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Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)

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    Qualifications for the Work

    There are men who never gave a discourse in their lives who ought to be laboring to save souls. Neither great talent nor high position is required. But there is urgent need of men and women who are acquainted with Jesus, and familiar with the story of his life and death.GW92 380.2

    Talent is too much idolized, and station too much coveted, even among Seventh-day Adventists. There is too eager a desire to ride upon the high places of the earth, and too little willingness to follow the Saviour in the path of cross-bearing and humility. There are too many who will do nothing unless they can be leaders; too many who must be praised and petted, or they have no interest to labor. To work in a humble way for Jesus, and, though unnoticed, to still work on, sowing the seeds of truth, appears to them an unattractive and unwelcome task.GW92 381.1

    All this springs from mistaken conceptions of usefulness and honor. The wide, deep rivers are admired and valued, while the hundreds of little rills that help to form these broad and noble streams, are unnoticed. Yet the humble brook that makes its noiseless way through grove and meadow, bringing health and fertility and beauty, is as useful in its way as the broad river.GW92 381.2

    We do not need eminent men so much as good, true, and humble men. God calls for those of all classes and all trades to work in his cause. Those are wanted who will begin at the lower rounds of the ladder, who will, if need be, eat their own bread and quietly perform their duty; men who will not shrink from diligent labor to acquire means, or from rigid economy in its expenditure, and who will devote both time and means to work for the Master in their own families and their own neighborhoods.GW92 381.3

    *****

    The work of God calls for young men who are not self-sufficient and boastful,—young men who study their Bibles and are honest and God-fearing. Volunteers are needed who will respect gray hairs, and honor those whom God honors, and who will not feel insulted when counseled by men of experience. Such men will be earnest workers; for they are actuated by love to God, and interest in their fellow-men. They approach the Lord's standard of manhood, and with the divine blessing on their capabilities they may reach a high degree of mental and moral excellence. To be a man that God can approve and use in his cause, is honor enough for any human being. Office, wealth, position, sink into insignificance in comparison.GW92 381.4

    *****

    Some men have no firmness of character. They are like a ball of putty, and can be pressed into any conceivable shape. They are of no definite form and consistency, and are of no practical use in the world. This weakness, indecision, and inefficiency must be overcome. In true Christian character there is an indomitableness which cannot be molded or subdued by adverse circumstances. Men must have moral backbone, an integrity which cannot be flattered, bribed, or terrified.—Testimonies for the Church 5:297.GW92 382.1

    *****

    Christ is pleased with his followers when they show that, though human, they are partakers of the divine nature. They are not statues, but living men and women, whose warm hearts, invigorated by the dews of divine grace, open and expand as the beams of the Sun of Righteousness fall upon them. The light which is shed upon them they reflect upon others in works luminous with the love of Christ. There are some professed Christians who are like icebergs; they seem to freeze up the cheerfulness of all who are connected with them. Their influence upon the cause of Christ is always deleterious.GW92 382.2

    *****

    The lives of those who are connected with God are fragrant with deeds of love and goodness. The sweet savor of Christ surrounds them; their influence is to elevate and bless. These are fruitful trees. Men and women of this stamp of character will render practical service in thoughtful deeds of kindness, and earnest, systematic labor.GW92 382.3

    *****

    Enoch was a marked character. Many look upon his life as above what the generality of mortals can ever reach. But Enoch's life and character, which were so holy that he was translated to heaven without seeing death, represent what the lives and characters of all must be, if, like Enoch, they are subjects to be translated when Christ shall come. His life was what the life of every one may be who closely connects with God.GW92 383.1

    Women as Christian Workers

    Who can have so deep a love for the souls of men and women for whom Christ has died, as those who are partakers of his grace? Who can represent the truth and the example of Christ better than Christian women who are practicing the truth in their earnest efforts to bring souls to the light? Who are so well adapted to be teachers in the Sabbath-school? With a heart imbued with the love of Christ, teaching the children of her class, praying with them and for them, she may see souls converted. The true mother is adapted to be the teacher of children. I do not recommend that woman should become a voter or an office-holder; but as a missionary, teaching the truth by epistolary correspondence, distributing tracts and soliciting subscribers for periodicals containing the solemn truth for this time, she may do very much. In conversing with families, in praying with the mother and children, she will be a blessing. Women can be instruments of righteousness, rendering holy service to God. It was Mary who first preached a risen Saviour.GW92 383.2

    *****

    John says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.” [Revelation 18:1.] Then, as at the Pentecostal season, the people will hear the truth spoken to them, every man in his own tongue. God can breathe new life into every soul that sincerely desires to serve him, and can touch the lips with a live coal from off the altar, and cause them to become eloquent with his praise. Thousands of voices will be imbued with the power to speak forth the wonderful truths of God's word. The stammering tongue will be loosed, and the timid will be made strong to bear courageous testimony to the truth. May the Lord help his people to cleanse the soul-temple from every defilement, and to maintain so close a connection with him that they may be partakers of the latter rain when it shall be poured out.GW92 383.3

    Education

    The agency of the Spirit of God does not remove from us the necessity of exercising our faculties and talents, but teaches us how to use every power to the glory of God. The human faculties, when under the special direction of the grace of God, are capable of being used to the best purpose on earth, and will be exercised in the future, immortal life.—Testimonies for the Church 4:372.GW92 384.1

    *****

    Ignorance will not increase the humility or spirituality of any professed follower of Christ. The truths of the divine word can be best appreciated by an intellectual Christian. Christ can be best glorified by those who serve him intelligently. The great object of education is to enable us to use the powers which God has given us in such a manner as will best represent the religion of the Bible and promote the glory of God.GW92 384.2

    We are indebted to him who gave us existence, for all the talents which have been intrusted to us; and it is a duty we owe to our Creator to cultivate and improve upon the talents he has committed to our trust. Education will discipline the mind, develop its powers, and understandingly direct them, that we may be useful in advancing the glory of God.—Testimonies for the Church 3:160.GW92 384.3

    *****

    It is true that the world's men of learning are not easily reached by the practical truths of God's word. The reason is, they trust to human wisdom, and pride themselves upon their intellectual superiority, and are unwilling to become humble learners in the school of Christ. Our Saviour did not ignore learning or despise education; yet he chose unlearned fishermen for the work of the gospel, because they had not been schooled in the false customs and traditions of the world. They were men of good natural ability, and of a humble, teachable spirit; men whom he could educate for his great work. In the ordinary walks of life there is many a man patiently treading the round of daily toil, all unconscious that he possesses powers, which, if called into action, would raise him to an equality with the world's most honored men. The touch of a skillful hand is needed to arouse and develop those dormant faculties. It was such men whom Jesus connected with himself; and he gave them the advantages of three years’ training under his own care. No course of study in the schools of the rabbis or the halls of philosophy could have equaled this in value.GW92 385.1

    *****

    Any young man is wanting in his duty to himself if he fails to meet the purposes of God by improving and enlarging his faculties. The mind is the best possession we have; but it must be trained by study, by reflection, by learning in the school of Christ, the best and truest educator the world has ever known.GW92 385.2

    *****

    Chasing through books superficially, clogs the mind, and causes you to become a mental dyspeptic. You cannot digest and use one half that you read. If you should read with the one object in view, to improve the mind, and should read only as much as the mind can comprehend and digest, and would patiently persevere in such a course of reading, good results would be obtained.—Testimonies for the Church 3:465.GW92 385.3

    *****

    The same zeal and energy, tact and order, that are exercised in counting-rooms and shops, and in the fine arts, should be brought into the religious life, and exercised in the work of God.GW92 386.1

    Bible Study

    The perusal of works upon our faith, the reading of arguments from the pen of others, while an excellent and important practice, is not that which will give the mind the greatest strength. The Bible is the best book in the world for intellectual culture. The subjects treated upon in the word of God, the dignified simplicity of its utterances, the grand themes which it presents to the mind, tend to develop in man faculties which cannot otherwise be developed. The student will come from a contemplation of these elevating themes, from associations with these lofty thoughts, more pure and elevated in mind than if he had been occupied in the contemplation of any subject of a merely human origin.GW92 386.2

    *****

    The exhortation that Paul gave to Timothy, was, “Take heed,” [1 Timothy 4:16.] first to yourself, and then to the doctrine. Do not let your heart become hardened with sin. It is very important that our youth should begin the work right. You need wisdom from heaven to read the Scriptures aright. The youth should decide the aim, the purpose of their life, and set their standard high; if they have a low standard, they will not rise above that at which they aim. Closely examine your manners and habits. Compare them with the word of God, and then separate from you every wrong habit and indulgence; for God will not hear your prayers if you regard iniquity in your heart. Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Every one of you wants to be sure that Christ is in you and abiding with you. Then you can do all things.GW92 386.3

    With your Bibles you should go before God, and plead with him for an understanding of his word. You want your understanding quickened; you want to know that you know the real principles of the truth; and then when you meet opponents, you will not have to meet them in your own strength. The angel of God will stand right by your side, to help in answering every question that may be asked. But one passionate word will give Satan the advantage, and often wound your own soul and turn others away from the light. You want to be walled in, as it were, with Jesus; and as you hold yourself in this position, it will have a telling influence upon the people. Remember that the work is to present the truth as it is in Jesus, and you will have success. Although many will not hear you, yet there are those who will hear. There are honest inquirers after truth, who are far from being satisfied with the spiritual declension in the churches at the present time, and are hungry for the bread of life.GW92 387.1

    *****

    Above all other people upon the earth, the man whose mind is enlightened by the opening of God's word to his understanding, will feel that he must give himself to diligence in the perusal of the word of God, and to a diligent study of the sciences; for his hope and calling are greater than any other. The more closely connected man is with the Source of all knowledge and wisdom, the more he can be advantaged intellectually, as well as spiritually, through his relation to God.GW92 387.2

    The opening of God's word is followed by remarkable strengthening of man's faculties; for the entrance of God's word is the application of divine truth to the heart, purifying and refining the soul through the agency of the Holy Spirit.GW92 387.3

    *****

    All resistance of God, all departures from virtue and truth, pervert the faith as well as the morals, while conformity to God's revealed will always increases faith and knowledge. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” [John 7:17.]GW92 388.1

    *****

    The mind devoted unreservedly to God, under the guidance of the divine Spirit develops generally and harmoniously. The weak, vacillating character becomes changed through the power of God to one of strength and steadfastness. Continual devotion and piety establish so close a relation between Jesus and his disciple that the Christian becomes like him in mind and character. After association with the Son of God, the humble follower of Christ is found to be a person of sound principle, clear perception, and reliable judgment. He has a connection with God, the source of light and understanding. He who longed to be of service to the cause of Christ, has been so quickened by the life-giving rays of the Sun of Righteousness, that he has been enabled to bear much fruit to the glory of God.GW92 388.2

    Men of the highest education and accomplishments have learned the most precious lessons from the precept and example of the humble follower of Christ, who is designated as “unlearned” by the world. But could men look with deeper insight, they would see that these humble men had obtained an education in the highest of all schools, even in the school of the divine Teacher, who spake as never man spake.GW92 388.3

    We would not discourage education, or put a low estimate upon mental culture and discipline. God would have us students as long as we remain in this world. But no one should set himself as a critic to measure the usefulness and influence of his brother who has had few advantages of book knowledge. He may be rich in a rarer wisdom. Through a connection with God, the Christian will have clearer and broader views, unbiased by his own preconceived opinions. His discernment will be more penetrative and far-seeing, his judgment better balanced.GW92 388.4

    *****

    There is little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Bible. One may read the whole Bible through, and yet fail to see its beauty, or to comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind, and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view, and no positive instruction gained.GW92 389.1

    *****

    When persons meet together for the investigation of points of faith concerning which there is a difference of opinion, the spirit which controls them will be manifested. Those who are standing in defense of truth should be calm and self-possessed. If they have the mind of Christ, they will be kind and courteous. They will not be betrayed into the use of harsh language. They will not regard themselves as infallible, nor look with contempt upon those who differ with them. They will not regard them as enemies, nor meet them with ridicule or jesting.GW92 389.2

    *****

    Paul speaks of the riches of the glory of the mystery that is to be made known to the Gentiles. There are many mysteries in the word of God that we do not comprehend, and many of us are content to stop our investigation when we have just begun to receive a little knowledge concerning Christ. When there begins to be a little unfolding of the divine purposes to the mind, and we begin to obtain a slight knowledge of the character of God, we become satisfied, and think that we have received about all the light that there is for us in the word of God. But the truth of God is infinite. With painstaking effort, we should work in the mines of truth, discovering the precious jewels that have been hidden. It is the laborer's privilege to have a constant supply of fresh truth for the people. He should be in such a position that he can bring from the treasure house of God, not the same thing over and over, but new beauty and new truth.GW92 389.3

    *****

    We must not for a moment think that there is no more light, no more truth to be given us. We are in danger of becoming careless, by our indifference losing the sanctifying power of truth, and composing ourselves with the thought, “I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” [Revelation 3:17.] While we must hold fast to the truths which we have already received, we must not look with suspicion upon any new light that God may send.GW92 390.1

    *****

    It has been shown me that there is a fault with us, of honoring the human, flattering men, accepting their ideas, their judgment, as the voice of God, and advocating their cause. Many have such confidence in those whom they have been accustomed to regard as leaders, that they seem incapable of discerning when these persons are in error, and they are ready to cling to and defend erroneous positions, because others do so. This spirit is displeasing to God, and is dangerous to all who indulge in it; for if leading men allow themselves to be controlled by prejudice, evil surmisings, or envy, those who look to them for an example are led astray. Brethren, trust not in man; look to God; trust in his infallible wisdom. Shun as a sin the practice, so common even among Seventh-day Adventists, of becoming the echo of any man, whatever his position. Listen to the voice of the True Shepherd, and you will never be led astray.GW92 390.2

    *****

    Jesus prayed for his disciples, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” [John 17:21.] Just before, he said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] And he had given them the promise, “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” [John 16:13.] Through the Holy Spirit, Christ will open more clearly to those who will believe on him that which he has inspired holy men to write concerning the truth. And it is thus that the unity for which Christ prayed is to be effected. We are to receive sanctification through obedience to the word and the Spirit of truth.GW92 391.1

    We cannot surrender the truth in order to accomplish this union; for the very means by which it is to be gained is sanctification through the truth. Human wisdom would change all this, thinking this basis of union too narrow. Men would effect a union through conformity to popular opinions, through a compromise with the world. But truth is God's basis for the unity of his people.GW92 391.2

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