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Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

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    Chapter 33—Missionary Work

    [Note.—At times during the early days of the message, Seventh-day Adventists caught glimpses of a broadening work that would eventually embrace many nationalities. Not until the early 70's, however, did the leaders in the Advent movement begin to comprehend that theirs was a mission to the whole world. Even as late as in 1872, the scripture, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,” was regarded simply as a “prominent sign of the last day,” meeting fulfillment in the extension of Protestant missions. Its complete fulfillment was in no way associated with the spread of the Advent movement throughout the world. (See The Review and Herald, April 16 and July 16, 1872.) But in 1873 a marked change of sentiment began to appear in the utterances of leaders among Seventh-day Adventists regarding their duty to warn the world. (See editorial The Review and Herald, August 26, 1873; and many other articles of similar import in the issues that followed.) By the close of the year 1874, this transformation of sentiment seems to have been effected almost completely.]

    Dec. 10, 1871, I was shown that God would accomplish a great work through the truth, if devoted, self-sacrificing men would give themselves unreservedly to the work of presenting it to those in darkness. Those who have a knowledge of the precious truth, and who are consecrated to God, should avail themselves of every opportunity where there is an opening to press in the truth. Angels of God are moving on the hearts and consciences of the people of other nations, and honest souls are troubled as they witness the signs of the times in the unsettled state of the nations. The inquiry arises in their hearts, What will be the end of all these things? While God and angels are at work to impress hearts, the servants of Christ seem to be asleep. But few are working in unison with the heavenly messengers.LS 203.1

    If ministers and people were sufficiently aroused, they would not rest thus indifferently, while God has honored them by making them the depositaries of His law, by printing it in their minds and writing it upon their hearts. These truths of vital importance are to test the world; and yet in our own country there are cities, villages, and towns that have never heard the warning message. Young men who feel stirred by the appeals that have been made for help in this great work of advancing the cause of God, make some advance moves, but do not get the burden of the work upon them sufficiently to accomplish what they might.LS 203.2

    If young men who commence to labor in this cause would have the missionary spirit, they would give evidence that God has indeed called them to the work. But when they do not go out into new places, but are content to go from church to church, they give evidence that the burden of the work is not upon them. The ideas of our young preachers are not broad enough. Their zeal is too feeble. Were the young men awake and devoted to the Lord, they would be diligent every moment of their time, and would seek to qualify themselves to become laborers in the missionary field.LS 204.1

    Young men should be qualifying themselves by becoming familiar with other languages, that God may use them as mediums to communicate His saving truth to those of other nations. These young men may obtain a knowledge of other languages even while engaged in laboring for sinners. If they are economical of their time, they can be improving their minds, and qualifying themselves for more extended usefulness. If young women who have borne but little responsibility would devote themselves to God, they could quality themselves for usefulness by studying and becoming familiar with other languages. They could devote themselves to the work of translating.LS 204.2

    Our publications should be printed in other languages, that foreign nations may be reached. [When these words were penned, in 1871, only a beginning had been made in the preparation and publication of denominational literature in the various languages of Europe and of other lands.] Much can be done through the medium of the press, but still more can be accomplished if the influence of the labors of the living preachers goes with our publications. Missionaries are needed to go to our nations to preach the truth in a guarded, careful manner. The cause of present truth can be greatly extended by personal effort.LS 204.3

    When the churches see young men possessing zeal to qualify themselves to extend their labors to cities, villages, and towns that have never been aroused to the truth, and missionaries volunteering to go to other nations to carry the truth to them, the churches will be encouraged and strengthened far more than to themselves receive the labors of inexperienced young men. As they see their ministers’ hearts all aglow with love and zeal for the truth and with a desire to save souls, the churches will arouse themselves. These generally have the gifts and power within themselves to bless and strengthen themselves, and to gather the sheep and lambs into the fold. They need to be thrown upon their own resources, that all the gifts that are lying dormant may thus be called into active service.LS 205.1

    The Lord has moved upon men of other tongues, and has brought them under the influence of the truth, that they might be qualified to labor in His cause. He has brought them within reach of the Office of publication, that its managers might avail themselves of their services, if they were awake to the wants of the cause. Publications are needed in other languages, to raise an interest and the spirit of inquiry among other nations.LS 205.2

    As the preaching of Noah warned, tested, and proved the inhabitants of the world before the flood of waters destroyed them from off the face of the earth, so the truth of God for these last days is doing a similar work of warning, testing, and proving the world. The publications which go forth from the Office bear the signet of the Eternal. They are being scattered all through the land, and are deciding the destiny of souls. Men are now greatly needed who can translate and prepare our publications in other languages, so that the message of warning may go to all nations and test them by the light of the truth, that men and women, as they see the light, may turn from transgression to obedience of the law of God.LS 205.3

    Every opportunity should be improved to extend the truth to other nations. This will be attended with considerable expense, but expense should in no case hinder the performance of this work. Means are of value only as they are used to advance the interest of the kingdom of God. The Lord has lent men means for this very purpose, to use in sending the truth to their fellow men.LS 206.1

    Now is the time to use means for God. Now is the time to be rich in good works, laying up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life. One soul saved in the kingdom of God is of more value than all earthly riches. We are answerable to God for the souls of those with whom we are brought in contact, and the closer our connections with our fellow men, the greater our responsibility. We are one great brotherhood, and the welfare of our fellow men should be our great interest. We have not one moment to lose. If we have been careless in this matter, it is high time we were now in earnest to redeem the time, lest the blood of souls be found on our garments. As children of God, none of us are excused from taking a part in the great work of Christ in the salvation of our fellow men.LS 206.2

    It will be a difficult work to overcome prejudice, and to convince the unbelieving that our efforts to help them are disinterested. But this should not hinder our labor. There is no precept in the word of God that tells us to do good to those only who appreciate and respond to our efforts, and to benefit those only who will thank us for it. God has sent us to work in His vineyard. It is our business to do all we can. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that.” Ecclesiastes 11:6.LS 207.1

    We have too little faith. We limit the Holy One of Israel. We should be grateful that God condescends to use any of us as His instruments. For every earnest prayer put up in faith for anything, answers will be returned. They may not come just as we have expected; but they will come—not perhaps as we have devised, but at the very time when we most need them. But, oh, how sinful is our unbelief! “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7.LS 207.2

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