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Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)

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    Economy in Mission Work

    We are all laborers under God; and we must work with intelligence, frugality, and humility. There are those who undertake too much, and by so doing accomplish little. Our efforts must be more concentrated. Every stroke must tell. The work in Europe, as in America, has had to begin small; but even there it can be managed so as to be largely self-sustaining. One great means by which this can be accomplished will be by the well-directed efforts of those already in the truth to bring in others who will be a strength and support to the work. A few souls brought out and fully established on the truth, will, like the first disciples, be laborers for others.GW92 355.1

    There must be a firm determination on the part of our laborers to break away from the established customs of the people whenever this is essential to the advancement of the work of God. The work might be much farther advanced in Europe if some of those who have accepted the truth were not so wedded to national habits and customs. They plead that the efforts of the ministers must be made to conform to those customs and prejudices, or nothing will be accomplished. This has had a binding influence upon the work from its beginning.GW92 355.2

    The laborers should counsel together. No one is to strike out on his independent judgment, and work according to his own mind, regardless of the counsel of those connected with him. If we think ourselves sufficient to manage the work of God, and depend for success on our own wisdom to plan and execute, we may expect defeats and losses; for they will surely come. It has been shown me that the planning of the work must not be trusted to inexperienced men. Those who have not had full breadth of experience are not the ones to take large responsibilities, although they may think themselves qualified to do so. Their brethren may see defects where they see only perfection. Too much is at stake now to allow any great risks to be run in investing means from the Lord's treasury. If any one wishes to try experiments which his brethren do not sanction, let him sustain himself from his own funds, so that if losses occur, he alone will be the loser. The workers are not many; the means are not abundant; and the work must be fashioned accordingly. It is not God's plan that large draughts should be made upon the treasury to support workers who labor in such a way that no special results can be seen.GW92 355.3

    The mind must be active to discern the best ways and means of reaching the people next us. We often let opportunities within our reach slip away, in order to do a work at a distance from us which is less hopeful, and thus our time and means may be lost in both places. At this point in the history of our work we may spread over a great deal of territory, scatter our efforts, use up our time and money, and yet have little fruit to show for our labors,—few souls who will help to sustain the work by their efforts and their means.GW92 356.1

    Our missionary workers must learn to economize. The largest reservoir, though fed by abundant and living springs, will fail to supply the demand if there are leakages which drain off the supply. It must not be left for one man to decide whether a certain field will warrant large efforts. If the workers in one field so fashion the work as to incur large expenses, they are barring the way so that other important fields—fields which perhaps would better warrant the outlay—cannot be entered. Our younger laborers must be content to work their way among the people slowly and surely, under the advice of those who have had more experience. The ideas of many are too high. A more humble manner of working would show good results. It is encouraging to see the young enter the missionary field, enlisting all their ardor and zeal in the work; but they must not be left to manage for themselves, and keep the cause of God weighed down with debt. All should strive by wise management and earnest labor to gather enough to pay their own expenses. They should labor to make the cause self-sustaining, and should teach the people to rely upon themselves.GW92 356.2

    Our ministers should not feel at liberty to pay large sums for halls in which to hold meetings, when they do not feel the burden of following up the interest by personal labor. The results are too uncertain to warrant the using up of means so rapidly. If churches and halls are opened to any of the laborers, and there is a desire to hear, they should embrace the opportunity and do the best they can; but it is not wisdom for a single individual to strike out as though he had some great talent, as though he were a Moody or a Sankey, and make a lavish outlay of means.GW92 357.1

    In sending missionaries to foreign countries, we should select those who know how to economize, who have not large families, and who, realizing the shortness of time and the great work to be accomplished, will keep themselves as free as possible from everything that would divert their minds from their one great work. The wife, if devoted, and left free to do so, can, by standing by the side of her husband, accomplish as much as he. We want missionaries who are missionaries in the fullest sense of the word; who will put aside selfish considerations, and let the cause of God come first; and who, working with an eye single to his glory, will keep themselves as minutemen, to go where he shall bid, and to work in any capacity to spread the knowledge of the truth. Men who have wives that love and fear God, and that can help them in the work, are needed in the missionary field.GW92 357.2

    Our laborers must learn to exercise economy, not only in their efforts to advance the cause of truth, but in their own home expenses. They should locate their families where they can be cared for at as little expense as possible. Donations and bequests do not come to our people as they do to other denominations; and those who have not educated themselves to live within their means, will surely have to do this now, or engage in some other employment. Habits of self-indulgence, or a want of tact and skill on the part of the wife and mother, may be a constant drain upon the treasury; and yet that mother may think she is doing her best, because she has never been taught to restrict her wants or the wants of her children, and has never acquired skill and tact in household matters. Hence one family may require for its support twice the amount that would suffice for another family of the same size.GW92 358.1

    Those who have not habits of economy should learn the lesson at once. All should learn how to keep accounts. Some neglect this work as nonessential; but this is wrong. All expenses should be accurately stated. This is something that many of our laborers will have to learn.GW92 358.2

    We should not become loose and dilatory in our habits while we are engaged in God's work. All should be prompt, wide-awake business men in his cause. The Lord is not pleased with the present lack of order and accuracy among those who do business in connection with his work. Even in the business meetings of the Conference much time could be saved, and many mistakes avoided, by a little more study and punctuality. Everything that bears any relation to the work of God should be as near perfect as human brains and hands can make it.—MS.GW92 358.3

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