Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

June 24, 1884

Consecration and Diligence in Christian Workers

[Remarks addressed to the ministers assembled in General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in their morning meeting held November 18, 1883.]

By Mrs. E. G. White

Text: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Psalm 51:10-13.

This is one of the most earnest and contrite prayers on record, and the Lord's response is. “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”

“Create in me a clean heart.” This is beginning right, at the very foundation of Christian character; for out of the heart are the issues of life. If all, ministers and people, would see to it that their hearts are right with God, we should see much larger results from the labor put forth. The more important and responsible your work, the greater the necessity that you have clean hearts. The needed grace is provided, and the power of the Holy Spirit will work with every effort you make in this direction. If every child of God would seek him earnestly and perseveringly, there would be a greater growth in grace. Dissensions would cease; believers would be of one heart and one mind; and purity and love would prevail in the church. By beholding we become changed. The more you contemplate the character of Christ, the more you will become conformed to his image. Come to Jesus just as you are, and he will receive you, and put a new song in your mouth, even praise to God.

“Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Repentance as well as forgiveness is the gift of God through Christ. It is through the influence of the Holy Spirit that we are convinced of sin, and feel our need of pardon. None but the contrite are forgiven; but it is the grace of the Lord that makes the heart penitent. He is acquainted with all our weaknesses and infirmities, and he will help us. He will hear the prayer of faith; but the sincerity of prayer can be proved only by our efforts to bring ourselves into harmony with the great moral standard which will test every man's character. We need to open our hearts to the influence of the Spirit, and to experience its transforming power. The reason that you do not receive more of the saving help of God is because the channel of communication between Heaven and your own souls is clogged by worldliness, love of display, and desire for supremacy. While some are conforming more and more to the world's customs and maxims, we should be molding our lives after the divine model. And our covenant-keeping God will restore unto us the joys of his salvation, and uphold us by his free Spirit.

“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” The nearer we live to God, the more we shall be able to accomplish for our fellow-men; for the Lord will work with our efforts. Your hearts are too cold and unimpressible; they should be all aglow with the love of Jesus. While hungering and thirsting for salvation yourselves, you will have a longing desire to aid in saving precious souls; and your humble, pathetic appeals to those out of Christ will move hearts. How can you associate with the young, and yet have so little desire for their salvation? Let them see that you care for their souls. As far as possible break down every barrier that keeps them from Christ. Labor for them in the desk, and at their homes. Pray with and for them. Point them to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, and urge them to come and be healed.

Let labor for souls become a part of your life. Go to the homes of those even who manifest no interest. While mercy's sweet voice invites the sinner, work with every energy of heart and brain, as did Paul, “who ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” In the day of God, how many will confront us, and say, “I am lost! I am lost! And you never warned me; you never entreated me to come to Jesus. Had I believed as you did, I would have followed every Judgment-bound soul within my reach with prayers and tears and warnings.”

Ministers, teach the people how to work. Tell them that their usefulness does not depend so much on wealth or learning or power as on a willing mind, their consecration to Christ and his cause. In times past God has used humble men, and because of their faith and devotion they have often accomplished more than many more pretentious laborers. They realized their weakness and dependence upon God; and by letters, by tracts, by personal efforts in appeals and warnings, by a well ordered life and godly conversation, they turned many from error to truth, from the path of transgression to obedience to God's law. The mighty power of grace worked with them, and success attended their efforts. “God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence.”

Two men start out to labor in the cause of God. One has had every advantage of education. His mind is cultivated; his powers are developed, and he is prepared to become an efficient worker. But we look in vain to see the good results of all the advantages he has enjoyed. Instead of increasing his usefulness, his education fosters a feeling of power and self-importance; he esteems himself above his less fortunate brethren. He does not continue to store his mind with useful knowledge, to fit himself for greater responsibilities. While he boasts of learning, he does not labor to the utmost of his ability, with an eye single to the glory of God. The other has good natural abilities, but a limited education. He is a constant learner in the school of Christ. The love of Jesus is in his heart, and he walks humbly with God. He is unselfish in thought and purpose, and tries to do all the good he can. As he uses the ability he has, his mind expands. Said the psalmist, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple.”

The educated man may exalt himself over his unlearned brother; but he is like the man in the parable, who hid his talent in the earth. He has shunned the trouble and exertion necessary to trade with his intrusted talent, that he may be able to return it with increase; and he will be condemned as a slothful servant, and dismissed from the presence of his Lord. But the one who is faithful in the improvement of his talents will return both principal and interest, and will hear the “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The man who blesses society and makes a success of life, is the one, whether educated or uneducated, who uses all his powers in the service of God and his fellowmen.

In all our churches there are persons who might be educated to become workers for Christ. But there are few who will venture to go out and labor unselfishly, trusting all to Jesus. They must have wages; and even then, if something offers that promises greater financial success, many youth will choose the worldly employment. They do not love Christ, and are not willing to make sacrifices for his sake.

There is a great work to be done to warn the world. Let us do what we can ourselves, and encourage others to labor. There is certainly a fault among us, or there would be more talent developed to unite us in our efforts for souls. “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest.” Have special meetings for the education of workers. Souls for whom Christ died are perishing all around us, and what excuse can we give that they have never been warned.

If you would preach fewer sermons, and do more personal labor in visiting and praying with individuals, your ministry would be more like that of Jesus. We must have a knowledge of the truth, that we may be able to meet its wily opponents; but we have certainly made a mistake in supposing that so much depends on long, argumentative discourses. If one part of your work must be limited, let it be the discourses; for unless your sermons are followed by personal effort, Satan will often catch away the seed of truth sown in the heart, and the good effect will be lost.

I charge you, Do not do half-hearted work. Some of you who in the beginning of your ministry were earnest and persevering have grown weary of protracted effort and ceaseless turmoil, and you sigh for repose, and dream of leisure and fireside comfort. Some are greatly over-worked, and are suffering in consequence; and others, by doing their work negligently, have brought double burdens upon these unselfish, thorough, God-fearing workers. Some are not willing to bear reproach for Christ's sake. Think what mighty truths God has entrusted to our keeping, and let earnest work follow your thoughts. Do mighty strokes for God. There are no compromises to be made with sin, nor any with timidity and cowardice. The Christian worker knows no weariness; there is no drudgery in his Heaven-appointed work. He enters into the joy of his Lord in seeing souls emancipated from the slavery of sin; and this joy more than repays him for every self-denial.

Our faith is weak, our sense of God's requirements feeble. We must awake to duty. We must be endued with power from on high; we must have a baptism of the holy Spirit before we leave this place. Instead of resting satisfied with our present attainments, let us cherish a longing desire that our unclean lips may be purified, and touched with a live coal from off the altar. The words of God to us must come to the people, not in a hesitating, doubting manner, but with earnestness and power. We must pray more fervently, more perseveringly, that God may work in us and by us. In these days of multiplied popular fables, there is no way to reach the people only as God works through our efforts. Angels are commissioned to be our helpers. They are passing between earth and heaven, bearing upward the record of the doings of all the children of men.

We can never be saved in inactivity. The life of Jesus rebukes every idler. In his strength we may do much greater and more perfect work. The promises of God are rich, and full, and free, and we may have the power of his salvation with us. Then why do we not believe him and work for him? It is because threads of unbelief are woven into all the woof of life; but shall we not now commence to weave in the precious golden threads of faith? Remember, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith.” If clouds hide the sun from sight, we do not mourn as though it would never appear again. God's dear face of brightness is not always seen; but we are not to despond. It is our duty to trust him in the darkness, knowing that his love is changeless. Then let us put all our powers into our work; let us devote our voice and pen to the service of God, not laboring in our own strength or to please ourselves; and we shall see sinners converted, and God will give us a rich reward.

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