Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 24, 1914

Missionary Nurses

Mrs. E. G. White

From Christ's methods of labor we may learn many valuable lessons. He did not follow merely one method; in various ways he sought to gain the attention of the multitude, and having succeeded in this, he proclaimed to them the truths of the gospel. His chief work lay in ministering to the poor, the needy, and the ignorant. In simplicity he opened before them the blessings they might receive, and thus he aroused their soul's hunger for the truth, the bread of life.

Christ's life is an example to all his followers, showing the duty of those who have learned the way of life to teach others what it means to believe in the Word of God. There are many now in the shadow of death who need to be instructed in the truths of the gospel. Nearly the whole world is lying in wickedness. To every believer in Christ words of hope have been given for those who sit in darkness: “The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.”

Earnest, devoted young people are needed to enter the work as nurses. As these young men and women use conscientiously the knowledge they gain, they will increase in capability, becoming better and better qualified to be the Lord's helping hand.

The Lord wants wise men and women, who can act in the capacity of nurses, to comfort and help the sick and suffering. O that all who are afflicted might be ministered to by Christian physicians and nurses who could help them to place their weary, pain-racked bodies in the care of the Great Healer, in faith looking to him for restoration! If through judicious ministration the patient is led to give his soul to Christ and to bring his thoughts into obedience to the will of God, a great victory is gained.

In our daily ministrations we see many careworn, sorrowful faces. What does the sorrow on these faces show?—It shows the need of the soul for the peace of Christ. Men and women, longing for something they have not, have sought to supply their want at earth's broken cisterns. Let these hear a voice saying, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.” Weary souls, seeking you know not what, come to the water of life. All Heaven is yearning over you. “Come to me, that ye might have life.”

There are many lines of work to be carried forward by the missionary nurse. There are opportunities for well-trained nurses to go into homes and there endeavor to awaken an interest in the truth. In almost every community there are large numbers who will not listen to the teaching of God's Word or attend any religious service. If these are reached by the gospel, it must be carried to their homes. Often the relief of their physical needs is the only avenue by which they can be approached.

Missionary nurses who care for the sick and relieve the distress of the poor will find many opportunities to pray with them, to read to them from God's Word, and to speak of the Saviour. They can pray with and for the helpless ones who have not strength of will to control the appetites that passion has degraded. They can bring a ray of hope into the lives of the defeated and disheartened. The revelation of unselfish love, manifested in acts of disinterested kindness, will make it easier for these suffering ones to believe in the love of Christ.

Many have no faith in God and have lost confidence in man. But they appreciate acts of sympathy and helpfulness. As they see one with no inducement of earthly praise or compensation coming to their homes to minister to the sick, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to comfort the sad, and ever tenderly pointing all to him of whose love and pity the human worker is but the messenger,—as they see this, their hearts are touched. Gratitude springs up; faith is kindled. They see that God cares for them, and they are prepared to listen to the teaching of his Word.

Whether in foreign missions or in the home field, all missionaries, both men and women, will gain much more ready access to the people, and will find their usefulness greatly increased, if they are able to minister to the sick. Women who go as missionaries to heathen lands may thus find opportunity for giving the gospel to the women of those lands, when every other door of access is closed. All gospel workers should know how to give the simple treatments that do so much to relieve pain and remove disease.

Gospel workers should be able also to give instruction in the principles of healthful living. There is sickness everywhere, and much of it might be prevented by attention to the laws of health. The people need to see the bearing of health principles upon their well-being, both for this life and for the life to come. They need to be awakened to their responsibility for the human habitation fitted up by their creator as his dwelling place, and over which he desires them to be faithful stewards.

Thousands need and would gladly receive instruction concerning the simple methods of treating the sick,—methods that are taking the place of the use of poisonous drugs. There is great need of instruction in regard to dietetic reform. Wrong habits of eating and the use of unhealthful food are in no small degree responsible for the intemperance and crime and wretchedness that curse the world.

In teaching health principles, keep before the mind the great object of reform,—that its purpose is to secure the highest development of body and mind and soul. Show that the laws of nature, being the laws of God, are designed for our good: that obedience to them promotes happiness in this life, and aids in the preparation for the life to come.

Encourage the people to study that marvelous organism, the human system, and the laws by which it is governed. Those who perceive the evidences of God's love, who understand something of the wisdom and beneficence of his laws, and the results of obedience, will come to regard their duties and obligations from an altogether different point of view. Instead of looking upon an observance of the laws of health as a matter of sacrifice or self-denial, they will regard it as it really is, an inestimable blessing.

Every gospel worker should feel that to teach the principles of healthful living is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it.

Christ commits to his followers an individual work,—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.

“Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in,” is Christ's demand, “that my house may be filled.” He brings men into touch with those whom they may benefit. “Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house,” he says. “When thou seest the naked, ... cover him.” “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Through direct contact, through personal ministry, the blessings of the gospel are to be communicated.

Those who take up their appointed work will not only bless others, but will themselves be blessed. The consciousness of duty well done will have a reflex influence upon their own souls. The despondent will forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will find an unfailing helper in him who has called them.

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