Cornelius, the Roman centurion, was not even accounted a disciple of Christ; but he had faith in God, according to the light that he had, and he was reaching out for more light. The Lord saw this man would do honor to the church, and he brought him into connection with the apostle Peter. He sent a special message from heaven to him, and by another message directed Peter to visit him, and give him light. That is God’s way of working. Daily prayers for light and guidance will surely be answered.
In our world there are many such men as Cornelius, and for them the Lord desires his servants to make special efforts. The Lord showed Peter, the Jew, that there were Gentiles who were serving God as acceptably as he was. There are today many in the world who are nearer the kingdom of God than we suppose. They are walking in all the light they have, and in the future they will be led into clearer and still clearer light.
In this dark world of sin the Lord has many precious jewels, to whom he will guide his messengers. God will use his believing ones as his instrumentalities, through them ministering to souls fainting for the bread of life. Words of hope and cheer falling from lips that have been touched by a live coal from God’s altar, will revive and comfort those who are weary and distressed.
Whom Are We Talking About?
There are many who are represented to me as being like Cornelius, men whom God desires to connect with his church. Their sympathies are with the Lord’s people. But the threads that bind them to the world hold them firmly. They have not the moral courage to take their position with the lowly ones. We are to make special efforts for these souls, who are in need of earnest labor because of their responsibilities and temptations.
We talk and write much of the neglected poor; should not some attention be given to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless, and they do little to open the eyes of those who, blinded and dazed by the power of Satan, have lost eternity out of their reckoning. Thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unwarned, because they have been judged by appearance, and passed by as hopeless subjects. But, indifferent as they may appear, most of this class are soul-burdened. There are thousands of rich men who are starving for spiritual food. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church; for they feel that they receive no benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the soul. Shall we make no personal appeal in their behalf?
God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the truth to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that wealthy, world-loving, world-worshiping souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor become discouraged.
How Can We Reach Them?
There are some who are especially fitted to work for the higher classes. These should seek the Lord daily, making it a study how to reach these persons, not to make merely a casual acquaintance with them, but to lay hold of them by personal effort and living faith, manifesting a deep love for their souls, a real concern that they shall have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
In order to reach these people, believers themselves must be living epistles, “known and read of all men.” We do not represent as fully as we might the elevating, ennobling character of the truth. We are in danger of becoming narrow and selfish. With fear and trembling lest we fail, we should ever remember this.
Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions. Let them keep the treasure-house of mind and heart filled with “It is written.” Hang in memory’s hall the precious words of Christ. They are to be valued far above silver or gold.
There are miracles to be wrought in genuine conversion,—miracles that are not now discerned. The greatest men of the earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible positions, men of intellect and influence. Through the power of the Holy Spirit many will accept the divine principles. Converted to the truth, they will become agencies in the hand of God to communicate the light. They will have a special burden for other souls of this neglected class. They will feel that a dispensation of the gospel is committed to them for those who have made this world their all. Time and money will be consecrated to God, means will be brought into his treasury, talent and influence will be converted to the truth, and new efficiency and power will be added to the church.
Everywhere there are those who will take their stand for present truth. Beside all waters we are to sow the seeds of truth. Let us never allow ourselves to be controlled by feelings of hopelessness. God’s work will be done. The Lord knows those that are his. In his providence he will direct them as he directed Cornelius.
Have we not a work to do for the Lord? and should we not labor more intelligently, more earnestly, than we have labored in the past for those who need help? Let us remember that we are God’s helping hand. With the Bible as our guide and counselor, let us go forth to work for the Lord, serving him in the way he has appointed, proclaiming the message of present truth in a way that will make it impressive and acceptable. We are weak, but if we will but believe, God will give us his enduring strength.