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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 25, 1899

    Faithfulness in the Work of God


    March 12, 1899

    Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 354; TDG 80; 5MR 358-359; 9MR 102. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 1

    It is a terrible strain on mind, soul, and body to be on missionary ground and to see the large work to be done, with so few prepared to engage in it. It is a terrible strain to be cramped continually for facilities and means, and we must be well-balanced in judgment, else we will make mistakes. If great precaution is not taken, men will respond to the call, saying, “Here am I send me” [Isaiah 6:8], who know very little of the spirit in which the work should be conducted. The work must be laid, as an unction from the Holy One, upon the soul. The training must be after God’s order, and every man and woman must be educated to bear responsibilities, discharging in the fear of God their personal responsibilities.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 2

    Every child of God is to be watched over and disciplined as a faithful mother watches over and disciplines her child. The Holy Spirit is not to be worked by the human agent; the human agent is to be worked and fashioned and molded by the Holy Spirit. Discipline means repression, submission, the bending of the will in a certain direction after the will and way of God. It is just as distasteful to the child of God to be disciplined as it is to the child of earthly parents, but God must discipline every man and woman to act a part in His service (Revelation 3:15-21), for not one can retain his own perverse character in a single line and yet be led and taught by God.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 3

    Those who feel irritated because they are reproved, because they are hindered from having their own selfish way, cannot be used by God. Their pride of temperament, their self-esteem, their masterly spirit of subordinating everything to their own ideas, all this must change. Self must die. All errors and imperfections, all crude manners, and uncourteous, unchristlike words, all unsanctified practices, are not of God and must be separated from the character that God is assimilating to resemble His own, that His family of children shall be workers together with Him.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 4

    We are to impress on every soul newly come to the faith that our work is aggressive. We are to carry out the principles of Protestantism. Popery is represented all around us, and unless every eye is singled to the glory of God, this enormous system of popery will be interwoven with our faith and practice. Just as far as any of its deluded principles and practices shall insinuate themselves into our religious management and organizations, we are disabled and weakened, and hindered from doing our first work in personal reformation of character; for the principles of the papacy are directly opposed to religious freedom, and wherever they are cherished, an effort is made to control the conscience.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 5

    Personal diligence must be constantly practiced, that we may be kept from the delusive infatuations that will be pressed in upon us on every side. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours; grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God, which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ is confirmed in you, so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:2-8.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 6

    There is to be a greater self-denial and far less self-glorification, far more devotion in prayer and far less self-pleasing. Those to whom the Lord has entrusted even one talent are required to do their very best with that talent. See Luke 19:20-24. Those who fail to serve God faithfully are robbing Him of the talents they should use to increase the Master’s revenue. These are the men who have the most complaints to make about God and their brethren.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 7

    The Lord shows us the truth in unmistakable principles. The professed believer who fails in little things will fail to gain eternal life. Apparently to him they are small, but this is his only opportunity to do that little. As he works on the plan of addition in the littles God will work on the plan of multiplication, that those littles will become the most precious influences in the work of God if all is done heartily as unto the Lord. No offering is small that is given with a pure-heartedness and gladness of soul. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1 Corinthians 1:9, 10.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 8

    This is a wonderful mission field in which to work. Seek to be at peace with your brethren. But that peace must not be secured by failing to do the work which Paul the apostle charged Timothy to do: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:1, 2.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 9

    Personal responsibility, personal activity in seeking the salvation of others, must be the education given to all newly come to the faith. Spiritual despotism is in the very atmosphere, which is impregnated with the subtilty of Satan’s oppression. This despotism becomes more and more pronounced as we near the close of this earth’s history. Personal faith is to be acted and practiced, personal holiness is to be cultivated, and the meekness and lowliness of Christ is to become a part of our practical life. The work is to be thorough and deep in the heart of every human agent.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 10

    Those who profess to receive and believe the truth are to be shown the deadly influence of selfishness and its tainting, corrupting power. The Holy Spirit must work upon the human agent, else another power will control mind and judgment. Spiritual knowledge of God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent is the only hope of the soul. Each soul is to be taught of God, line upon line, precept upon precept; he must feel his individual accountability to God to engage in service for his Master, whose he is, and whom he is required to serve in the work of saving souls from death.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 11

    All must use their God-entrusted powers as faithful stewards of the grace of Christ. They are not their own. They have been bought with a price, and must act not their own will but the will of God. The subduing nature of the Spirit of God must be felt in heart, life, and character. The love of Christ must constrain their actions. They must present themselves a living sacrifice to God, which is their reasonable service. Every soul who has a knowledge of the truth is under responsibility to make known the truth to others. He is ordained to diffuse the light given just as verily as is the minister who is ordained to preach.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 12

    The members of the church of God in every place are organized in order that they may do their work intelligently in church capacity. They must realize the fact that if they constitute members of Christ’s body, of His flesh and of His blood, they are to receive from the living head capabilities, light, and efficiency to bless the world. Missionary responsibilities are to be studied, information is to be obtained and seriously considered. What can the church do in this time of peril and obligation, as the Macedonian cry comes from every quarter, “Come over and help us”? [Acts 16:9.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 13

    The mouth of Satan’s pit is open to receive every soul, and if selfishness and covetousness, which is idolatry, exist in the church, the members will not sense the necessities of the regions beyond. The interposing grace of God can move upon the heart of every child of God to do his utmost to diffuse light. The needless expenditure of money for the many little idols should be given up. Needless expense in clothing, needless expense in houses and furniture, needless expense in eating and drinking, must be given up. Every one who claims to believe the truth is required to practice his faith as did Jesus. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of Glory, but He laid aside His majesty and splendor, and clothing His divinity with humanity came to our world. For our sakes He became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. He was a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 14

    The fields now destitute will never be worked until the professed believers in Christ lay these destitute fields on their naked souls and empty their hearts of every vestige of selfishness. Self must die. “He that will come after me,” Christ declared, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] Contemplate the situation for Christ’s sake. When He beheld the impenitent city of Jerusalem, He wept over it, saying, “O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.” [Luke 19:42.]14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 15

    It would be well for all our churches to see afar off, as well as nigh. When you in counsel shall appropriate ten or twelve thousand dollars to enlarge your buildings when there are already more than you can command ability to work, seriously consider how far such a sum would go toward erecting the banner of truth in new fields. O, for Christ’s sake be ashamed. One section of the vineyard is not to be overloaded with advantages, for then it is impossible to do justice to far off fields.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 16

    Shall any of us have the covetous spirit of Judas? Consider the expenses that have been incurred in these fields, and think also of the useless outlay of the means that might be used in home missions. Look, for Christ’s sake look, on these destitute fields, and let the eye of your understanding be so enlightened that it will affect your hearts, and that the soul temple will be so full of divine mercy and compassion for perishing souls who have never heard the message that you will be aroused to put forth practical efforts in their behalf. Having our eyes thus opened to the wants of the destitute field around us, we shall be led to bind about our own imaginary wants. Our work in missionary lines must be far more extensive. Self-denial and self-sacrifice must be practiced as they have not yet been.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 17

    It is in working actively to supply the necessities of the cause of God that we shall bring our souls in touch with the Source of all power. But let no one entertain the idea that those who have embraced the truth will be engaged in imparting more than in receiving. Your spiritual expenditures need not exceed your spiritual income. The one is essential to the other. Neglect the one, and the other will be neglected. The most interested, active servants of God in every age have been those who have had most living, practical piety. Their spiritual wants were supplied from the never failing Source of power, that they might impart to others. When we have an eye single to the glory of God, we shall cultivate personal piety.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 18

    There is danger of our religious activity losing in depth as it gains in surface. There is danger of our workers depending upon human agents, upon facilities, and great preparations for work, and losing their firm faith in God, in making every outward show of prosperity, while the work in the heart is neglected. Philanthropy, however widespread, cannot take the place of personal piety. Danger is on every hand, and we need to be constantly depending upon God, that His Holy Spirit may make our hearts pure, unselfish, and quick to hear the orders from above. When personal piety presides in the hearts of the men and women connected with the work and cause of God, every gathering for counsel will be regarded as sacred.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 19

    God calls for every one to work. There are many in this present time who neglect the small opportunities for serving God, neglect to serve Him in little things. There is nothing insignificant in the work of God, and the faithfulness with which the work is done decides the reward of each. The work of the one who has but one talent is as valuable in the sight of God as the one who has five talents.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 20

    Our self-denial and self-sacrifice do not keep pace with the growing demands of the work. But there are individuals who are so in love with God and the truth that they are constantly seeking to economize their resources, that they may use all they possibly can to advance the cause of truth, and thus lay up treasure for themselves in heaven. The spirit of self-denial and of benevolence will characterize the lives of all who believe the truth as it is in Jesus. They will practice the truth. They will not only receive, but they will impart. God cannot bless a self-indulgent church.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 21

    All who are looking unto Jesus as their Pattern will be changed into the same image. They will turn from selfishness to liberality, because the work of God must go to regions beyond. They will realize that that which the Lord has placed in their hands is to be used judiciously, that the grace of salvation may go to all men, and as faithful stewards of God’s means they will place all their possessions at His disposal.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 22

    The work of God is to be carried forward in God’s way. He gave His Son to our world to show us the true way, and if we perseveringly follow this example, we shall show to the world that we are learning of Jesus. As we co-operate with Christ we shall see the necessity of working with all our capabilities, for we shall see the demand for this work constantly increasing. The little trifles of life, which hitherto have absorbed our time, will seem very small as we catch the spirit of the great Teacher. As we learn His lessons, His meekness and lowliness of heart, we shall be more and more constrained by His love, by His high and heavenly motives. It is because men have failed to copy the life of Christ that the great Head of the church has been restrained from bestowing His blessings largely, for they [such men] cannot be used by the heavenly agencies in transforming the world to Christ’s divine image.14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 23

    May our heavenly Father give us a right understanding in all things. God will never let go His hold of us if we will hold to Him in faith. He is our Leader. He has separated us from the world, from objectionable habits, and given us His rich grace, and He bids us strive for life eternal. Shall we?14LtMs, Ms 25, 1899, par. 24

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