Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 25, 1912

Medical Missionary Work

Mrs. E. G. White

Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. It is the door through which the truth is to find entrance to many homes. A demonstration of the principles of health reform will do much toward removing prejudice against our evangelical work; and the Great Physician, the originator of medical missionary work, will bless all who thus seek to impart the truth for this time.

God's people are to be genuine medical missionaries, ministering to the needs of soul and body. It is their privilege to lead men and women to see in Christ the Great Physician, who understands their every need, and who, if they will come to him, will save to the uttermost. With the knowledge gained by practical work they are to go out to give treatments to the sick; and as they go from house to house, they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise would not have heard the gospel message.

Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. When Christ sent out his disciples on their first missionary journey, he said, “As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” And when at the close of his earthly ministry he gave them their commission, he said, “These signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; ... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

Of the disciples after Christ's ascension we read, “They went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” Luke is called the “beloved physician.” He labored in connection with Paul in Philippi; and when Paul left there, Luke stayed on, doing double service as a physician and a gospel minister. He was indeed a medical missionary. His medical skill opened the way for the gospel to reach many hearts.

The divine commission needs no reform. Christ's way of presenting truth can not be improved upon. The Saviour gave the disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way as to make souls glad in the truth. He sympathized with the weary, the heavy-laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Constantly he went about doing good. By the good he accomplished, by his loving words and kindly deeds, he interpreted the gospel to men.

Brief as was the period of his public ministry, he accomplished the work he came to do. How impressive were the truths he taught, how complete his lifework! What spiritual food he daily imparted as he presented the bread of life to thousands of hungry souls. His life was a living ministry of the word. He promised nothing that he did not perform.

He presented the words of life in such simplicity that a child could understand them. Men, women, and children were so impressed with his manner of explaining the Scriptures that they would catch the very intonation of his voice, place the same emphasis on their words, and imitate his gestures. The youth caught his spirit of ministry, and sought to pattern after his gracious ways by seeking to assist those whom they saw in need of help.

Just as we trace the pathway of a stream of water by the line of living green it produces, so Christ could be seen in the deeds of mercy that marked his path at every step. Wherever he went, health sprang up, and happiness followed wherever he passed. The blind and deaf rejoiced in his presence. The face of Christ was the first that many eyes had ever looked upon; his words the first that had ever fallen upon their ears. These, restored, followed him. His words to the ignorant opened to them a fountain of life. He dispensed his blessings abundantly and continuously. They were the garnered treasures of eternity, the Lord's rich gift to man.

Christ's work in behalf of man is not finished. It continues today. In like manner his ambassadors are to preach the gospel, revealing his pitying love for lost and perishing souls. By an unselfish interest in those who need help they are to give a practical demonstration of the power of the gospel. Much more than mere sermonizing is included in the preaching of the gospel. The evangelization of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in his name. God calls for thousands to work for him, not by preaching to those who know the truth for this time, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Let them work with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Let them do medical missionary work. Thus they will gain access to the hearts of people, and the way will be prepared for a more decided proclamation of the truth.

Who are laborers together with Christ in this blessed medical missionary work? Who have learned the lessons of the Master, and know how to deal skilfully with souls for whom Christ has died? We need, O so much, physicians of the soul who have been educated in the school of Christ and who can work in Christ's lines. Our work is to gain a knowledge of him who is the way, the truth, and the life. We are to interest people in subjects that concern the health of the body as well as the health of the soul. Believers have a decided message to bear to prepare the way for the kingdom of God. The great questions of Bible truth are to enter into the very heart of society, to reform and convert men and women, bringing them to see the great need of preparing for the mansions that Christ is preparing for all that love him. When the Holy Spirit shall do its office work, hearts of stone will become hearts of flesh, and Satan will not work through them to counteract the work that Christ came to earth to do.

Henceforth medical missionary work should be carried forward with greater earnestness. Medical missions should be opened as pioneer agencies for the proclamation of the third angel's message. How great is the need of means to do this line of work! Gospel medical missions can not be established without financial aid. Every such enterprise calls for our sympathy and our means, that facilities may be provided to make the work successful.

A special work is to be done in places where people are constantly coming and going. Christ labored in Capernaum much of the time because this was a place through which travelers were constantly passing, and where many often tarried.

The Saviour sought the people where they were, and placed before them the great truths of his kingdom. As he went from place to place, he blessed and comforted the suffering, and healed the sick. This is our work. Small companies are to go forth to do the work to which Christ appointed his disciples. While laboring as evangelists, they can visit the sick, praying with them, and if need be, treating them, not with medicines, but with the remedies provided in nature.

There are many places that need gospel medical missionary work, and there small plants should be established. God designs that our sanitariums shall be the means of reaching high and low, rich and poor. They are to be so conducted that by their work attention shall be called to the message for these last days.

The tender sympathies of the Saviour went out for fallen, suffering humanity. Those who would be his followers must cultivate compassion and sympathy. Indifference to human woe must give place to lively interest in the suffering of others. The widow, the orphan, the sick, and the dying will always need help. Here is an opportunity to proclaim the gospel,—to hold up Jesus, the hope and consolation of all men. When the suffering body has been relieved, the heart is opened to receive the heavenly balm. Those with whom the Comforter dwells, who draws from him knowledge and strength and grace, will impart his consolation.

In both the home and the foreign field, prejudice, false zeal, and miscalled piety must be met; but there are also hearts that God has been preparing for the seeds of truth, and these will hail with joy the divine message when it is presented to them.

Many are suffering far more from maladies of the soul than from diseases of the body, and they will find no relief until they come to the well-spring of life. The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, lies at the foundation of a large share of the maladies the sinner suffers. Christ is the mighty Healer of the sin-sick soul. These afflicted ones need to have a clearer knowledge of him whom to know aright is life eternal. They need to be patiently, kindly, and earnestly taught how to throw open the windows of the soul to the sunlight of God's love. Then complaints of weariness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction will cease. Satisfying joys will give vigor to the mind and health and vital energy to the body.

There is missionary work to be done in many unpromising places. Now is our time and opportunity to do this work. We have an important work to do, a work that will not wait, a work that can be accomplished only in the power of the Spirit and under the guidance and direction of Christ. God expects believers to take up this work, and to do it with earnestness and diligence. Let every believer at this time show himself a laborer together with God. The Lord will work with the one who will yield heart and mind and powers to his control. To all who will be led by the Spirit he will impart his righteousness.

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