Ellen G. White Writings

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Ms 117a, 1901

Ms 117a, 1901

Fragments/Respect for Aged Workers

NP

November 14, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in RY 32-33; 6BC 1112; 7BC 918; Ev 173.

Respect for Aged Workers.

The Word of God is to be obeyed. Believers are to be united in Christian love and fellowship. All egotism and Pharisaism is to be put away. There is to be no measurement of one another. Let us remember the words, “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] The spiritual prosperity of each church member depends on his unselfish love for others.

Those who have grown old and gray in the service of God are not to be pushed aside by less experienced workers, who know very little about the labor and self-sacrifice of these pioneers. These faithful workers have borne test and trial, and because they have lost some of their vigor the Lord does not lay them aside. They have made mistakes, but they have learned wisdom from their failures. And since they have seen their errors and have learned to avoid them, are they not competent to give wise counsel?

May the Lord bless and sustain the old and tried laborers. Those who have such laborers among them are highly favored. Those who are commissioned by the Lord to do a large and important work, a work that will leave an impress for good or for ill on the world, according to the way in which it is done, need to seek counsel from those who have been instructed by the Lord.

Tempted by Satan.

Christ’s public ministry was about to begin. He was in the wilderness, enduring temptation in our behalf, when the tempter came to Him, and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and all the glory of them, said, “If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” All that heart could wish was offered to Jesus, if He would but bow before the tempter. But the Saviour knew what was embraced in the temptation, and He answered, “Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Luke 4:7, 8.]

The St. Helena Sanitarium.

Those who are connected with the Sanitarium here need to cherish the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God. In the past there has been a failure to serve God acceptably. For years a deficiency has existed. The nurses and helpers have not been given that education which qualifies them to be successful medical missionaries. The defective training they have received is an offence to God, and has caused a loss that can never be repaired. The nurses have not been disciplined; they have not been trained.

But in the changes that must be made in the institution, no one is to utter speeches that will be as the cut of a whip. Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.” [John 10:27.]

Words to Students.

I speak to the students in our schools. Make the most of your time and opportunities. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. Then those who are connected with you will see that the vital truths of God’s Word are exerting an influence on your mind and heart. If the grace of Christ is cherished in the heart, it will surely reveal itself.

No one liveth to himself. Do not selfishly hoard the knowledge you receive. Do not put your light under a bushel. Improve your talents by using them in the service of the Master. Exercise your powers for the good of others. Do not work for thanks, but for Him who has redeemed you.

Keep the mind clear. If you are temperate in all things, the Lord will reward you by giving you a retentive memory. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt.

You can and should make advancement in singing. Learn to sing without an instrument. When you are tempted, sing the songs of Sion. This is a weapon you can always use against discouragement.

Cultivate the voice by careful exercise. Learn how to pronounce your words clearly and distinctly.

In the place of playing ball for exercise, do something that you are sure will be helpful. Learn how to stand and walk correctly. Take deep, full inhalations. Use the abdominal muscles in throwing out the voice. If you expect to be a minister, go out into the groves and speak as if standing before a congregation.

The teachers in our schools should remember the responsibility they are under to help the church. Their actions should strengthen the church. They should be missionaries in every sense of the word. God has given them opportunities to show that they are humble, sincere Christians.

A Message for God’s People.

The Lord has signally blessed the Conference that has just closed. A very plain testimony has been borne. The Lord has sent a message to His people. Will they take heed to it? Will they cleanse themselves from all iniquity?

The God of Israel requires His people to put away all the practices that have been so grievous in His sight. If they will separate from all that has dishonored God, if they will heed His injunction to do justice and judgment, He will greatly bless them.

The Value of Industry.

Time is a talent. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] By the help of God you can become much more useful than you now are. You can expand. You can grow in knowledge and in understanding as you work with your hands and study with your mind, exercising proportionately the mental and physical powers. The sanctifying power of the truth will give you keen discernment and discrimination. If you keep Jesus ever before you, you will be refined and ennobled. Your affections will be purified and uplifted as you copy the Saviour’s life of industry. You will grow in strength of thought and purpose.

You must receive light before you can impart light. God desires you to be good and do good, increasing the happiness of those around you. You are to adorn the doctrines of Christ our Saviour by a well-ordered life and a godly conversation.

Industry is essential to godliness. Those who sink into slothfulness cannot possibly exert the influence God desires them to exert. The slothfulness that prevents one from putting to the stretch every spiritual muscle and sinew means death to spirituality unless fought against and overcome. “Watch unto prayer” is the oft-repeated admonition of Christ. [1 Peter 4:7.] “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] God works, but the human agent has a part to act.

God has pledged Himself to supply all the necessities of those who will co-operate with Him. He is ready and willing to renew spiritual and physical vigor.

Regarding Buildings Erected by Private Persons for the Work of the Cause.

You inquire in regard to those who by self-sacrifice have erected buildings for the advancement of the cause of God. You ask whether they should be requested to turn these buildings over to the control of the Conference. Yes; if the buildings have been erected by the Conference. If erected without the assistance of the Conference, let those who erected them have the privilege of keeping the deeds in their own name, unless they wish to make them over to the Conference.

The Recounting of Past Experiences by Aged Workers.

I know not how long my life may be spared or my voice heard among you. I have words to speak to you. As those who have spent their life in the service of God draw near to the close of their earthly history, they will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to recount the experience they have had in connection with His work. This is according to the will of the Lord. The record of His wonderful dealings with His people, of the manifold tokens of His great goodness in delivering them from trial, should be repeated to those newly come to the faith, who should be told also of the severe trials brought on the servants of God by the apostasy of some once united with them in labor, and of the working of the Holy Spirit to make of none effect the falsehoods told against those who were holding the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end.

Disregard of God’s Law.

God created the world as a home for His human family. Without exception men and women are His tenants.

Had religious teachers reverenced and taught and practiced the law of God, the condition of the world today would have been very different from what it is. But false teachers have hated the precepts of Jehovah, because their practice has not been in harmony with them.

Human laws are exalted; God’s law is trampled under foot.

Instruction to Workers.

Let no man think that because a fellow worker does not follow his ideas and plans, he cannot be doing right. When a man thinks this, he exerts an influence which hinders God by hindering the one through whom He is working. It is God’s purpose that the world shall receive the truth through the spoken and written Word. His servants are to use their varied gifts in the gospel ministry, and they are to be assisted by the printed page. This is the plan which the Lord has ordained. As it is carried out in accordance with His direction, the truth will go forth as a lamp that burneth.

Through God’s appointed agencies, His blessing is to come to the world. Those who will respect His Word and follow His plan will see of His salvation.

Gospel ministers are to keep their sacred office free from all things secular or political, employing all their time and talents in lines of Christian effort.

In the rebuke given to the slothful servant, all selfishness is rebuked. The God of heaven has made terms with His servants. He requires from them vigilant effort. The use we make of the gifts entrusted to us will determine our future destiny.

Each one is to do his part with earnest determination, godly zeal, and unswerving fidelity.

Paul’s Work at Lystra.

There sat a cripple at Lystra who had never walked. “The same heard Paul preach; who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein; who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless, he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.” [Acts 14:9-18.]

But certain Jews came from Antioch, who with crafty arguments persuaded the people that Paul and Barnabas were deceivers. Fickle and easily led, the idolators readily joined the Jews in their persecution of the disciples. Stoning Paul, they drew him out of the city, and left him for dead.

But the Lord preserved the life of His servant; for his work was not done. While the disciples stood round his body, supposing him to be dead, he rose from the ground, and great joy filled the hearts of his brethren as he spoke words of courage to them, and offered thanksgiving to God.

As Paul labored to proclaim the truths of the gospel, so God’s servants today are to labor. And church members should follow the laborers with their fervent prayers, which are as sharp sickles in the harvest field.

All peoples, nations, and tongues are to hear the warning, and then shall the end come.

The cause of God at home and abroad is one. He who enters God’s service with heart and soul and mind and strength in the great work will receive an education from the greatest of all teachers.

Timothy.

Timothy’s mother and grandmother were united in their efforts to train him for God. What was his lesson book? The Bible. Paul, his father in the gospel, declares, “From a child thou hast known the holy scriptures.” [2 Timothy 3:15.] The faith of the mother and grandmother in the oracles of God was a constant illustration to Timothy of the blessing of doing God’s will.

When Timothy was little more than a boy, Paul took him with him as his companion in labor. Those who had taught Timothy in his childhood were rewarded by seeing the son of their care linked in close fellowship with the great apostle.

The Transfiguration.

Christ chose Peter and James and John to be with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration. These disciples were to have the privilege of seeing the Saviour’s humanity hidden for a time by His divinity. They were overpowered by the glorious manifestation. They knew not where they were. Heaven seemed to them to be on earth. They saw the heavenly visitants talking with Christ and heard their words in regard to His suffering and death at Jerusalem. They saw the wonderful light that surrounded their beloved Master, and writing of it afterward they said, “His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as snow.” [Matthew 17:2.]

“Lord, it is good for us to be here,” Peter said; “if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, a cloud overshadowed them, and, behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man save Jesus only.” [Verses 4-8.]

Danger of Speculation.

I have been requested to send out a warning to our churches, cautioning them against being deceived by men claiming to be Seventh-day Adventists, who ask them to invest money in various speculations. Beware of all such speculators. They will tell you of the great gain you will receive by investing money in their schemes, but do not allow yourselves to be deceived.

Ten years ago a professed Seventh-day Adventist engaged in the land boom, buying up city lots, and selling them at a price greatly beyond their value. By his representations he deceived several of our brethren. He had been told on a certain occasion that he was no financier, that he was extravagant in the use of means. After he came to California, he wrote to me saying, “When I came here, I was in debt. Now I am worth seventeen thousand dollars. How is that for financial success?”

By his representations some were induced to purchase stock in a certain mine. But they lost all the money they invested. The stock was worthless. He from whom they purchased took their money and has never refunded it. Afterward he became poor. I hear that he is now engaged in a speculation in oil, and that he has already induced our people to invest several hundred dollars. I should feel very sad to see Seventh-day Adventists deluded by his representations.

The Lord’s Reward.

The Lord always rewards painstaking effort. He chooses His servants from all ranks of life. Amos, a herdsman of Tekoa, was chosen as a prophet of Israel.

Directions for Work.

After ordaining the disciples, Christ said to them, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16.]

The Lord’s methods of work are to be followed. Before the Lord sends His judgments upon men, He sends them a warning. He desires them to repent, that it may not be necessary for Him to execute His purpose against them.

Our work is not to make a raid on the Government, but to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. The fewer attacks we make on authorities and powers, the more work will we do for God. He alone can make His truth triumphant. Victories are gained only through the Holy Spirit’s power. When we allow ourselves to be controlled by this Spirit, we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Our work is a most solemn one. We are in danger of presenting to those ignorant of our faith ideas that are not calculated to draw them to the truth. Thus the advancement of the truth is hindered.

While the truth must be defended, this work is to be done in the spirit of Jesus. If God’s people work without peace and love, they work at a great loss, an irretrievable loss. Souls are driven from Christ even after they have been connected with His work.

We are not to pass judgment on those who have not had the opportunities and privileges we have had. Some of these will go into heaven before those who have had great light, but have not lived up to the light.

If we wish to convince unbelievers that we have the truth that sanctifies the soul and transforms the character, we must not vehemently charge them with their errors. Thus we force them to the conclusion that the truth does not make us kind and courteous, but coarse and rough.

Some, easily excited, are always ready to take up the weapons of warfare. In times of trial they will show that they have not founded their faith on the solid rock.

“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.]

Let Seventh-day Adventists do nothing that will mark them as lawless and disobedient. Let them keep all inconsistency out of their lives. Our work is to proclaim the truth, leaving the issues with the Lord.

Do all in your power to reflect the light, but do not speak words that will irritate or provoke.

“Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.” [Psalm 60:4.]

Restoring the Weak.

Let the men who have strength of influence remember their work. “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” [Romans 15:1.] “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” [Galatians 6:1.]

The restoring is to be done, not in a proud, officious, masterly manner, but in the spirit of meekness. Do not cast your brother aside, saying, He has disappointed me, and I shall not try to help him. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” [Verse 2.]

The Coming Trial.

Satan is presenting worldly attractions. The churches are teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. Ministers are crying, “There is no law,” failing to see that if there is no law there is no transgression.

It is time for us to show that we have a message from the Lord—a message of no human invention. Workers who will present the truth in its simplicity are greatly needed. The last message of warning is to be given to the world. As God’s people bring the truths of His message into the daily life, practical godliness, purity, and holiness will be seen.

Trouble is coming on us as a people. In view of the common peril, let there be no more strife among us. True believers will not say, I am of Paul, or, I am of Apollos. All will have one testimony to bear, “I cleave to Christ as my personal Saviour.” When the storm of persecution comes, the true sheep, knowing the shepherd’s voice, will gather to Him.

We can never know our weakness or our strength until we have been tested by the furnace of trial. As trials thicken around us, those who have had great light, but have not improved it, will go out from us. Giving heed to seducing spirits, they will depart from the faith.

We must gain a deeper religious experience, else we shall certainly be weighed in the balances and found wanting.

We are not to try to pierce the veil which hides the future from our view. God is standing at the helm. We are to acknowledge His guidance. He uses methods suitable for the maintenance and upbuilding of His kingdom.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense, I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” [Psalm 62:5-8.]

The Need of Humility.

If man is humble and contrite, the Lord will teach him and will use him as His instrument. But God will not go before the man who is self-exalted, who refuses to unite with his brethren.

“When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel, but when he offended in Baal, he died. ... According to their pasture, so were they filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.” [Hosea 13:1, 6.]

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