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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Lt 21, 1903

    Those Who Chose Australia as Their Field of Labor

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    January 26, 1903

    Portions of this letter are published in Ev 116; 1MR 18-19; 6MR 67; BTS 11/1909.

    To Those Who at the Last General Conference Chose Australia as Their Field of Labor

    Dear Brethren,—

    I wish to speak to you as God’s messenger. Some things have been presented to me in regard to your relation to the laborers already in the field when you reached there. Matters have been presented to me in figures and symbols, and I must say to you, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” [Matthew 22:29.] You are in danger of looking upon yourselves as superior to those who were in the field when you reached there. Do not yield to this inclination. I thank the Lord that He raised up these faithful men to labor with us. True, their work has in some respects been imperfect, but so also has yours. They have been ready to receive counsel and have ever tried to harmonize with their fellow workers. We highly appreciate these laborers. We have been with them in hard places. Together we have lifted the responsibilities that must be borne in a new field. And when after the last General Conference you were sent to Australia, we were glad to think that these workers were to have so much help. You did not go to labor for those who already knew the truth, but to unite with the workers in aggressive warfare in proclaiming the truth in new places.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 1

    Our church members are to be educated to depend on themselves, not on the ministers. They are to be taught to work in such a way in the neighborhood in which they live that prejudice will be removed, and souls will be won to Christ. The churches are to receive some help, but the burden of your work is not to be for them. It is not your place to listen to those church members who tell who their favorite minister is, and why they do not like such and such an one. Those who talk thus dishonor Christ in the person of His delegated ministers. Be careful not to encourage church members to give expression to these foolish preferences.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 2

    I thank my heavenly Father that though all men have not the same traits of character, they may all be worked by the same Spirit, even the Spirit of Him who is the Head of the church, and who in heaven teaches the angels how to minister to the members of His church on earth.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 3

    Jesus is ministering in the heavenly sanctuary, but He is with His workers also; for He declares, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] He is the spiritual Director of His church on earth, and He longs to see the members filled with a determination to labor harmoniously for the advancement of His kingdom. He has raised up a succession of workers who derive their authority from Him, the great Teacher. He has chosen for His work men of varied talents and varied capabilities. Some of these might not be the men you would choose, but you will pass through an experience that will lead you to see that God exalts men whom you would regard as inferior to yourselves. When the judgment shall sit, and the books are opened, many will be surprised by God’s estimate of character. They will realize that God sees not as man sees, that He judges not as human beings judge. He reads the heart. He knows the motives that prompt to action, and He recognizes and commends every faithful effort put forth for Him.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 4

    The Lord uses varied gifts in His work. Let no worker think that his gifts are superior to those of another worker. Let God be the judge. He tests and proves His workers, and He places a just estimate on their qualifications. He has placed in the church a variety of gifts to meet the varied wants of the many minds with which His workers are brought in contact.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 5

    The Lord has given to every man his work, and every man is to do the work that the Lord has given him. All have not the same gifts or the same disposition. All need to feel daily the converting power of the Holy Spirit, that they may bear much fruit for the Lord. It is not the one who preaches the gospel that provides the efficiency that makes his efforts successful. It is the Unseen Worker standing behind the minister who brings conviction and conversion to souls.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 6

    My brethren, you did not go to Australia to supersede the workers already there, but to be their companions in labor. These workers have done pioneer work, preparing the field, and this work has called for much self-sacrifice. They have given themselves without reserve to the Lord’s service. They have united with one another and with God; and He has blessed their faithful efforts. You who have entered into other men’s labors are to be very modest and very kind in your opinion of those who have prepared the way before you. Be courteous to them. Show them all the kindness that you would have them show to you. They are God’s husbandry, God’s building. You who have but lately come to the field are not to set yourselves up as judges of their work. You are all to be laborers together with God. Not one vestige of selfishness or self-exaltation is to be brought into your work.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 7

    You have much to learn. Elder Tenney, Elder Farnsworth, Elder Starr, and other excellent laborers are men to whom I know God has given a treasure of knowledge. These men have their infirmities. Every day they need a fitting up for the great work to which they have been called. But they realize their weakness, and therefore their danger is not as great as the danger of some who have more recently gone to Australia and who know so little of the battles that must be fought in a missionary field.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 8

    I have been instructed to speak words of encouragement to the men who have been fighting the battles that must be fought by the pioneer worker. There were times when the work went very hard, when it was difficult to obtain means, and when, in response to the call, “Add new territory to the Lord’s kingdom,” these workers sacrificed their earnings. The Lord has greatly blessed their faithful efforts and has given them a precious experience.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 9

    I say to you, my brethren, in the name of the Lord, Be sure that you are worked by the Holy Spirit. The Lord desires you to appreciate your fellow workers. Do not attempt to estimate them by your human measurement. This is not the work given you by God. Labor as wise men, who have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. You know not which shall prosper, this or that. Men may be added to the Lord’s working force who, though they may be regarded as of little worth to you, will be of great value to the Lord’s cause. Strip yourselves of self-exaltation and spiritual pride, and walk humbly with God. Have confidence in those who were in the field before you. Treat them as fellow laborers should be treated. Link up with them, even though you feel that your capabilities are greater than theirs. Remember that God, not man, is the judge of such matters. These men have been receiving counsel from the Lord, and they have followed His instruction. At times they have become confused, but, thank God, this was not for long.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 10

    The Lord loves these men. Their hearts are in His work. They are willing to make any and every sacrifice for the sake of saving souls. God did not call you to Australia to take the place of these self-sacrificing men. No, No! He sent you there to unite with them in enlarging His work, in breaking up new soil. You were to work by their sides; for more laborers were needed in the field. They know more of the field than you do, and you are to go to them for counsel and advice in reference to the work, showing them that it is your sincere desire to strengthen their hands.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 11

    Let all who go to new fields walk humbly with God. They are not to supersede the workers already in the field, but are to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 12

    When a fellow worker inquires about his place of labor, you are not to say, “We shall not need you here or there.” Say, “My brother, go to the Lord. Ask counsel of Him who is too wise to err and too good to leave your petitions unanswered. Then go to the place for which He lays on you a burden.”18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 13

    The Lord calls upon His workers to love as brethren, to be tenderhearted, pitiful, courteous. Read carefully the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, and for your present and eternal good learn the lessons there taught.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 14

    There are those who have to contend against many difficulties and discouragements in their work of preaching the gospel of the grace of God. Remember that a worker is none the less approved of God because he is in trouble. His trouble drives him to God, and He never turns His face from him. Reaching out His hand, He draws him close to His heart of infinite love.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 15

    In Australia and America, and in every part of the world, a straightforward message is to be proclaimed in the power of the Holy Spirit. God says to His workers everywhere, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] We need to feel the importance of proclaiming the gospel message with earnestness and fervor, not with tame, lifeless utterance. Our testimony is not to be borne in smothered tones. It is to be clear, decided, stirring. The messengers must know the life and power of salvation.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 16

    Ministry means much more than sermonizing. It means earnest, personal effort. And there are many different kinds of work to be done. Those who have gained an experience in God’s service are to take young, inexperienced workers with them into the harvest field, teaching them how to work successfully for the conversion of souls. They are to exhort the church members to qualify themselves for service. Those in the church who are fitted to carry responsibilities are to bear the burdens of the church work, leaving the ministers free to go forth into aggressive labor, taking with them younger men, whom they are to train for active service.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 17

    Each one has his own work. God’s servants are to cherish a strong, unselfish love for their fellow workers, gladly uniting with them. But this does not mean that one worker is to tread in the footsteps of another, imitating his manner of speech, and fashioning his life after his life. This God does not require.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 18

    God calls for evangelists. A true evangelist is a lover of souls. He hunts and fishes for men. Pastors are needed—faithful shepherds—who will not flatter God’s people or treat them harshly, but who will feed them with the bread of life.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 19

    The work of every faithful laborer lies close to the heart of Him who gave Himself for the redemption of the race.18LtMs, Lt 21, 1903, par. 20

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