By Mrs. E. G. White
Jesus said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Those who follow Jesus will be laborers together with God. They will not walk in darkness, but will find the true path where Jesus, the Light of the world, leads the way; and as they bend their steps Zionward, moving on in faith, they will attain unto a bright experience in the things of God. The mission of Christ, so dimly understood, so faintly comprehended, that called him from the throne of God to the mystery of the altar of the cross of Calvary, will more and more unfold to the mind, and it will be seen that in the sacrifice of Christ are found the spring and principle of every other mission of love. It is the love of Christ which has been the incentive of every true missionary worker in cities, in towns, in the highways and the by-ways of the world.
The church of Christ has been organized on earth for missionary purposes, and it is of the highest importance that every individual member of the church should be a sincere laborer together with God, filled with the Spirit, having the mind of Christ, perfected in sympathy with Christ, and therefore bending every energy according to his intrusted ability to the saving of souls. Christ requires that every one who would be called by his name should make his work the first and highest consideration, and disinterestedly co-operate with heavenly intelligences in saving the perishing for whom Christ has died.
To misapply means or influence or any intrusted capital of mind or body, is to rob God and to rob the world; for it is turning the energies into another channel than that in which God designed they should move for the salvation of the world. When Christ was here upon earth, he sent out his disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God throughout Judea, and in this example, he clearly revealed that it is the duty of his people throughout all time to impart to others the knowledge they have of the way, the life, and the truth. In all his labors Jesus sought to train his church for missionary work, and as their numbers increased, their mission would extend, until eventually the gospel message would belt the world through their ministrations.
Jesus taught his followers that they were debtors both to the Jews and the Greeks, to the wise and the unwise, and gave them to understand that race distinction, caste, and lines of division made by man, were not approved of Heaven, and were to have no influence in the work of disseminating the gospel. The disciples of Christ were not to make distinctions between their neighbors and their enemies, but they were to regard every man as a neighbor who needed help, and they were to look upon the world as their field of labor, seeking to save the lost. Jesus has given to every man his work, taking him from the narrow circle which his selfishness has prescribed, annihilating territorial lines, and all artificial distinctions of society; he marks off no limited boundary for missionary zeal, but bids his followers extend their labors to the uttermost parts of the earth. He says to them, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal; that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.” The field of labor presents one vast community of human beings who are in the darkness of error, who are filled with longing, who are praying to One they know not. They need to hear the voice of those who are laborers together with God, saying to them, as Paul said to the Athenians, “Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”
The members of the church of Christ are to be faithful workers in the great harvest-field. They are to be diligently working and earnestly praying, making progress, and diffusing light amid the moral darkness of the world; for are not the angels of heaven imparting to them divine inspiration? They are never to think of, and much less to speak of, failure in their work. They are not to fail nor to be discouraged. They are to be filled with hope, knowing that they do not rely upon human ability or upon finite resources, but upon the promised divine aid, the ministry of heavenly agencies who are pledged to open the way before them. The promise is given, “Thy righteousness shall go before thee.” We of ourselves have no righteousness. We have only that righteousness which is imparted from Christ, the fountain of righteousness. He is “the Lord our righteousness.” Angels of God will break the way before us, preparing hearts for the gospel message, and the promised power will accompany the laborer, and “the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.”
We are all under obligation to deny self daily for Christ's sake. Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me;” “whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” As we call upon God at every step, pleading for divine wisdom as we advance, seeking for light and grace in order that under all and in every circumstance we shall do unto others as we would that they should do unto us were we in their place, we shall feel the necessity of fulfilling the broad and deep requirements of the holy law of God. Thus shall we lose sight of self, and looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we shall lay upon the foundation deeds of mercy, benevolence, compassion, and love, which are compared to gold, silver, and precious stones, which the fires of the last days cannot consume. The Lord Jesus is our efficiency in all things; his Spirit is to be our inspiration; and as we place ourselves in his hands to be channels of light, our means of doing good will never be exhausted; for the resources of the power of Jesus Christ are to be at our command. We may draw upon his fullness, and receive of that grace which has no limit. The Captain of our salvation at every step would teach us that almighty power is at the demand of living faith. He says, “Without me ye can do nothing;” but again declares that “greater works than these shall ye do; because I go unto my Father.”
We are to pray without ceasing. In supplicating the throne of grace in the name of Christ, the promise is sure, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” When you make God your trust, when you call upon him with your whole heart, he will be found of you. “Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.”
Souls are to be gathered as sheaves to Jesus Christ; but where are the reapers? Christ has commanded, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. Not only is there a need of reapers, but of other agencies that will work in various lines according to their ability. Every kind of labor is to be devised and set in operation. Every follower of Christ is to do something in the work, and not to do what you can, is to manifest indifference to the claims of Christ. If you refuse to be a faithful steward working under the Master, then you are following the directions of another leader, and ranging yourself with those who are warring against God. Christ said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” If we are not active in the service of Christ, we are ranking with those who are in positive hostility against him; for we are in the position of stumbling-blocks. Every means of influence that God has given you should be employed to the utmost.
Listen to the voice of Jesus as it comes sounding down along the lines to our time, addressing the professed Christian who stands idle in the market-place: “Why stand ye here all the day idle? ... Go ye also into the vineyard.” Work while it is day; for the night cometh in which no man can work. The Lord has given to every man talents according to his several ability; but he does not expect the man with the one talent to do the work of the man with the five talents. Jesus designs that each one of us shall train our powers, feeling that they are the property of Christ, and that life itself, as the purchase and gift of Christ, is of great value. Character must be held as sacred because it is Christ's purchased possession, and every power is to be kept in subordination to him. The entire influence of the disciple of Christ, from the moment he takes his position under the blood-stained banner of Immanuel, is to be exerted for Christ. “Ye are laborers together with God.” No one is at liberty to say, “This will I do, and no more,” and set limits to his endeavors. It is enough for him to know that he is Christ's servant, and that the ransom money has been paid for his soul, and that every jot and tittle of his power and wisdom is the gift of God, and not an inheritance to be used to please and glorify himself, but to be employed as God shall see fit,—to be laid under contribution to God. You are to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”