Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

August 19, 1902

Words to Ministers

Mrs. E. G. White

In all departments of ministerial work there is need of greater earnestness. Time is passing, and the work that should be far advanced is almost at a standstill. God's servants are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” The lamp of the soul is to be kept trimmed and burning. People need the truth, and by earnest faithful effort it is to be communicated to them. Everything that can be done to save sinners should be done without delay. Souls are to be sought for, prayed for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Our tame, spiritless petitions are to be changed into petitions of intense earnestness. God's Word declares, “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Wake up, my brethren, into spiritual activity. Daily reveal a determined purpose to be good and to do good. It is not enough to live merely a quiet, prayerful life. Meditation alone will not answer the need of the world. Vigilant waiting is to be combined with vigilant working. We are to be living, wide-awake, energetic Christians filled with zeal to give to others the blessings of the truth.

Young ministers should not be encouraged to preach to the churches. This is not their work. They are to go forth without the camp, taking up the work in places where the truth has not yet been proclaimed. Let them go in the humility and meekness of Christ, obtaining strength from the source of all strength.

To every young man in the ministry, Paul's words to Timothy are spoken, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine.” Thyself needs the first attention. First give yourself to the Lord for sanctification to his service. A godly example will tell more for the truth than the greatest eloquence unaccompanied by a well-ordered life. Trim the lamp of the soul, and replenish it with the oil of the Spirit. Seek from Christ that grace, that clearness of comprehension, which will enable you to do successful work. Learn from him what it means to labor for those for whom he gave his life. The most talented worker can do little unless Christ is formed within, the hope and strength of the life.

Let the young men who are preparing for service read and study the third chapter of Colossians, and the first chapter of Second Peter, and also the following scriptures:

“The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.” “In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.”

The Preparation for True Service

The heart must be brought into conformity to the will of God. As is the health of the heart, so is the religious experience and the fruit seen in the life. Unless the heart is cleansed from all defilement, evil will appear in the life. No one can in truth fulfill the requirements of God's law unless this law is written on his heart. He only who makes righteousness a part of his life is prepared rightly to estimate the truth. The truth is no truth to the one who merely makes a profession, who is not sanctified by its power, upon whose heart its image is not stamped. Such a one keeps the truth in the outer court. His love for Christ is superficial, exercising little controlling power over his reason.

Young men, deal faithfully with your own souls. Seek the Lord most earnestly for grace and strength. Study the words of the Saviour, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Worldly ambition, worldly plans, worldly principles, are not to be brought into the life of the Christian.

Christ said, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Will you not remember that this prayer includes you? Will you not strive to answer it? Will you not give yourselves to the Lord? Willingness of heart and earnestness of purpose to carry out the principles of holiness will place you in such relation to God that you will give full proof of your ministry. You will see the fruit of your labor.

Give careful, prayerful thought to the preparation required in order to do true service for God. Then a decided reformation will be seen. In the place of drinking in iniquity, the heart will be filled to overflowing with the love of Christ. The whole being will be enlisted in God's service. The affections will be set on things above. A hearty response will be made to the words, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”

The Minister is to be an Educator

O what a work there is before us! Ministers are not to spend their time laboring for those who have already accepted the truth. With Christ's love burning in their hearts, they are to go forth to win sinners to the Saviour. Beside all waters, God's messengers are to sow the seeds of truth. Place after place is to be visited; church after church is to be raised up. Those who take their stand for the truth are to be organized into churches, and then the minister is to pass on to other equally important fields.

Just as soon as a church is organized, let the minister set the members to work. They will need to be taught how to work. Let the minister devote more of his time to educating them to preaching. Let him teach the people how to extend the knowledge of the truth. While the new converts should be taught to ask counsel of those more experienced in the work, they should also be taught not to put ministers in the place of God. Ministers are not gods, but human beings, men compassed with infirmities. Christ is the One to whom all are to look for guidance. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,... full of grace and truth.... And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

The power of the gospel is to come upon the companies raised up, fitting them for service. Some of the new converts will be so filled with the power of God that they will at once enter the work, imparting that which they have received. They will labor so diligently that they will have neither time nor disposition to weaken the hands of their brethren by unkind criticism. Their one desire will be to carry the message of truth to the regions beyond.

God's servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging his kingdom. The apostle Paul declares that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” And James says, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Every minister is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” Each is to encourage the other in doing whole hearted work. Earnest invitations will be given by a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life.

The apostles carried a weight of responsibility to enlarge their sphere of labor, to proclaim the truth in the regions beyond. From their example we learn that there are to be no idlers in the Lord's vineyard. His servants are constantly to enlarge the circle of their efforts. Constantly they are to do more, never less. The Lord's work is to widen and broaden until it encircles the world.

After making a missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, visiting the churches they had raised up, and selecting men to unite with them in the work. Thus God's servants today are to labor, selecting and training, worthy young men as co-laborers. God help us to sanctify ourselves, that others may be sanctified, enabled to do successful work in winning souls to Christ.

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