Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

November 3, 1896

The Missionary Spirit

By Mrs. E. G. White

When Moses pleaded with the Lord, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” the Lord made him the promise, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 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 his righteous character that constitutes the glory of God; and it is this same glory that Christ prays may be given to his followers upon the earth. Hear the petition that he makes to his Father for them: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.... And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.... And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

This request of Christ has no limit to its fulness. He desires that his followers shall reveal to the world his spirit of unity and love. But before this unity can exist among them, there must be a genuine renovation of every heart; there must be a vital connection with God; the character must be formed after the divine similitude.

Though each is charged with responsibility, and each has a part to act, “none of us liveth to himself.” God has designed by the unity of his people to impress upon a sinful world, and also to reveal to the heavenly intelligences, the fact that Christ has not died in vain. “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: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” The pure and holy principle of love distinguishes the character and conduct of Christians from those of worldlings. Standing out from the world, we are to become representatives of the goodness, mercy, and love of God. Thus we may be spectacles unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

In the great plan of salvation it is the Lord's will that the members of his family on earth shall become workers together with him in fulfilling his purposes of love. He has called his followers to imitate his life of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Heaven's wonderful Gift, with his holy influence unites the family in heaven with the family on earth in this work, that they may co-operate in winning souls for Christ. God bids us with one hand, the hand of faith, take hold of his mighty arm, and with the other hand, that of love, reach perishing souls. Christ is the way, the truth, and the life; he desires us to walk even as he walked.

God calls for those who are at ease in Zion to be up and doing. Will they not listen to the Master's voice? He wants prayerful, faithful workers, who will sow beside all waters. Those who labor thus will be surprised to find how trials, resolutely borne in the name and strength of Jesus, will give firmness to the faith, and renew the courage. In the path of humble obedience are safety and power, comfort and hope; but the reward will finally be lost by those who are doing nothing for Jesus. Weak hands will be unable to cling to the Mighty One; feeble knees will fail to support in the day of adversity. It is the Christian worker who will receive the glorious prize and hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

We are children of God, dependent upon one another for happiness. We cannot be happy while we are wrapped up in our interest for ourselves. We should live in this world to win souls for the Saviour. If we injure others, we injure ourselves also. If we bless others, we also bless ourselves; for the influence of every good deed is reflected upon our own hearts. The tenderness and love that Jesus has revealed in his own life should be an example to us of the manner in which we should treat our fellow beings.

God holds us as his debtors, and also as debtors to our fellow men who have not the light of truth. He has given us light, not to hide under a bushel, but to set on a candlestick, that all around us may be benefited. The grace of God ruling in the heart, and bringing the mind and thoughts into subjection to Jesus, will make us strong to work for him.

Jesus pleaded, not for one only, but for all his disciples, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” That earnest prayer included not only his disciples then living, but all his followers to the close of time. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Yes, that prayer embraces even us. We should be comforted by the thought that we have a great Intercessor in the heavens presenting our petitions before God. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” In the hour of greatest need, when discouragement would overwhelm the soul, it is then that the watchful eye of Jesus sees that we need his help. When all human support fails, if we call upon him, Jesus comes to our aid, and his presence scatters the darkness and lifts the cloud of gloom.

Missionaries of God are wanted to carry the light of truth to those who sit in the shadow of death. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life;” and this is the love his children are to manifest toward those that are without. Thousands who now reject the message of salvation would accept Christ if they could see the beauty of his character reflected in his followers.

Then can we be surprised that the enemy should put forth every effort in his power to create dissension, alienation, and strife in the church of God, that they may not reveal to the world the glory, the character, of Christ?

It is time that the people of God brought fervent love for one another into their daily experience. When the love of Jesus is abiding in the heart, it will be revealed in every action. Differences of opinion will disappear; for self will no longer seek the supremacy. Thus the church may become a bright and shining light, and Heaven, looking on, may see that there is a body with one spirit, one hope, drawing toward one great center—Christ.

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