they will be fitted to shine as lights in the world. We need to understand in regard to the division of labor and how each part of the work is to be carried forward. Each one should understand the part he is to act, that there may be harmony of plan and of labor in the combined work of all.”—Pages 32, 33.
“Properly conducted, the camp meeting is a school where pastors, elders, and deacons can learn to do more perfect work for the Master. It should be a school where the members of the church, old and young, are given opportunity to learn the way of the Lord more perfectly, a place where believers can receive an education that will help them to help others….
“The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others. Help all to see that as receivers of the grace of Christ they are under obligation to work for Him. And let all be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God. If set to work, the despondent will soon forget their despondency; the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will be prepared to present the truth as it is in Jesus. They will find an unfailing helper in Him who has promised to save all that come unto Him.”—Pages 49, 50.
In some of our conferences the leaders have hesitated to introduce these practical methods of instruction. Some are naturally inclined to sermonize rather than to teach. But on such occasions as our annual camp meetings we must never lose sight of the opportunities afforded for teaching the believers how to do practical missionary work in the place where they may live. In many instances it would be well to set apart certain men to carry the burden of different lines of educational work at these meetings. Let some help the people to learn how to give Bible readings and to conduct cottage meetings. Let others bear the burden of teaching the people how to practice the principles of health and temperance, and how to give treatments to the sick. Still others may labor in the interests of our periodical and book work. And let chosen workers take a special interest in teaching many how to handle Christ’s Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing.
Many have never learned how to sell the books dedicated to the advancement of our institutional work. But such should not excuse themselves. They should study diligently how they may do their part faithfully in connection with the circulation of these precious books. Our schools and sanitariums must be conducted on a high plane of efficiency, and a solemn responsibility rests upon us all to help place these institutions on vantage ground by giving the relief books a wide circulation. God will be glorified by everyone who takes an active interest in the work of placing these books in the hands of the multitudes who are in need of the saving truths of the gospel.
The opportunity we have of doing good by striving to carry out the Lord’s plan for the relief of our schools and sanitariums has been presented to me over and over again in connection with the Southern California Conference. The conditions there are unusually favorable for a long-continued effort to push the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing. Our brethren and sisters in Southern California should never weary of this plan for raising money to meet the debts that have accumulated. The students of the Fernando school, and the nurses of the three sanitariums that have been established, can ill afford to lose the precious experiences in missionary work that come to those who handle the relief books. And the conference can ill afford to lose the results, spiritual as well as financial, that would accompany a continued effort of this sort.
But years have passed, and students who should have been gaining rich experiences in actual missionary work have not been encouraged to launch out heartily in the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons. Church members in many places have daily met with strangers,—tourists, men and women of means and influence,—and yet such opportunities as these for circulating Christ’s Object Lessons and Ministry of Healing have been allowed to pass by unimproved. Many honesthearted persons who could have been reached by diligent, wholehearted effort have not been given the light of the third angel’s message.
Had the Lord’s plan been followed, His name would have been glorified, and many spiritual victories would have been won. Those having means would have been more able and willing to come up to the help of the Lord when He was leading out in an extraordinary manner in the establishment of strong medical missionary centers in the vicinity of great thoroughfares of travel. Students would have received a training that would have greatly increased their efficiency as practical missionaries at home and abroad. Churches would have been revived with spiritual blessings. Many would have been won to the truth, and these would have brought into the cause their influence and their means.
In such places as Southern California, where thousands of tourists, many of them in search of health and strength, are constantly coming and going, special and continuous efforts should be put forth to scatter the bright rays of light and truth. The books Ministry of Healing and Christ’s Object Lessons are peculiarly adapted for use in tourist centers, and everything possible should be done to place copies of these works in the hands of those who have leisure and inclination to read. Especially do those who are seeking for restoration of health need the book Ministry of Healing. Every favor able opportunity for reaching this class is to be improved.
My heart has rejoiced as I have learned of a revival of the relief work in Southern California during the past few months. At Loma Linda some of the nurses have been given a special training for the work of selling Ministry of Healing; and as they have visited homes in the neighboring cities and villages, the blessing of heaven has rested richly upon them, and favorable impressions have been made in behalf of our people and their work.
At the Fernando school the teachers have recently led out in reviving an interest in the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons. Bands of students, after prayerful study of the book, have visited Los Angeles in company with their teachers and have gained a sound, solid experience which they prize above silver and gold. This kind of work is, in fact, one of the means God has ordained for giving our youth a missionary training; and those who neglect to improve such opportunities lose out of their lives a chapter of experience of the highest value. By entering heartily into this work, students can learn how to approach with tact and discretion men and women in all walks of life, how to deal with them courteously, and how to lead them to give favorable consideration to the truths contained in the books that are sold.
Our greatest burden should be, not the raising of money, but the salvation of souls; and to this end we should do all in our power to teach students how to lead souls to a knowledge of the third angel’s message. When we are successful in the work of soulsaving, those who are added to the faith will, in turn, use their ability in giving the truth to others. When we labor diligently for the salvation of our fellow men, God will prosper our every effort.
To the presidents of conferences, and to others in positions of leading responsibility, I would say: Let us do all in our power to impress upon the teachers connected with our educational institutions the great value of the blessings in store for those who seek diligently to make the best possible use of the gift, Christ’s Object Lessons. Let us encourage the teachers to unite with many of their students in a prayerful study of this book, preparatory to going out with them into active field work. Let us help the educators to understand their responsibility in this matter. Let us do all we can to revive the Christ’s Object Lessons work and to inaugurate plans for an active campaign with Ministry of Healing.
As teachers and students engage heartily in this line of work, they will gain an experience that will fit them to do valuable service in connection with our camp meetings. Through the instruction that they can give to the believers in attendance, and through the sale of many books in the places where such meetings are held, those who have been in the school will be able to do their part in reaching the multitudes who need to be given the third angel’s message. Let teachers and students nobly bear their share of the burden of showing our own people how to communicate the message to their friends and neighbors.
When we follow plans of the Lord’s devising “we are laborers together with God.” Whatever our position,—whether presidents of conferences, ministers, teachers, students, or lay members,—we are held accountable by the Lord for making the most of our opportunities to enlighten those in need of present truth. And one of the principal agencies He has ordained for our use is the printed page. In our schools and sanitariums, in our home churches, and particularly in our annual camp meetings, we must learn to make a wise use of this precious agency. With patient diligence chosen workers must instruct our people how to approach unbelievers in a kindly, winning way and how to place in their hands literature in which the truth for this time is presented with clearness and power.
My brethren and sisters, let us not become weary in well-doing. During His earthly ministry, Christ traveled on foot from place to place. Wearied, as He ofttimes was, His human nature taxed to the uttermost, yet He was ever ready to heal all who came unto Him, and to teach them the way of life eternal. Though often physically exhausted, He left not His work. There was a world to be saved. He made every sacrifice possible, in order that light and truth might shine forth.
The Lord God of Israel desires us to link up in holy union with Himself and exercise the living faith that works by love and purifies the soul. He desires that we shall be a working corps of laborers endowed with adaptability for His service, and to such He promises power to win a glorious victory for Him.
July 10, 1908.
The men who stand as leaders in any part of the solemn work of the last gospel message must cultivate and cherish broad views and ideas. It is the privilege of all who bear responsibilities in the work of the gospel to be apt learners in the school of Christ. The professed follower of Christ must not be led by the dictates of his own will; his mind must be trained to think Christ’s thoughts and enlightened to comprehend the will and way of God. Such a believer will be a follower of Christ’s methods of work.
Our brethren should not forget that the wisdom of God has made provision for our schools in a way that will bring blessing to all who participate in the enterprise. The book Christ’s Object Lessons was donated to the educational work, that the students and other friends of the schools might handle these books and by their sale raise much of the means needed to lift the school indebtedness. But this plan has not been presented to our schools as it should have been; the teachers and students have not been educated to take hold of this book and courageously push its sale for the benefit of the educational work.
Long ago the teachers and students in our schools should have learned to take advantage of the opportunity to raise means by the sale of Christ’s Object Lessons. In selling these books the students will serve the cause of God, and, while doing this, by the dissemination of precious light, they will learn invaluable lessons in Christian experience. All our schools should now come into line and earnestly endeavor to carry out the plan presented to us for the education of workers, for the relief of the schools, and for the winning of souls to the cause of Christ.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 79-88