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Gospel Workers (1892/1893 ed.)

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    Bible Readings with Families

    The plan of holding Bible readings was a heaven-born idea. There are many, both men and women, who can engage in this branch of missionary labor. Workers may thus be developed who will become mighty men of God. By this means the word of God has been given to thousands; and the workers will be brought into personal contact with people of all nations and tongues. The Bible is brought into families, and its sacred truths come home to the conscience. Men are entreated to read, examine, and judge for themselves, and they must abide the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the divine enlightenment. God will not permit this precious work for him to go unrewarded. He will crown with success every humble effort made in his name.—MS.GW92 339.1

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    I cannot see that much is accomplished by open-air meetings. These may be held at times, and on special occasions will be the best means of reaching the people; but to make this a regular manner of labor will not at present secure the desired results. The laborer cannot make full proof of his ministry. A chance speech or discourse may set minds on a train of thought which will, through other influences that may be brought to bear upon them, result in their conversion; but these cases are rare. There is so great dearth of both men and means at this time that our brethren are not justified in doing this kind of work.GW92 339.2

    In every new field, patience and perseverance must be exercised. Be not disheartened at small beginnings. It is often the humblest work that yields the greatest results. The more direct our labor for our fellow-men, the greater good will be accomplished. Personal influence is a power. The minds of those with whom we are closely associated, are impressed through unseen influences. One cannot speak to a multitude and move them as he could if he were brought into closer relationship with them. Jesus left heaven, and came to our world to save souls. You must come close to those for whom you labor, that they may not only hear your voice, but shake your hand, learn your principles, feel your sympathy.GW92 340.1

    My ministering brethren, do not think that the only work you can do, the only way you can labor for souls, is to give discourses. The best work you can do is to teach, to educate. Whenever you can find an opportunity to do so, sit down with some family, and let them ask questions. Then answer them patiently, humbly. Continue this work in connection with your more public efforts. Preach less, and educate more by holding Bible readings, and by praying with families and little companies.GW92 340.2

    To all who are working for Christ, I would say, Wherever you can get access to the fireside, urge your way there. Take your Bible and open before the people its great truths. Your success will not depend so much upon your knowledge and accomplishments, as upon your ability to find your way to the heart. By being social and coming close to the people, you may turn the current of their thoughts more readily than by the most able discourses. The presentation of Christ, in the family, by the fireside, and in small gatherings in private houses, is often more successful in securing souls to Jesus than are sermons delivered in the open air, to the moving throng, or even in halls or churches.GW92 340.3

    All who engage in this personal labor should be just as careful not to become mechanical in their manner of work as should the minister who preaches the word. They should be constantly learning. They should have a conscientious zeal to obtain the highest qualifications, to become able men in the Scriptures. They should not accumulate expensive furniture and become fixtures in any one place; for they know not how soon they may be called to other fields. They should not gather burdens about them so that their thoughts and time will be occupied in serving tables; and they should cultivate habits of earnest study, of mental activity, especially giving themselves to prayer, and to the diligent study of the Scriptures.—MS.GW92 341.1

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