Ellen G. White Writings

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The Home Missionary

July 1, 1891

The Blessed of the Father

“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me ... Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

The blessed of the Father are those who have been ministering to Christ in the person of his afflicted ones, those who have been partakers with the Saviour in his work for the uplifting and blessing of fallen and suffering humanity. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” He says,“I am among you as he that serveth.” And pointing to his own example, he declares to his followers, “Whosoever would become great among you, shall be your minister; and whosoever would be first among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 20:26, 27 (Revised Version).

True worship consists in working together with Christ. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” The love of Christ dwelling in the heart, will be manifested in earnest effort to accomplish the work which Jesus came to do. Kind words, deeds of benevolence, of tender care for the needy and the afflicted,—this is the fruit that grows naturally upon the good tree.

Such was the fruit manifest in the life of that righteous man of whom God himself declared, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man.” Job says, “I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.”

The Saviour invites us to become patient toilers in a field which calls for self-denying labor; but it is a glorious work, and one that God smiles upon. When one's heart sympathizes with others burdened with grief and discouragement; when his hand clothes the naked, and the stranger is made welcome to a seat at his fireside and at his board, then heaven comes very near. Brethren and sisters, when you open your doors to Christ's needy and suffering ones, you welcome with them unseen angels, who minister to these children of want and sorrow. You are inviting the companionship of heavenly beings. They bring with them a heavenly atmosphere of joy and peace. They come with praises upon their lips, and an answering strain is heard in heaven. Every deed of mercy and benevolence makes music there. The Father from his throne beholds and numbers the unselfish laborers among his most precious treasures. “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.”

Whoever succors the poor, or sympathizes with the afflicted and oppressed, or befriends the orphan, is brought into closer relationship with the pitying Saviour. He who is the Source of all blessing, has granted to men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature, and in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow-men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, which it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Redeemer. He who refuses to become a laborer together with God, the man who for the sake of selfish indulgence ignores the wants of his fellow-men, is withholding from himself the richest blessings that God could give him. He shows that he has no connection with Jesus; for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.”

Jesus identifies himself with his suffering people. I was hungry and thirsty; I was a stranger; I was naked; I was sick; I was in prison. While you were enjoying the food from your bountifully spread tables, I was famishing with hunger in the hovel or street not far from you. When you closed your doors against me while your well-furnished rooms were unoccupied, I had not where to lay my head. While your wardrobes were filled with changeable suits of apparel, upon which means had been squandered that you might have given to the needy, I was destitute of comfortable raiment. When you were enjoying health, I was sick. Misfortune cast me into prison and bound me with fetters, bowing down my spirit depriving me of freedom and hope, while you roamed at liberty.

What a oneness Jesus here represents as existing between himself and his suffering disciples! He makes their case his own. He represents himself as being, in their person, the very sufferer. Mark this, selfish Christian; every neglect on your part to care for the needy and to sympathize with those in distress, is a neglect of Jesus in the person of his saints. Our heavenly Father has blessings disguised in our pathway. Angels are waiting to see if we embrace opportunities within our reach of doing good,—waiting to see if we will bless others, that they in their turn may bless us. The Lord himself has made us to differ, some poor, some rich, some afflicted, that all may have an opportunity of developing character. The poor are purposely permitted to be thus by God, that we may be tested and proved, and develop what is in our hearts.

The Father has manifested his love in giving to the world his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish, but have eternal life. In view of this infinite sacrifice to bless men, to make them happy, what self-denial and self-sacrifice are we willing to make as laborers together with God in the great plan of redemption? If the Lord bows his ear to hear your cry, to relieve you in trial, to comfort you in bereavement, to bind up your wounds, to sustain you in all your heart-trying tribulations, you know it is because he loves you. With such an example before you, how can you, as Christians, be heartless, selfish, unsympathetic? We have the pledge that while sin and want and misery shall exist, God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, will with him freely give us all things,—all things essential to his glory and our good. Then let us examine ourselves closely in the light of the revealed word of God, to see whether we are in the love of God, whether we are working for others as Christ has worked for us.

All who have put on Christ, and are workers together with God, are like faithful minute men, ever ready to say, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” They do not call anything they possess their own, whether it be wealth, position, influence, talent, or learning; but they regard themselves as stewards of the grace of God, and servants of the church for Christ's sake. Their hearts are bound up with the heart of Christ. They are not cold and unimpressible, but their ears are quick to hear every cry from the fatherless, the widow, and those in need; and they never hear in vain. Be they laymen or ministers, they are messengers of God's mercy.

In the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah are brought to view those who in the last days shall stand as reformers, who shall turn away their foot from the Sabbath, and repair the breach in the law of God. To them the Lord declares, “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

Those who stand as reformers, bearing the banner of the third angel's message, are the ones who are to draw out the soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul. They are to do the work of Christ with hearts full of compassion for the widow and the orphan. But how strangely has this work been neglected! Other denominations have provided homes for the homeless; why were we not, years ago, planning to care for these needy ones whom Christ has committed to us, and whom he declares to be representatives of himself? Why have our people been so slow to hear the earnest appeals for help? The grief and affliction of the widow and orphan should be our grief. Why have not the hearts of those who should be to them messengers of mercy, been stirred to relieve distress, to impart sympathy and consolation and counsel to those who hunger for it? Those who close their ears to the cries of the needy, will one day call, and the Lord will be deaf to their pleadings. But to those who exercise the tenderness and love of Jesus toward the poor and unfortunate, to those who are not eaten up with selfishness, whose souls are drawn out in pity and grief for the woes of others, the promise is given, “Thou shalt call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am [What will you have? What shall I do for you?].” The Lord has help all ready for those whose compassion is exercised toward the oppressed and the sorrowing. Our God is gracious, full of compassion and tender pity. Let us be like him. Those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb will, through the spirit given them by God, do all in their power to comfort the broken-hearted and the tempted, to relieve the oppressed, and to accomplish the work Christ has left them to do.

There has been coming in among Seventh-day Adventists a disposition to be close and exacting with the poor, to be indifferent to their distress, to turn away impatiently from their appeals, when the Lord has made it our duty to be pitiful, kind, and courteous to the needy and the suffering.

The true worshipers of God will work the works of Christ. They will be liberal to the needy; they will not turn the poor from his right, nor frame an excuse to avoid helping those who need help; they will love their neighbors as themselves, not hiding themselves from their own flesh, but considering the condition of the poor, the fatherless, and the widow; they will not appropriate to themselves any portion of the just earnings of those who may be under their control. “Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates: at his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the Lord, and it be sin unto thee.” “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.”

“And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.”

Job says, “If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; what then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? ... If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail; or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; ... if I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering; if his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sleep; if I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate: then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone. For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.” If this same fear, and this love of righteousness were in our churches and in all our institutions, what a transformation would take place! “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he repay him again.” “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.”

Let no one say, “How doth God know? and is there understanding with the Most High?” for the Lord knows even the secret thoughts of the heart. Those who neglect the poor and needy, transgress the commandments of God. “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes cease to do evil; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.”

The heart of the Christian is ever filled with gratitude to God, for he realizes that he is under immeasurable obligations to his Creator, that all his powers are under tribute; his works will testify of his loyalty to him who has done everything for him. A sincere Christian is not unappreciative of the mercies and blessings daily given him; and he longs to work in blessing others. He is constantly seeking for ways to be of service to the Master, to make his Saviour's name a praise in all the earth.

All who will work as Christ worked, will see of the salvation of God, and will diffuse heavenly light and glory. At the foot of the cross they learn that piety which is ever seeking to bless humanity, to shed light and gladness and hope upon the hearts of all who are perplexed and sorrowful, to comfort the cast down, to relieve the oppressed, to sweeten the bitter waters of affliction which many are compelled to drink. In this way our words and works are representing Jesus, and through him the Father, to the world, thus increasing the knowledge of God and of his Son in the earth.

Mrs. E. G. White

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