People with a great message to share like us do not have to be persuaded at all...
Sharing the Wealth
Are You the Millionaire Next Door?
By Ted N. C. Wilson
In 1996 university professor Thomas J. Stanley and his former student, William D. Danko published a book entitled The Millionaire Next Door. Their research-based work has sold more than 3 million copies and has become a classic on finances.
In their book the authors explain that most truly wealthy people don’t live the way the rich are portrayed on television or in films: in big houses, driving fancy cars, dressed in expensive clothing. Instead, the truly rich live much more frugally, work hard, live in ordinary houses, and don’t continually give money to their adult children. It’s possible, they say, that people living next door to a millionaire may be unaware how wealthy their neighbor actually is.
But what about those who are spiritually wealthy? What about those who are sons and daughters of the King of the universe, the one who owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps. 50:10)? What about those who “have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7)?
Could it be that those with whom we come in contact, those living beside us, are unaware of the spiritual treasures God has bestowed upon His people for these last days to share this eternal wealth with others?
A Weighty Responsibility
“We have a message from the Lord to bear to the world, a message that is to be borne in the rich fullness of the Spirit’s power,” wrote Ellen White.1 “Upon us rests the weighty responsibility of warning the world of its coming doom. From every direction, from far and near, are coming calls for help. God calls upon His church to arise and clothe herself with power. Immortal crowns are to be won; the kingdom of heaven is to be gained; the world, perishing in ignorance, is to be enlightened.”2
Jesus challenged His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matt. 9:37). James admonishes believers to be “[doers] of the work” (James 1:25). Jesus Himself said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
I challenge you to become involved in the daily mission of the church far more than you ever have before. Pastors and lay members, young and old, are to work together in soul winning. We are counting on you! God is counting on you! Evangelism is the lifeblood of the church. All of us are to be in involved in it—through personal witnessing, small group evangelism, or public evangelism in its various forms—even if you think it won’t work in your area. Adapt your methods, but reach out. Do something for Jesus! Every effort under God’s guidance to reach the hearts of people will bear fruit. Let the Holy Spirit revolutionize your thinking. Take the church’s mission of outreach into your hands on a daily basis, working closely with church leaders and pastors. Let it be total participation, no one left out, everyone a missionary.
You Are God’s Messenger
You don’t need to be a minister in order to win people to Christ. Ellen White wrote: “Every one who names the name of Christ is expected by God to engage in this work. The hands of ordination may not have been laid upon you, but you are none the less God’s messengers. If you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, if you know His saving power, you can no more keep from telling this to someone else than you can keep the wind from blowing. You will have a word in season for him that is weary. You will guide the feet of the straying back to the fold. Your efforts to help others will be untiring, because God’s Spirit is working in you.”3
Let’s do something for Jesus and for others. Rather than look inward and criticize the local church and its activities, reach out to others for Christ, and don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t needed. Work closely with your pastor, local church, and conference. The Holy Spirit will empower you as heaven’s messenger to your neighborhood. As you work with Him revival and reformation will become something very personal and real.
That marvelous volume, Testimonies for the Church, volume 9, tells about our special work in Total Member Involvement. Note these urgent reminders:
“The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world.”4
“Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity. . . . Men will believe, not what the minister preaches, but what the church lives.”5
“Christ’s work is to be our example. . . . His life was one of unselfish service, and it is to be our lesson book.”6
“If every church member were a living missionary, the gospel would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to all peoples, nations, and tongues.”7
“God’s people are to be so earnest and faithful in their work for Him that all selfishness will be separated from their lives. His workers will then see eye to eye, and the arm of the Lord, the power of which was seen in the life of Christ, will be revealed. Confidence will be restored, and there will be unity in the churches throughout our ranks.”8
“It is not learned, eloquent speakers that are 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.’?”9
A Mighty Example
Andressa became a mighty example of Total Member Involvement at the age of 13. Her first contact with the Adventist Church was through her grandmother and a small Bible study group. She enjoyed it so much she decided to start a small group herself. “But first,” she said, “I need to get baptized [and] give my life to Jesus so the children that I’ll teach will also follow my example.”Andressa was baptized, and the very next Thursday she started her small group. The number of children coming to her Bible study continued to grow rapidly, up to 45! There were so many that Andressa encouraged the group to split into smaller groups. One young person said, “Andressa showed me I could create my own small group. . . . Everybody should create a small group; it’s an extension of the church. It’s an extension from God.”
In addition to her small group ministry, Andressa was involved in many more outreach activities. In a video interview she described her week:
“On Sundays I go to the radio station and start with a devotional. There’s a segment for children, where I tell Bible stories. On Mondays I go to school, and in the afternoon we do a lot of missionary work. On Tuesdays I visit the nursing home. We sing, play, and pray. Some of the people there are lonely, and sometimes they open up to us. On Wednesdays [a group] meets at my house to make crafts that we can sell, and that’s good, because the people in this group don’t have a lot of money. On Thursdays in the afternoon I preach to the children in my home. In the evening we go to homes of some of the church members and play music for them. On Fridays [I have] a small intercessory prayer group. Intercessory prayer is really interesting because a lot of prayer requests are answered. Prayer is powerful. On Sabbaths I wake up earlier and invite some children to go to the church with me. This is what my week is like!”
Andressa is certainly an example of Total Member Involvement! Her schedule might intimidate many adults. Despite her age, it would seem as if she’s done more than people who are older. “Jesus is coming,” Andressa said. “He is showing us the signs. The prophecies—they are being fulfilled. If we do not do our part now, maybe tomorrow time will run out.”
Time Is Running Out
Sadly, time did run out for Andressa. One Sabbath morning when she was going to preach at her church, the car she was riding in collided with a truck. Four women died, including Andressa, who was 14 years old. She accomplished a lot in her short life. More than 100 people were baptized because of her witness, and countless others continue to be inspired by her example. What about you? Are you willing to be totally involved for Jesus? Are you ready to share the treasure you have? As we see the end of time approaching, let’s renew our efforts to be involved in all that God intends for His remnant church: every member involved in lifting up and sharing Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world, and His soon second coming.
Reach the World for Jesus
Soon we’ll look up and see Jesus appearing in the clouds of heaven, as He said he would. He will come to take us home. It will be the culmination of His redemptive work using every willing follower to reach the world for Him. I appeal to each of us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be part of Total Member Involvement. The latter rain of the Holy Spirit is approaching, and with it the great proclamation to every person on earth in anticipation of Christ’s soon return. By God’s grace, let’s be a part of it!
If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to watch the five-minute video in which Mark Finley, Duane McKey, and I explain more about how you can be a part of Total Member Involvement. It’s available on Vimeo at: vimeo.com/144789637 or on YouTube at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxNfaJO-Hqk.
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7, p. 18.
2 Ibid., p. 16.
3 Review and Herald, Nov. 24, 1904.
4 Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 19.
5 Ibid., p. 21.
6 Ibid., p. 31.
7 Ibid., p. 32.
8 Ibid., p. 33.
9 Ibid., p. 36.