Ellen G. White Writings

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East Michigan Banner

March 29, 1905

The Church and its Mission

No. 5

The question has been asked me: “Are you employed by the General Conference?” I am. “How many hours do you give?” Hours? God's servants keep no record of hours. We think not of counting our labor by hours. We must be ready in season and out of season to speak to this young man and that young woman, to write letters to those in peril and to hold interviews requiring the most earnest, anxious labor, praying for and with the erring and the tempted.

Those who write, as well as talk the truth, have double labor. The eight hour system finds no place in the program of the minister of God. He must watch his chance to minister; he must be ready to entertain visitors. He must keep up life and energy of character; for he cannot exert a pleasing, saving influence if he is languid. If he occupies responsible positions, he must be prepared to attend board and council meetings, spending hours of wearisome brain and nerve taxing labor, while others are asleep, in devising and planning with his co-laborers. Who among God's workers counts his hours of labor as do mechanics? Yet this kind of labor taxes the mind, and draws upon every fiber of the being in such a way as the common laborer cannot appreciate. “When do you find opportunity to throw off care and responsibility?” I am asked; and I answer, “At no period of time can I lay down the burden.”

I wish my brethren to take this as a representation of the truth, and no fiction. Those who have a due appreciation of service, are God's minute men. He cannot say I am my own; I will do what I please with my time. No one who has given his life to God to work as his minister, lives unto himself.

Will my brethren consider these things which the Lord has brought before my mind, in a most impressive manner? Will those who have never carried the burden of such work, and who suppose the chosen and faithful ministers of God have an easy time, bear in mind that the sentinels of God are on duty constantly? Their labor is not measured by hours.

Rights to be Respected

When their accounts are audited, if selfish men shall, with voice or stroke of pen, limit the worker in his wages, they discourage and depress him. Every minister must have a salvage to work upon, that he may have something with which to lead out in good enterprises, pushing the work with zeal. He tells us, “thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” This is a figure of those who work under the eye of God to advance his cause in lifting the minds of men from the contemplation of earthly things to heaven. These God loves, and he would have men respect their rights.

Duty Clear

If the presidents and other laborers in our Conferences impress upon the minds of the people the character of the crime of robbing God, and if they have a true spirit of devotion and a burden of the work, God will make their labors a blessing to the people, and fruit will be seen as the result of their efforts.

Terrible Failure

Ministers have failed greatly in their duty to so labor with the churches. There is an important work to be done aside from preaching. Had this work been done as God designed it should be, there would have been many more laborers in the field than now are. And had the ministers done their duty in educating every member, whether rich or poor, to give as God has prospered him, there would be a full treasury from which to pay the honest debts to the workers; and this would greatly advance missionary work in all their borders. God has shown us that many souls are in danger of eternal ruin, through selfishness and worldliness; and the watchmen are guilty, for they have neglected their duty. This is a state of things Satan exults to see.

The light which the Lord has given me on this subject is that the means in the treasury for the support of the ministers in the different fields is not to be used for any other purpose. If an honest tithe were paid, and the money coming into the treasury was carefully guarded the ministers would receive a just wage.

Mrs. E. G. White.

(To be Continued.)

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