There must be no belittling of the gospel ministry. No enterprise should be so conducted as to cause the ministry of the word to be looked upon as an inferior matter. It is not so. Those who belittle the ministry are belittling Christ. The highest of all work is ministry in its various lines, and it should be kept before the youth that there is no work more blessed of God than that of the gospel minister.
Let not our young men be deterred from entering the ministry. There is danger that through glowing representations some will be drawn away from the path where God bids them walk. Some have been encouraged to take a course of study in medical lines who ought to be preparing themselves to enter the ministry. The Lord calls for more ministers to labor in His vineyard. The words were spoken: "Strengthen the outposts; have faithful sentinels in every part of the world." God calls for you, young men. He calls for whole armies of young men who are largehearted and large-minded, and who have a deep love for Christ and the truth.
The measure of capacity or learning is of far less consequence than is the spirit with which you engage in the work. It is not great and learned men that the ministry needs; it is not eloquent sermonizers. God calls for men who will give themselves to Him to be imbued with His Spirit. The cause of Christ and humanity demands sanctified, self-sacrificing men, those who can go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach. Let them be strong, valiant men, fit for worthy enterprises, and let them make a covenant with God by sacrifice.
The ministry is no place for idlers. God's servants are to make full proof of their ministry. They will not be sluggards, but as expositors of His word they will put forth their utmost energies to be faithful. They should never cease to be learners. They are to keep their own souls alive to the sacredness of the work and to the great responsibilities of their calling, that they may at no time or place bring to God a maimed sacrifice, an offering which has cost them neither study nor prayer. The Lord has need of men of intense spiritual life. Every worker may receive an endowment of strength from on high, and may go forward with faith and hope in the path where God bids him walk. The word of God abides in the young, consecrated laborer. He is quick, earnest, powerful, having in the counsel of God an unfailing source of supply.
God has called this people to give to the world the message of Christ's soon coming. We are to give to men the last call to the gospel feast, the last invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Thousands of places that have not heard the call are yet to hear it. Many who have not given the message are yet to proclaim it. Again I appeal to our young men: Has not God called upon you to sound this message?
How many of our young men will enter the service of God, not to be served, but to serve? In times past there were those who fastened their minds upon one soul after another, saying: "Lord, help me to save this soul." But now such instances are rare. How many act as if they realized the peril of sinners? How many take those whom they know to be in peril, presenting them to God in prayer and supplicating Him to save them?
The apostle Paul could say of the early church: "They glorified God in me." Galatians 1:24. Shall we not strive to live so that the same words can be said of us? The Lord will provide ways and means for those who will seek Him with the whole heart. He desires us to acknowledge the divine superintendence shown in preparing fields of labor and preparing the way for these fields to be occupied successfully.
Let ministers and evangelists have more seasons of earnest prayer with those who are convicted by the truth. Remember that Christ is always with you. The Lord has in readiness the most precious exhibitions of His grace to strengthen and encourage the sincere, humble worker. Then reflect to others the light which God has caused to shine upon you. Those who do this bring to the Lord the most precious offering. The hearts of those who bear the good tidings of salvation are aglow with the spirit of praise.
"These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand." Revelation 2:1.
The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with God's ministers, who are to represent the precious love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under the control of Christ. He fills them with light. He directs their movements. If He did not do this, they would become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hand, and all the good they accomplish is done through His power. Through them His light is to shine forth. It is to the honor of Christ that He makes His ministers greater blessings to the church, through the workings of the Holy Spirit, than are the stars to the world. The Saviour is to be their sufficiency. If they will look to Him as He looked to His Father, they will do His works. As they make God their dependence, He will give them His brightness to reflect to the world.
Let those who are as stars in the hand of Christ remember that they are ever to preserve a sacred, holy dignity. They are Christ's representatives. Simplicity in Christ is the pure, sacred dignity of the truth.
God's servants are to preach His word to the people. Under the Holy Spirit's working they will come into order as stars in the hand of Christ, to shine forth with His brightness. Let those who claim to be Christ's ministers arise and shine; for their light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon them. Let them understand that Christ expects them to do the same work as He has done. Let them leave the churches that know the truth, and go forth to establish new churches, to present the word of truth to those who are in ignorance of God's warning message.
The number of workers in the ministry is not to be lessened, but greatly increased. Where there is now one minister in the field, twenty are to be added; and if the Spirit of God controls them, these twenty will so present the truth that twenty more will be added.
Christ's dignity and officework are in imposing such conditions as He pleases. His followers are to become more and more a power in the proclamation of the truth as they draw nearer to the perfection of faith and of love for their brethren. God has provided divine assistance for all emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts. He means that sufficient facilities shall be provided for the working out of his plans. I bid you seek counsel from God. Seek Him with the whole heart, and "whatsoever He saith unto you, do." John 2:5.
The Lord has not called young men to work among the churches. They are not called to speak to an audience that does not need their immature labors, that is well aware of the fact, and feels, under their ministration, no drawing of the Spirit. Let young men of ability connect with experienced laborers in the great harvest field. Very many will succeed best by beginning with the canvassing work and improving the opportunities afforded them for gospel ministry.
But let none become shadows of some other man. Let them not become mere machines, to grind out certain subjects by human dictation. No sermon is to be planned out for them to preach where they go. Let them seek to be taught by God through the Holy Spirit. Let them seek help through prayer and the diligent study of God's word. If they do this, He who calls them to labor in the gospel will make it evident that they are chosen vessels. He will give them words to speak to the people.
Their first duty is to learn lessons in various lines from the Great Teacher. There is one aim set before all in the word of God--to be like Him who "went about doing good."
"If any man serve Me," Christ says, "let him follow Me." John 12:26. By studying the life of Christ let the workers learn how He lived and worked. Let them strive each day to live His life.
Follow on, young men, to know the Lord, and you will know that "His going forth is prepared as the morning." Hosea 6:3. Seek constantly to improve. Strive earnestly for identity with the Redeemer. Live by faith in Christ. Do the work He did. Live for the saving of the souls for whom He laid down His life. Try in every way to help those with whom you come in contact. Strive continually to improve. Let your life fulfill the words: "Thou through Thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies." Psalm 119:98. Talk with your Elder Brother, who will complete your education, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. A close connection with Him who offered Himself as a sacrifice to save a perishing world will make you acceptable workers. When you can lay your hand on truth and appropriate it, when you can say, "My Lord and my God," grace and peace and joy in rich measure will be yours.
Open new fields, is the word from the Lord, and add to your workers. Educate young men to labor, and tarry not. Educate, educate, educate.
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together." John 4:35, 36.