Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

May 25, 1897

The Work for Today

By Mrs. E. G. White

Why has it not been understood from the word of God that the work being done in medical missionary lines is a fulfilment of the scripture, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.... The servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. And the Lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled”?

This is a work that the churches in every locality, north and south and east and west, should do. The churches have been given the opportunity of answering this work. Why have they not done it? Some one must fulfil the commission.

A work which should have been done has been left undone. Those who have been engaged in the medical missionary work have been doing the very class of work the Lord would have done. If these workers will give themselves to the work, the Lord will accept them. But the churches, who feel no burden to obey the word, are meeting with great loss. The work may apparently seem uninviting, but it must be done. The churches are doing so very much less than the Lord has appointed them to do, that the medical missionary work done by others seems in every way disproportionately large.

O how much, how very much, remains to be done! and yet how many that might use their God-given talents aright are doing almost nothing besides caring for and pleasing themselves! But the hand of the Lord is stretched out still, and if they will work today in his vineyard, he will accept their service.

The work of the apostle Paul was a wonderful work. The Holy Spirit wrought on his mind, showing him that the gifts of God come straight from God to all who seek him with a whole heart, the circumcised and the uncircumcised, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, and free. Paul held to his inspired truth, and taught it to others, opposed as he was by the apostles, who ought to have upheld him. He took his position against Peter, who was one of the pillars of the church, and his companion in labor, and against Barnabas, the first one to honor him with the right hand of fellowship, when all his Christian brethren were afraid of him, and questioned and doubted his fitness for the work, because he had persecuted the church.

But the Lord had worked for Paul, and had given him increased light. He who had persecuted Christ in the person of his saints was touched and made tender by the Spirit of God. The work done for him by God placed him under the control of God. He realized that he must himself be taught by God, and then firmly resist any approach to bind unnecessary burdens upon the Gentile Christians.

Paul's brethren withstood him. Those whom the Lord had used as his witnesses protested against him, and declared that he was advocating theories that were contrary to the fundamental principles which they had been taught. But Paul firmly held his ground. He had dedicated himself and all his powers, his talents, and his ability, to God, and by God he was taught the truths of the gospel, which are able to make men wise unto salvation.

Today those human, living agencies who have a vital connection with God are not to be reproved and handicapped by the prejudices of their fellow men. The events which concern Christ's kingdom on this earth are not to be under the control of any human power. The salvation of man is to be achieved. The traditions and maxims of men must not be cherished as golden grains of truth. Paul was compelled to stand alone, looking constantly to God, and obtaining his orders from him. He was to make no concessions. The burden was heavy, but he brought freedom to the churches. It was no longer considered duty to teach and practise painful rites.

The Lord chose Joseph, through much affliction to him, to carry a heavy burden in an idolatrous nation. He was to work in the line God had chosen for him, that the knowledge of God might shine forth in the kingdom of Egypt. Joseph did not betray his sacred trust.

A great mistake has been made by man's trusting in man, and making flesh his arm. Methods and plans will be devised to hedge about the work that should be done. Men trust in human strength, and do not come to Christ; and they are strengthless. Distinct plans must be laid, but they must not be of that character that will place man under the control of men.

The Lord will raise up men, and place his Spirit upon them, and prepare them for the work which must be done. He himself, the God of truth, will qualify them to bear a fresh, living testimony for him. They will be witnesses for God. They will not spring up from their own prompting; they will be constrained by the Spirit of God to volunteer to advocate truth. God will sustain them. He sees what is needed, and year by year he arranges for his plan of operation. He will not allow men to drift as they choose. If men will be men, God will work in and through them.

The standard-bearers are falling, and young men must be fitted up as workers, that the people may be reached. The aggressive warfare is to be extended. Time, money, and labor are not to be so largely expended on those who know the truth. God's servants are to go into the dark places of the earth, calling perishing souls to repentance.

Events of great importance are coming upon the earth. Men must not depend on men, but on Jesus Christ. He says, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” O, why do we not show actual, living faith? Why do we not, in this period of the earth's history, come directly to him who says, “I am the bread of life”? “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in nowise cast out.”

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