In our diligent effort to aid you in your preparation for the end times and the return of Jesus, we will present articles to you from various authors who shared the same goal as us: preparing the world for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. You’ll find that the counsel they gave to their generation has not diminished in its value for our time.
This article was published on September 7, 1876 by Ellen Gould White in a publication called “The Signs of the Times”. Her message is as plain as the title of her article; the cause of God needs determined workers, especially in the days before our Lord’s coming.
Dear Brethren and Sisters in Christ
We are living in a most solemn time. Important responsibilities are resting upon us. New fields are being opened for our labor, and the Macedonian cry is coming from every direction: “Come over and help us.” Some beg for even a day of labor with them, if they can have no more. Angels of God are preparing ears to hear, and hearts to receive the message of warning. Honest souls are living in our very midst who have never yet heard the reasons of our faith. People are perishing for want of knowledge. Not one-hundredth part is being done that might be done to give the third angel’s message to the world. There are those who will be responsible for these souls who have never heard the truth. Many excuse themselves with trivial reasons, for not engaging in the work they might do if they were consecrated to God. They have wrapped their talents in a napkin and buried them in the ground, where they cannot increase.
Young men have lost years of experience wherein they might have been growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. But love of self and love of the world has engrossed their minds to the exclusion of eternal interests. God would have accepted them as laborers years ago, if they had been willing to give themselves unreservedly to his work. Now, when there are doors open everywhere for the entrance of the truth, there are but a few who have sufficient courage and experience to carry it forward in the name of Jesus.
The very ones who should be valuable workmen have wasted these precious years in selfishly following their own inclinations. They have turned a deaf ear when the Master called them to lift unpleasant burdens, to perform disagreeable duties. Many have little care for the souls for whom Christ died. The Majesty of Heaven submitted to the most cruel humiliation that he might lift degraded man to a state of purity and eternal joy.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” In the death of Christ we see the greatness of God’s love for his sinful children. He sacrificed his dear Son to save them from eternal ruin. All Heaven is interested in the salvation of souls. We should be willing and ready to make all sacrifices in order to win souls to Jesus. This would evidence that we are co-laborers with him, that we are faithfully bearing the cross. To shun the solemn responsibilities of our time and position is to weaken the moral powers and enfeeble the spiritual muscle.
The divine command given to Moses found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed by a sense of his incapacity to be a mouth-piece for God to Israel. But he accepted the work, putting all his trust in the Lord. The greatness of his mission called into exercise the best powers of his mind. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, and well-fitted for the greatest work ever given to man. This is an example of what God does to strengthen the characters of those who trust him implicitly, and give themselves unreservedly to his commands.
The work of saving souls is sacred and all-important. The humble, efficient worker, who obediently responds to the call of God in this direction, may be sure of receiving divine assistance. To feel so great and holy a responsibility is of itself elevating to the human character. It calls into action the highest mental qualities, and their continued exercise strengthens and purifies mind and heart. The influence upon one’s own life, as well as upon the lives of others, is incalculable.
He who is called of God to so sacred a work should bend all his energies to its accomplishment. Every other consideration should become secondary to this great object. He should feel the solemn obligations resting upon him, one whom God has honored by choosing to unite him with the angels in the work of ministering to souls and enlightening them with the divine truth.
It is wonderful how strong a weak man may become through faith in the power of God, how decided his efforts, how prolific of great results. And the timid woman, shrinking and self-distrustful, is transformed to a courageous missionary, valiantly wielding the sword of truth. The hesitating and irresolute, through exercising his abilities in the cause of God, becomes firm and decided. Taking in the great fact that he is called by the Redeemer of the world to work with him for the salvation of man, he dedicates his life to the work. His nature becomes exalted; the mission of Christ opens before him with new importance and glory, and with deep humility he recognizes in himself a co-laborer with the Saviour. No higher office is given to man. No joy can equal the assurance of being an instrument in the hands of God of saving souls. It is a grand thing to look back upon a course of labor all marked with glorious results; to see precious souls progressing in the light through your efforts; to feel that God has worked with and through you in the harvest-field of the world.
Careless spectators may not appreciate your work, or see its importance. They may consider it a losing business, a life of thankless labor and self-sacrifice. But the servant of Jesus Christ sees in it the light reflected from the cross. His sacrifices appear small in comparison with those of his blessed Master, and he is glad to follow in his footsteps. The success of his labor affords him the purest joy, and is the richest recompense for a life of patient toil.
In reviewing the past, the trials and difficulties that have beset him are not magnified in his mind. The consciousness of duty performed amply compensates for all his sufferings, and the glory of his coming reward clothes the future with the light of Heaven. Glancing over the well-fought field of life, he says with Paul, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But he who accepts the responsibility of teaching the word of God, must expect stern, self-denying work. Some who are only superficially acquainted with the doctrines of our faith, venture indiscreetly before the public in large towns, and, from their ignorance and indiscretion, bring discredit upon the cause.
These young men who so rashly undertake to stand as ministers of God, fail because they lack thoroughness. They acquaint themselves with the reasons of our faith, and gather up the arguments ready-made from the lips or pens of others. They do not carefully study the word of God, and establish themselves firmly on the principles, of Bible truth, line upon line, and precept upon precept. With such a preparation they can boldly meet the opposition of the world. Our ministers are in danger of using only the facts sought out by others, and going no further. They do not themselves dig for truth as for hidden treasures, but become careless and easily satisfied with the researches of others. They need a deep religious experience and knowledge gained for themselves in order to be successful in the important work of the ministry.
Many fail to see the necessity of earnest effort and close connection with Jesus Christ. They do not feel their utter helplessness without the aid of God, and they do not teach the truth with the Spirit and power, because they have it not in their hearts. It requires agonizing prayer to bring our souls into harmony with Christ. The history of our Saviour’s conflict in the wilderness of temptation, his life of self-sacrificing love, his soul-agony in the lonely garden of Gethsemane, the cruelty of the judgment hall, and the agony upon the cross, all combine to teach us a lesson of self-sacrifice, of patience under affliction, of solemn consecration to God, and of fitting preparation for his holy work.
Laborers for God, be not discouraged; when weary and heavy-laden, fly to Christ who has promised you rest. He is the Burden-bearer, he is your strength. Never allow yourself to imagine that you are in yourself sufficient for the exigency of the times; never consider yourself a graduated Christian. Your work is to discipline the mind, to store up knowledge, to perfect character while life lasts. Only thus can you be able to wage successfully the great warfare of life.
Keep the spirit humble as that of a little child. Pride, envy, worldly ambition, cupidity and love of ease must be sacrificed upon the altar of duty. In the simplicity of love, be like those little ones whose angels do always behold the face of our Heavenly Father. But unite with these virtues the courage of a tried warrior. We want faithful Calebs who will raise their voices fearlessly in defense of the right, who are the first to press into the front of the battle and plant the banner of truth in the heart of the enemy’s camp.
Jesus calls for young men who will volunteer to carry the truth to the world. Men of spiritual nerve and muscle are wanted, who are able to find work close at hand, because they are looking for it. The church needs new men to give new energy to the ranks, men for the times, and able to cope with its crying errors, who will inspire with fresh zeal the flagging efforts of the few, whose hearts are warm with Christian love, and whose hands are eager to go about their Father’s work.
The unsearchable riches of Christ are to be presented to the world in contrast with the poverty of sin, and the delusive pleasures of the world. Only a heart, brimming with the love of God, only a mind active by constant study of eternal interests, can properly set forth the beauties of the truth of God.
Those who unreservedly give themselves to this work, who faithfully reflect the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, fulfilling their mission with fidelity and love, will be recompensed on earth by the sweet consciousness of duty performed, and, in the bright Hereafter, when the saints come into their inheritance, then the devoted minister of Christ will be welcomed into the joy of his Lord, hearing from the Master’s lips: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
White, Ellen. “Wanted, Laborers for the Harvest.” Signs of the Times, 1876. Retrieved 05 Apr 2017 from https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/820.579?hl=wanted+laborers+for+the+harvest&ss=eyJ0b3RhbCI6NywicGFyYW1zIjp7InF1ZXJ5Ijoid2FudGVkIGxhYm9yZXJzIGZvciB0aGUgaGFydmVzdCIsInR5cGUiOiJiYXNpYyIsImxhbmciOiJlbiIsImxpbWl0IjoyMH0sImluZGV4IjoxfQ%3D%3D#580