Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

March 10, 1904

Laborers Together With God

Mrs. E. G. White

To My Ministering Brethren,

I entreat you to rise to your high calling in Christ. The prayer of Moses, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” is recorded for our benefit. We need to present ourselves before the Lord every day, praying with earnest soul-hunger, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.”

What was God's answer to Moses?—“I will make all my goodness pass before thee.... And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

It is the glory of God to be merciful, full of forbearance, kindness, goodness, and truth. But the justice shown in punishing the sinner is as verily the glory of the Lord as is the manifestation of his mercy.

“Thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” The Lord God of Israel is jealous for his honor. How, then, I inquire, does he regard the inhabitants of this world, who live in his house, and from his liberal treasury are provided with food and clothing, but who never so much as say “Thank you” to him? They are unmindful of his goodness. They are like the inhabitants of the antediluvian world, who were destroyed because they worked continually in opposition to their Creator.

Of the antediluvians we read: “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.... And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”

Christ said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.”

God warned the inhabitants of the old world of what he purposed to do in cleansing the earth of its impurity. But they laughed to scorn what they regarded as a superstitious prediction. They mocked at Noah's warning of a coming flood.

When Christ was upon the earth, he gave warning of what was coming upon Jerusalem because the people had rejected truth, despising the messages that God had sent. But his warning was unheeded.

The Lord has sent us by his ambassadors messages of warning, declaring that the end of all things is at hand. Some will listen to these warnings, but by the vast majority they will be disregarded.

When Lot warned the members of his family of the destruction of Sodom, they would not heed his words, but looked upon him as a fanatical enthusiast. The destruction that came found them unprepared.

Thus will it be when Christ comes. Farmers, merchants, lawyers, tradesmen, will be wholly engrossed in business, and upon them the day of the Lord will come as a snare.

“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.”

To Every Man His Work

To every man there is given a work. This point I wish to impress on all. Each child of God has a work to do for him. But while some are engaged in giving the last message of mercy to our world, others are living in careless indifference to God's requirements.

It is our duty to watch and pray and work. Our lives are not to be spent in idle expectation. Vigilant waiting and earnest watching are to be combined with faithful work, in expectation of the solemn events so soon to take place. The end is near. The commission given by Christ to his disciples is to be fulfilled. To all people the gospel is to be preached.

Upon every one who knows the truth for this time rests the responsibility of making it known to others. The servants of Christ are in a large measure responsible for the well-being and the salvation of the world. They are to be co-laborers with God in the work of winning souls to Christ.

“We Preach not Ourselves, but Christ”

The fourth chapter of Second Corinthians contains a lesson that should be carefully studied by all. “We preach not ourselves,” Paul says, “but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Those who minister in word and deed are to exalt Christ. If their hearts are filled with the love of the Saviour, their lives will reveal that love. Through them it will speak in its tenderness. But self too often interposes between the soul and God. It is made so prominent that perishing souls can not see Jesus.

When the lips of a speaker move under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the words of God find utterance in warnings, in reproofs, in appeals. This power is not of the speaker. It is a power given him by God, that he may reach those who are dead in trespasses and sins, and arouse them to see the need of receiving power from above. God works through his faithful servants, who do not shun to declare the whole truth in the power of the Spirit. Their work bears his indorsement.

God's messengers are to hold aloft the standard of truth until the hand is palsied in death. When they sleep in death, the places that once knew them know them no more. The churches in which they preached, the places they visited to hold forth the word of life, still remain. The mountains, the hills, the things seen by mortal vision, are still there. All these things must at last pass away. The time is coming when the earth shall reel to and fro, and shall be removed like a cottage. But the thoughts, the purposes, the acts of God's workers, although now unseen, will appear at the great day of final retribution and reward. Things now forgotten will then appear as witnesses, either to approve or to condemn.

Love, courtesy, self-sacrifice,—these are never lost. When God's chosen ones are changed from mortality to immortality, their words and deeds of goodness will be made manifest, and will be preserved through the eternal ages. No act of unselfish service, however small or simple, is ever lost. Through the merits of Christ's imputed righteousness, the fragrance of such words and deeds is forever preserved.

Trusting in Christ

In order to fight successfully the battle against sin, you must keep close to Jesus. Do not talk unbelief; you have no excuse for doing this. Christ has made a complete sacrifice for you, that you might stand before God complete in him. God is not pleased with our lack of faith. Unbelief always separates the soul from Christ.

It is not praiseworthy to talk of our weakness and discouragement. Let each one say, “I am grieved that I yield to temptation, that my prayers are so feeble, my faith so weak. I have no excuse to plead for being dwarfed in my religious life. But I am seeking to obtain completeness of character in Christ. I have sinned, and yet I love Jesus. I have fallen many times, and yet he has reached out his hand to save me. I have told him all about my mistakes. I have confessed with shame and sorrow that I have dishonored him. I have looked to the cross, and have said, All this he suffered for me. The Holy Spirit has shown me my ingratitude, my sin, in putting Christ to open shame. He who knows no sin has forgiven me. He calls me to a higher, nobler life, and I press on to the things that are before.”

Christ Our Efficiency

“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

Man is here cautioned against boasting. Christ is his efficiency. God uses human beings as his instrumentalities, to do his work. Our capabilities and talents are all to be held in trust. They do not originate with us. They come from God, and are to be consecrated to his service. To the one who does this the Lord will give higher abilities.

The humility that bears fruit, filling the soul with a sense of the love of God, will speak for the one who has cherished it, in the great day when men will be rewarded according as their works have been. Happy will be the one of whom it can then be said, “The Spirit never stirred this man's soul in vain. He went forward and upward from strength to strength. Self was not woven into his life. Each message of correction and counsel he received as a blessing from God. Thus the way was prepared for him to receive still greater blessings, because God did not speak to him in vain. Each step upward on the ladder of progress prepared him to climb still higher. From the top of the ladder the bright beams of God's glory shone upon him. He did not think of resting, but sought constantly to attain to the wisdom and righteousness of Christ. Ever he pressed toward the mark of the prize of his high calling in Christ.”

This experience every one who is saved must have. In the day of judgment the course of the man who has retained the frailty and imperfection of humanity will not be vindicated. For him there will be no place in heaven; he could not enjoy the perfection of the saints in light. He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that he can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.

Called to Service

Now, just now, is our time of probation, wherein we are to prepare for heaven. Christ gave his life that we might have this probation. But so long as time shall last, Satan will strive for the mastery over us. He works with power to lead men to become absorbed in money-getting. He invents many kinds of amusement, so that their minds may be engrossed with worldly pleasure. He would have them forget all about the inward adorning,—the adorning of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. He is determined that every moment shall be filled with efforts to carry out ambitious projects or to amuse and gratify self. He is determined that men shall find no time to study the Word of God, no time to realize that they have been bought with a price, even the blood of the Son of God.

Satan uses his influence to drown the voice of God speaking to the soul; and the world acts as if under his control. Men have chosen him as their leader. They stand under his banner. They will not come to Christ that they might have life. Infatuated with schemes for pleasure and amusement, they are striving for that which will perish with the using.

At this time the message of mercy and warning is to go forth to awaken the world from its sleep of death. A work is to be done today that will live through the eternal ages. As watchmen entrusted with a special message, we are to keep before the people the nearness of the end. “Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

The fast-fulfilling signs of the time declare that the great day of the Lord is right upon us. In that day shall it be said of any of us, “This man was called by God, but he would not hear, he would not give heed. Again and again the Spirit moved upon his heart, but he said, ‘Go thy way for this time; and when I have a more convenient season, I will call for thee.’ This man saw the Saviour's sacrifice in a beautiful light; but some matter of minor importance came in, and his heart was captivated. When the Spirit spoke again, the call was not respected. Every gracious, heavenly influence was dismissed”?

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