Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Review and Herald

August 24, 1886

Laborers Together With God

By Mrs. E. G. White

It is the purpose of God that the plan of salvation shall not be wrought out independent of human instrumentalities. He has not chosen angels, but men of like passions as ourselves, to proclaim the gospel to the human race. Paul says, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” It was that He might receive the honor that this work was committed to weak, erring mortals. Being the feeble instruments in his hands, all the glory of their success would naturally be reflected upon him, the great Master Workman. And after he has, in his wisdom, instituted this plan, we have no reason to expect that the work will be accomplished without the ordained means. Hence it is important that all who have been made partakers of this great salvation, communicate to others that which has been made known to them.

All who have received the light of truth are placed under solemn obligations to let that light shine forth to others. Each can, in his humble sphere, do something for the Master. He may not be able to make magnificent offerings to advance the cause of God, but he can give the willing, cheerful, service of an obedient heart. All cannot be preachers; all cannot be generals in the army of the Lord; but all can be faithful privates, following in humble obedience the commands of the Captain of their salvation. They can cheer their companions with words of hope and courage, and by so doing will show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. God demands of all the very best service that they can give. If they can only do the lowly errands for him, these should not be neglected.

Opportunities are placed in the way of many who might become workers together with God, but their hearts are not consecrated, and their eye is not single to his glory; they are not awake to seize these openings, and therefore permit them to pass unimproved. Thus a precious blessing is lost. Let each anxiously inquire, What have I done for Jesus? and what can I do for him? And then in humility let each surrender himself unreservedly to God, saying, Here am I; Lord, send me.

In that great day when every work shall be brought into judgment, the words will fall from the lips of the Master upon the astonished ears of the humble, patient worker, “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.” The ones thus addressed have no knowledge that they have done anything worthy of this commendation, and they ask, When saw we thee thus, Lord? The answer comes, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” “Come, ye blessed of my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” To the astonished multitude on his left the Master will say, “Depart from me, ye cursed.” “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.” The response comes from hearts that have been so wrapt up in selfishness that they could not see the wants of others: Lord, when saw we thee thus and so, and ministered not unto thee? The answer is, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to the least of these, ye did it not to me.”

By this we see that those who neglect the simple, daily courtesies of life which they might perform to one another as servants of God, are not the ones who will receive the commendation of faithful servants. The lives of those who are connected with God are fragrant with deeds of love and goodness. The sweet savor of Christ surrounds them; their influence is to elevate and bless. They are fruitful trees. Men and women of this stamp of character will render practical service in thoughtful deeds of kindness, and earnest, systematic labor.

Wherever a church is raised up, the minister should not consider his duty done until it is thoroughly organized and placed in working order. Every member should become a missionary. All should be given something to do to help spread the light of truth; for this very activity will cause them to grow in spirituality. It is because so many who profess to be followers of Jesus are left without responsibilities, to center their thoughts upon their own interest, without being trained to become workers in the Master's vineyard, that there are so many idlers, and so few workers. “No one,” say they, “has hired us.”

It is this kind of discipline that has been sadly neglected in many of our churches. The time and labor of our ministers have not been spent in the manner best calculated to keep the churches in a healthy, growing condition. If less time had been spent in sermonizing, and far more in educating the people to work intelligently, there would now be many more to enter the broad field as missionaries, and much more talent to be put to use in the various branches of the work.

Never should the laborer who raises up little companies here and there give the impression to those newly come to the faith, that God does not require them to work systematically in helping to sustain the cause by their personal labors and by their means. Frequently those who receive the truth are among the poor of this world; but they should not make this an excuse for neglecting those duties which devolve upon them in view of the precious light which they have received. They should not allow poverty to hinder them from laying up a treasure in heaven. The blessings within reach of the rich are also within their reach. If they are faithful in using what little they do possess, their treasure in heaven will increase according to their fidelity. It is the motive with which they work, not the amount they do, that makes their offering valuable in the sight of Heaven.

All should be taught to do what they can for the Master; to render to him according as he has prospered them. He claims as his just due a tenth of their income, be it large or small; and those who withhold this, commit robbery toward him, and cannot expect his prospering hand to be with them. Even if the church is composed mostly of poor brethren, the subject of systematic benevolence should be thoroughly explained and the plan heartily adopted. God is able to fulfill his promises. His resources are infinite, and he employs them all in accomplishing his will. And when he sees a faithful performance of duty in the payment of the tithe, he often, in his wise providence, opens ways whereby it shall increase.

Those who have been made partakers of the grace of God should not be slow to show their appreciation of that gift. They should not look upon the tithe as the limit of their liberality. The Jews were required to bring to God numerous offerings besides the tithe; and shall not we who enjoy the blessings of the gospel, do as much to sustain God's cause as was done in the former, less-favored dispensation? None should forget to make thank-offerings and free-will offerings to God, that through their instrumentality the precious light that they have received may be borne to others just as worthy as themselves.

The Lord gives some an opportunity to honor him with the abundance of their substance; others, if they can do no more, can honor him just as much by watching for an opportunity to give a cup of cold water to the weary, thirsty disciple. It is the privilege and duty, not only of those who have large possessions, but of those who have but little, to be faithful, to grudge nothing from the Lord. The poor widow who gave two mites made as great a sacrifice as the rich man who gives his thousands; and her reward will be as great. He who follows God's arrangement in the little that has been given him will receive the same returns as he who bestows of his abundance. The same is true also of those who cheerfully employ their talents of ability in the cause of God, while those who fail to improve that which has been given them will incur the same loss as though that little had been much. It was the man who had only one talent, but who went and hid that talent in the earth, that received the condemnation of the Lord.

Oh that I could impress all with the importance of following God's order in all things, and of becoming workers for him! Let us humble our hearts before the Lord, and when we become indeed his true followers, we shall feel to confess that we have done very little for the dear Saviour who has done so much for us. Let us closely examine our own hearts, our motives, and our actions, realizing that these must each bear the close scrutiny of the Master, and that then we shall receive his impartial verdict.

To those engaged in the work of opening the Scriptures to those who are in the darkness of error I would say, Have faith in God. Let your consecration be entire. Never despond. Never shrink from apparent impossibilities. There is a crown to win. If God has made you the heralds of salvation, never allow one word of discouragement to escape your lips. Never deem any heart too hard to be reached. Never feel that poverty is binding you and the people about so that you cannot advance. “Go forward,” is the word from the Captain of our salvation. Move steadily onward in obedience to this command. He who bids you move is ready to move with you. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.”

The Lord will work for his people when those who have newly come to the faith and those who are older in the truth say individually, I can and will do something for the Master. I will lay up something in the bank of heaven, even if it cost me present self-denial. And after his servants have come up to their privilege and done all that they possibly can do, even at a sacrifice to themselves, then the Lord will still advance his cause. He can subdue hearts the most obdurate. He can, by his Holy Spirit, bring the most selfish and grasping to appreciate truth above earthly treasure, and bring their talents of means and ability into his service. But unless those who have already received the truth go forward and learn how to work, the success of truth in their borders will be according to their limited faith.

The followers of Christ are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. The eyes of many are turned upon his people. The world may scorn the truth and those who dare to believe it, and self righteousness may treat it with disdain; yet the word from our Captain is, “Go forward to victory!” And he has said, “My word shall not return unto me void,” “but it shall accomplish that which I please.” If his people are faithful in performing their part of the work, certain victory will at last crown their labors.

And will it not pay to deny ourselves of many of the good things of this life if by so doing we can help to advance the cause of God? Let us consider what joy unspeakable will fill our hearts if, as we gather around the great white throne, we shall see souls saved through our instrumentality, with the crown of immortal glory upon their brows. How shall we feel when we look upon that company, and see one soul saved through our agency, and understand that that one has saved others, and these still others,—a large company brought into the haven of rest as the result of our labors, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet, and to praise him with immortal tongues throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity!

Orebro, Sweden,

July 22, 1886.

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»