Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

February 3, 1898

We Are Responsible for the Use of Our Talents

The question is asked, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” and the warning is given, “The night cometh, when no man can work.”

Our life is to be hid with Christ in God; and if it is thus hidden, in his hands it will be converted into a lamp which will shed upon the world a bright and steady light. Our Saviour has endowed us with talents, bidding us occupy till he comes, improving them in such a way that he will receive his own with usury. By entertaining the Christian's ideas of eternity, we shall not be disqualified for the duties of this life, but through our understanding of the relation of this life to that which is to come, we shall increase in faithfulness, doing with our might that which our hands find to do. But though time is short, and there is a great work to be done, the Lord is not pleased to have us so prolong our seasons of activity that there will not be time for periods of rest, for the study of the Bible, and for communion with God. All this is essential to fortify the soul, to place us in a position where we shall receive wisdom from God to employ our talents in the Master's service to the highest account. The Lord inquires, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” Is there not sufficient time, if it is properly employed, if our work is wisely planned, to accomplish all that God would have us do? By presenting eternity to our view, our faculties are quickened, and with willing service we may devote our powers to the advancement of the cause of Christ. A great work is before us; and if we are united with Christ, we are laborers together with God. God gives the talents; he gives the oil of grace, that our lamps may be kept trimmed and burning. He prepares us to act our part in the great work of shedding the light of his truth upon those who are yet in darkness, perishing for want of the knowledge of Christ.

Many are longing to grow in grace; they pray over the matter, and are surprised that their prayers are not answered. The Master has given them a work to do whereby they shall grow. Of what value is it to pray when there is need of work? The question is, Are they seeking to save souls for whom Christ died? Spiritual growth depends upon giving to others the light that God has given to you. You are to put forth your best thoughts in active labor to do good, and only good, in your family, in your church, and in your neighborhood. In place of growing anxious with the thought that you are not growing in grace, just do every duty that presents itself, carry the burden of souls on your heart, and by every conceivable means seek to save the lost. Be kind, be courteous, be pitiful; speak in humility of the blessed hope; talk of the love of Jesus; tell of his goodness, his mercy, and his righteousness; and cease to worry as to whether or not you are growing. Plants do not grow through any conscious effort. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” The plant is not in continual worriment about its growth; it just grows under the supervision of God. The children of God are to cease worrying, cease looking at themselves; they are to take an earnest interest in others, and seek to lead the feet of the straying in the narrow path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. In this kind of work they will gain breadth of thought, tact, and skill. They will realize that they are to become agencies through which God will convey the truth to other minds, and that they are never to be left alone in their efforts; for heavenly angels will work with them, and impress the hearts of those who hear.

Man cannot do God's work; but he can be the instrument in God's hand to persuade, to entreat, to draw souls to Christ. The Lord is sending messengers with messages of love to draw the hearts of men to himself. He has thrown open the doors of his many mansions, and is working through heavenly instrumentalities, and through living human agencies, mercifully entreating, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The Lord requires that those who believe in him shall educate the people to know God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent to be the propitiation for the sins of the world. This is the higher education.

Mrs. E. G. White

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