The Joy Set Before Us
By Ellen G. White
Those who give their lives to Christian ministry
know the meaning of true happiness.
The world’s greatest need is consecrated effort for the salvation of souls. Christ desires by the fullness of His power so to strengthen His people that through them the whole world shall be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. When His people shall make a wholehearted surrender of themselves to God, walking before Him in humility and faith, He will carry out through them His eternal purpose, enabling them to work harmoniously in giving to the world the truth as it is in Jesus. He will use all, men, women, and children, in making the light shine forth to the world, and calling out a people who will be true to His commandments.
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The salvation of souls was the great object for which Christ sacrificed His royal robe and kingly crown, the glory of heaven, and the homage of angels, and laying aside His divinity, came to earth to labor and suffer with humanity upon Him. He who has been transformed into the likeness of Christ, he who cherishes the spirit of the great Missionary Worker, is filled with a desire to bear the tidings of salvation to the regions beyond, to those who know not the Saviour. To the work of soul-saving he consecrates time and strength, means and influence. He uses every joy of his ability in an effort to win souls to Christ. The sacrifice made on the cross of Calvary is the motive that inspires him to put forth untiring efforts and to show unflagging zeal. His determination is, “I will not fail nor be discouraged.” By his consistent life he draws those around him to the Saviour.
Those who give their lives to Christian ministry know the meaning of true happiness. Their interests and their prayers reach far beyond self. They themselves are growing up as they try to reach others. They become familiar with the largest plans, the most stirring enterprises; and how can they but grow when they place themselves in the channel of light and blessing? They become more and more identified with Christ in all His plans. There is no opportunity for spiritual stagnation. Selfish ambition and self-seeking are rebuked by constant contact with the absorbing interests which belong to high and holy aspirations.
All who surrender themselves to God in unselfish service for humanity are in cooperation with the Lord of glory. This thought sweetens all toil, it braces the will, it nerves the spirit for whatever may befall. Working with unselfish heart, ennobled by being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, sharing His sympathies, they help to swell the tide of His joy, and bring honor and praise to His exalted name.
Very much more might be done for Christ if all who have the light of truth would practice the truth. There are whole families who might be missionaries, engaged in personal labor, toiling for the Master with busy hands and active brains, devising new methods for the success of His work. There are earnest, prudent, warm-hearted men and women who could do much for Christ if they would give themselves to God, drawing near to Him, and seeking Him with the whole heart.
The Lord is calling His people to take up different lines of work. Those in the highways and byways of life are to hear the gospel message. Church members are to do evangelistic work in the homes of their neighbors who have not yet received full evidence of the truth for this time. The presentation of the truth in love and sympathy, from house to house, is in harmony with the instruction that Christ gave to His disciples when He sent them out on their first missionary tour. By songs of praise to God, by humble, heartfelt prayers, by a simple presentation of Bible truth in the family circle, many will be reached. The divine workers will be present to send conviction to hearts. “I am with you alway,” is His promise. With the assurance of the abiding presence of such a Helper, we may labor with hope and faith and courage.
Those who have long known the truth need to seek the Lord most earnestly, that their hearts may be filled with a determination to work for their neighbors. My brethren and sisters, give yourselves to the Lord for service. Allow no opportunity to pass unimproved. Visit those who live near you, and by sympathy and kindness try to reach their hearts. Visit the sick and suffering, and show a kindly interest in them. If possible, do something to make them more comfortable. Through this means you can reach their hearts, and speak a word for Christ. Eternity alone will reveal how far-reaching such a line of labor can be.
Other lines of usefulness will open before those who are willing to do the duty nearest them. It is not learned, eloquent workers that are most needed now, but humble, Christlike men and women, who have learned from Jesus of Nazareth to be meek and lowly, and who, trusting in His strength, will go forth into the highways and hedges to give the invitation, “Come, for all things are now ready.” This work will give life and vigor to the mental and spiritual powers. Light from Christ will shine into the mind. The Saviour will abide in your hearts, and in His light you will see light.
Consecrate yourselves wholly to the work of God. He is your strength, and He will be at your right hand, helping you to carry out His merciful designs. By personal labor reach those around you. Preaching alone will not do the work that needs to be done. A perfect work can not be done by proxy. Money lent or given will not accomplish all that is to be done. By visiting the people, talking, praying, sympathizing with them, you will win hearts. This is the highest missionary work that you can do. To do it, you will need resolute, persevering faith, unwearying patience, and a deep love for souls.
This article first appeared in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (now the Adventist Review;www.adventistreview.org) 100 years ago this month. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.