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Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists

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    Appeals for our Missions

    Education for the Missionary Work

    “We are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.HS 280.1

    The work of the Christian laborer is not light or unimportant. He has a high vocation, from which his whole future life must take its mould and coloring. He who gives himself to so sacred a work should bend all his energies to its accomplishment. He should aim high; he will never reach a higher standard than that which he aims to attain. He cannot diffuse light until he has first received it. He must be a learner before he can have sufficient experience and wisdom to become a teacher, able to open the Scriptures to those who are in darkness. If God has called men to be laborers together with him, it is equally certain that he has called them to make the best possible preparation to rightly represent the sacred, elevating truths of his word.HS 280.2

    Those who desire to give themselves to the work of God, should receive an education and training for the work, that they may be prepared to engage in it intelligently. No one should feel that he can step at once upon the upper rounds of the ladder; those who would succeed must begin at the first round, and climb upward step by step. Opportunities and privileges are granted them for improvement, and they should make every effort in their power to learn how they may do the work of God acceptably.HS 280.3

    Wherever our ministers shall labor, in Europe or in America, they should seek to arouse the youth to prepare for active service in God's great field of battle. All who claim to be the servants of Christ have a work to do for him. The very name of servant conveys the idea of hire, work, responsibility. God has intrusted to every one, powers to be employed in his service. He has given to each his work, and he requires that every faculty shall be improved to his glory.HS 280.4

    Just in front of our printing office in Basle is a large park of many acres, reserved by the government for military drill. Here day after day, at certain seasons of the year, we see the soldiers training. They are drilled in all the duties of the army, so that in case of war they may be ready at the call of the government to engage in actual service. One day a fine tent was brought upon the ground. Then came the discipline of pitching it and taking it down; instruction was given as to setting it up in proper order, every man having his specific work. Several times the tent was erected and taken down. By another company, many small cannon were brought upon the ground, and lessons were given by the officers in the matter of moving these quickly from place to place, in taking apart the cannon wagon, and setting the gun ready for use, and in quickly attaching again the fore wheels so as to be ready at the call to set them in motion in an instant. Ambulances were brought to the ground, and the sanitary corps were taught to take care of the wounded. Men were laid upon stretchers, and their heads and limbs were bandaged as are those of the wounded on the field of battle. Then they were laid in the ambulances, and drawn from the ground. For hours, soldiers are drilled to disencumber themselves of their knapsacks, and place them quickly in position again upon the person. They are taught how to stack their arms, and how to seize them quickly. They are drilled in making a charge as against the enemy, and are trained in all kinds of maneuvers.HS 280.5

    Thus the drill goes on, preparing men for any emergency. And should those who are fighting the battle for Prince Immanuel be less earnest and painstaking in their preparation for the spiritual warfare? Those who engage in this great work must take part in the drill. They must educate themselves to obey, before they are fitted to command.HS 281.1

    Even at this eleventh hour, there should be decided advancement made in the matter of a special preparatory work. In all our Conferences there should be well-organized plans for the instruction and training of those who desire to give themselves to the cause of God. Our city missions afford favorable opportunities for education in missionary labor; but these are not enough. There ought to be connected with our schools the best possible facilities for the preparation of laborers both for home and foreign fields. There should also be in our larger churches special training schools for young men and women, to fit them to become workers for God. And far more attention should be given by our ministers to the matter of assisting and educating younger laborers.HS 281.2

    When an effort is made to introduce the truth in an important place, our ministers should give special attention to the instruction and training of those who are to co-operate with them. Colporteurs and canvassers are needed, and those who are fitted to give Bible readings in families, so that while the ministers are laboring in word and doctrine, these can also be calling minds to the truth. Our ministers who have gone to important places to hold tent-meetings have often made a serious mistake in devoting all their time to sermonizing. There should be less preaching and more teaching,—teaching the people, and also teaching young men how to labor successfully. Ministers should become efficient in teaching others how to study the Bible, and in training the minds and manners of those who would become workers in the cause of God. And they should be ready to counsel and instruct those who have newly come to the faith, and who give promise of possessing ability to work for the Master.HS 281.3

    Those who are connected with tent labor should avail themselves of all the advantages thus offered them. They should not be wandering listlessly about while discourses are being given, as though there was nothing in the sermon that they needed. They are not to regard the speaker as merely one who is delivering an oration, but as God's messenger, bearing a message from heaven to men. Personal preferences and prejudices must not come in to influence the hearer. All should imitate the example of Cornelius and his friends, who said, “Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” If the hearers thus listen in faith, expecting a message from God through his delegated messenger, they will receive it and be profited.HS 281.4

    The youth who aim to labor in the Master's vineyard must be as apprentices who are to learn the trade. They must learn to be useful in the work by first doing errands for the Lord, improving opportunities for doing missionary labor anywhere, and in any capacity. Thus they may give evidence that they possess tact and qualifications for the greatest work ever intrusted to men. They should be constantly improving in mind, in manners, in speech, learning how to become successful laborers. They should cultivate tact and courtesy, and manifest the spirit of Christ. Let them never cease to learn. Onward and upward should be their constant endeavor.HS 282.1

    Both the youth and those of mature age, should, as they continue to labor, be constantly becoming more efficient. To engage successfully in a new branch of the work, the mental powers must be disciplined. The mind must not be permitted to drift with circumstances and follow impulse, but must be resolutely held to the object of the labor.HS 282.2

    All who would become efficient workers must give much time to prayer. The communication between God and the soul must be kept open, that the workers may recognize the voice of their Captain. The Bible should be diligently studied. The truth of God, like gold, is not always lying right on the surface; it is to be obtained only by earnest thought and study. This study will not only store the mind with the most valuable knowledge, but it will strengthen and expand the mental powers, and it will give a true estimate of eternal things. Let the divine precepts be brought into the daily life; let the life be fashioned after God's great standard of righteousness, and the whole character will be strengthen and ennobled.HS 282.3

    He who is seeking to qualify himself for the sacred work of God should be careful not to place himself on the enemy's ground, but should choose the society of those who will help him to obtain divine knowledge. God suffered John, the beloved disciple, to be exiled to Patmos, where he was separated from the world's bustle and strife, shut away from every outside influence, and even the work that he loved. Then the Lord could commune with him, opening before him the closing scenes in this world's history. John the Baptist made his home in the wilderness, there to receive of God the message he was to bear, to prepare the way for the Coming One. So far as consistent, we should shun every influence which would tend to divert the mind from the work of God. And those especially who are young in faith and experience should beware that they do not in self-confidence place themselves in the way of temptation.HS 282.4

    Those who take hold of the work aright, will feel the necessity of having Jesus with them at every step, and they will feel that the cultivation of the mind and the manners is a duty due to themselves and required of God,—a duty which is essential to the success of the work. Some who contemplate becoming missionary workers may think themselves so far advanced that they do not need all this particular drill, but those who feel thus are the very ones who stand in the greatest need of thorough training. When they know much more in regard to the truth and the importance of the work, they will realize their ignorance and inefficiency. When they closely examine their own hearts, they will see themselves in such contrast to the pure character of Christ that they will cry out, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Then they will in deep humility strive daily to place themselves in close connection with Christ. While overcoming the selfish inclinations of the natural heart, they are placing their feet in the path where Christ leads the way. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” But those who have a high estimate of their own ability and acquisitions, are so full of self-importance that there is no opportunity for the entrance of the word of God, to instruct and enlighten them.HS 282.5

    Many feel that they are fitted for a work that they know scarcely anything about, and if they start in to labor in a self-important manner, they will fail to receive that knowledge which they must obtain in Christ's school. These will be doomed to struggle with many difficulties, for which they are wholly unprepared. They will ever lack experience and wisdom until they learn their great inefficiency.HS 283.1

    Very much has been lost to the cause by the defective labors of men who possess ability, but who have not had proper training. They have engaged in a work which they knew not how to manage, and as the result have accomplished but little. They have not done a tithe of what they could have done had they received the right discipline at the start. They seized upon a few ideas, managed to get a runway of a few discourses, and here their progress ended. They felt competent to be teachers, when they had scarcely mastered their a b c in the knowledge of the truth. They have been stumbling along ever since, not doing justice to themselves or to the work. They do not seem to have sufficient interest to arouse their dormant energies, and task their powers to become efficient workers. They have not taken the pains to form thorough and well-devised plans, and their work shows a deficiency in every part. Some have given up in discouragement, and have engaged in other employment. Had these patiently and humbly placed their feet on the lowest round of the ladder, and then with persevering energy climbed step by step, diligently improving the privileges and opportunities within their reach, they might have become able, useful workmen, who could give full proof of their ministry, and of whom the Master would not be ashamed.HS 283.2

    If those who propose to work for the salvation of souls depend on their own finite wisdom they will certainly fail. If they entertain humble views of self, and rely fully upon the promises of God, he will never fail them. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” We have the privilege of being directed by a wise Counselor.HS 283.3

    God can make humble men mighty in his service. Those who obediently respond to the call of duty, improving their abilities to the very utmost, may be sure of receiving divine assistance. Angels will come as messengers of light to the help of those who will do all that they can do on their part, and then trust in God to work with their efforts.HS 283.4

    It should be impressed on all who have decided to become workers for God, that they must give evidence that they are converted men. A young man without a sound virtuous character will be no honor to the truth. Every worker should be pure in heart; in his mouth should be found no guile. He should bear in mind that to be successful he must have Christ by his side, and that every sinful practice, however secret, is open to the view of Him with whom we have to do. Sin has marred the divine image in man, but through Christ this may be restored. But it is only through earnest prayer and the conquest of self that we can become partakers of the divine nature. Many do not rise high enough to meet the standard. Their faith is weak, they expect but little from God, and they receive according to their faith. They need far more faith in God, and far less confidence in self. When they have this, they will be more successful in attaining perfection of character.HS 283.5

    The true toilers in the Lord's vineyard will be men of prayer, of faith, of self-denial,—men who hold in restraint the natural appetites and passions. These will in their own lives give evidence of the power of the truth which they present to others; and their labors will not be without effect.HS 284.1

    The apostle Paul, in his dying charge to Timothy, says: “The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” The instruction given to Timothy contains lessons to be learned by all the servants of Christ. Every one who anticipates engaging in the solemn work of the ministry should give heed to the apostle's charge to his son in the gospel as the latter was entering upon his work: “Let no man despise thy youth.” Timothy might pursue so wise a course that he would gain the confidence of all with whom he should be associated. The ground of this confidence the apostle specifies: “But be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” The work of a student was enjoined upon him. “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”HS 284.2

    These lessons are important, not only to ministers, but to all the workers in the cause of God. Each should give them careful study. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”HS 284.3

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