An Example of Liberality
When the Lord invited Israel to contribute for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, there was a hearty response. The people "came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation." They came, both men and women, as many as were willinghearted. Men came with their gifts of gold and silver, choice fabrics, and valuable wood. The rulers brought precious stones, costly spices, and oil for the lights. "And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun." They brought "free offerings every morning," until the report was given to Moses: "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make." Exodus 35:21-25; 36:3,5. This generous-hearted, willing service was pleasing to God; and when the tabernacle was completed, He signified His acceptance of the offering. "A cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Exodus 40:34.
Akin to this example of willing service has been the work done in behalf of our schools in the publication and sale of Christ's Object Lessons . We rejoice that so large a number of our people have given themselves to this work and that their efforts are proving so successful. We rejoice that our conference and tract society officers have given their influence and energy to this grand enterprise and that ministers, Bible workers, colporteurs, and church members have engaged so heartily in the special effort for the speedy relief of our schools. The generous, wholehearted way in which our publishing houses and our brethren and sisters in general have taken hold of this enterprise is well pleasing to the Lord. It is in accordance with His plan.
The Lord's Plan
There are, in the divine providence, particular periods when we must arise in response to the call of God and make use of our means, our time, our intellect, our whole being, body, soul, and spirit, in fulfilling His requirements. The present is such a time as this. The interests of God's cause are at stake. The Lord's institutions are in peril. Because of the terrible burden of debt under which our schools are struggling, the work is hindered on every side. In our great necessity, God has made a way through the difficulty and has invited us to co-operate with Him in accomplishing His purpose. It was His plan that the book, Christ's Object Lessons, should be given for the relief of our schools, and He calls upon His people to do their part in placing this book before the world. In this He is testing His people and His institutions to see if they will work together and be of one mind in self-denial and self- sacrifice.
All to Co-operate
A good beginning has been made in the sale of Christ's Object Lessons . What is needed now is an earnest, united effort to complete the work that has been so well begun. In the Scriptures we read: "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." Romans 12:11. Every branch of God's cause is worthy of diligence; but nothing could be more deserving than this enterprise at this time. A decided work is to be done in accomplishing God's plan. Let every stroke tell for the Master in the selling of Christ's Object Lessons . Let all who possibly can, join the workers.
From the success of the efforts already made, we see that it is far better to obey God's requirements today than to wait for what we might think a more favorable season. We must become men and women of God's opportunity, for great responsibilities and possibilities are within the reach of all who have enlisted for life service under Christ's banner.
God calls us to action, that our educational institutions may be freed from debt. Let God's plan be worked out after His own order.
The present is an opportunity which we cannot afford to lose. We call upon all our people to help to the utmost of their ability just now. We call upon them to do a work that will be pleasing to God in purchasing the book. We ask that every available means be used to assist in its circulation. We call upon the presidents of our conferences to consider how they can forward this enterprise. We call upon our ministers, as they visit the churches, to encourage men and women to go out as canvassers and to make a decided forward movement in the path of self-denial by giving a part of their earnings for the help of our schools.
A general movement is needed, and this must begin with individual movements. In every church let every member of every family make determined efforts to deny self and to help forward the work. Let the children act a part. Let all co-operate. Let us do our best at this time to render to God our offering, to carry out His specified will, and thus make an occasion for witnessing for Him and His truth in a world of darkness. The lamp is in our hands. Let its light shine forth brightly.
Young men, you who think of entering the ministry, take up this work. The handling of the book placed in your hands by the Lord is to be your educator. In improving this opportunity you will certainly advance in a knowledge of God and of the best methods for reaching the people.
The Lord calls for young men and women to enter His service. The youth are receptive, fresh, ardent, hopeful. When once they have tasted the blessedness of self-sacrifice, they will not be satisfied unless they are constantly learning of the Great Teacher. The Lord will open ways before those who will respond to His call.
Bring into the work an earnest desire to learn how to bear responsibilities. With strong arms and brave hearts go forth into the conflict which all must enter, a conflict that will grow more and more severe as we approach the closing struggle.
Preparation for the Work
Those who engage in this work should first give themselves unreservedly to God. They should place themselves where they can learn of Christ and follow His example. He has invited them: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30. Angels are commissioned to go forth with those who take up this work in true humility.
We are to pray without ceasing, and we are to live our prayers. Faith will greatly increase by exercise. Let those who are canvassing for Christ's Object Lessons learn the lessons taught in the book for which they are working. Learn of Christ. Have faith in His power to help and save you. Faith is the very lifeblood of the soul. Its presence gives warmth, health, consistency, and sound judgment. Its vitality and vigor exert a powerful though unconscious influence. The life of Christ in the soul is as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. It leads to a constant cultivation of the heavenly graces and to a kindly submission in all things to the Lord.
I speak to the workers, young and old, who are handling our books, and especially to those who are canvassing for the book that is now doing its errand of mercy: Exemplify in the life the lessons given by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount. This will make a deeper impression and have a more lasting influence upon minds than will the sermons given from the pulpit. You may not be able to speak eloquently to those you desire to help; but if you speak modestly, hiding self in Christ, your words will be dictated by the Holy Spirit; and Christ, with whom you are co-operating, will impress the heart.
Exercise that faith which works by love and sanctifies the soul. Let none now make the Lord ashamed of them because of their unbelief. Sloth and despondency accomplish nothing. Entanglements in secular business are sometimes permitted by God in order to stir the sluggish faculties to more earnest action that He may honor faith by the bestowal of rich blessings. This is a means of advancing His work. Looking unto Jesus, not only as our Example, but as the Author and Finisher of our faith, let us go forward, having confidence that He will supply strength for every duty.
Much painstaking effort will be required of those who have the burden of this work; for right instruction must be given, that a sense of the importance of the work may be kept before the workers, and that all may cherish the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice exemplified in the life of our Redeemer. Christ made sacrifices at every step, sacrifices that none of His followers can ever make. In all the self-denial required of us in this work; amid all the unpleasant things that occur, we are to consider that we are yoked up with Christ, partakers of His spirit of kindness, forbearance, and self-abnegation. This spirit will open the way before us and give us success because Christ is our recommendation to the people.
The Work in all Lands
The work for the relief of our schools should be taken up by our people in all countries. Let it be entered upon by our churches in Australasia. Our school there is in need of help, and if our people will take hold of the work unitedly, they can do much toward lifting the burden of debt; they can encourage the hearts of those who are laboring to build up this, the Lord's instrumentality; and they can aid in extending its influence of blessing to far heathen lands and to the islands of the sea.
We trust that our publishing house in Australia will make liberal terms in the publication of Christ's Object Lessons . The Lord has greatly blessed this institution, and it should present to Him a thank offering by making no stinted donation toward freeing the school from debt. We feel sure that it will take up the work and act its part nobly. And this co-operation with God will prove to the Australian publishing house as great a blessing as it has proved to our institutions in America.
Move out in this work, my brethren in Australasia. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Have we not proved this in the past? As we have moved out, trusting God's promise, things unseen, except by the eye of faith, have become things seen. As we have walked and worked by faith, God has fulfilled to us every word He has spoken. The evidence we have of the faithfulness of His promises should check every thought of unbelief. It is a sin to doubt, and we do not believe that our brethren in Australasia will be guilty of this.
The Lord has done much for you all through your borders. Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, already white for the harvest. Praise God that His word has been verified beyond all our conception.
I call upon our people to enter earnestly and disinterestedly upon the work of freeing the school from debt. Let the publishing house do its part in the publication of the book. Let our people throughout Australasia take hold of the sale of Christ's Object Lessons . God will bless them in this work.
The workers in England should make every possible effort in the sale of this book, that a school may be established in that country. My brethren in England, Germany, and all other European countries where the light of truth is shining, take hold of this work. Let this book be translated into the different languages and circulated in the different countries of Europe. Let our canvassers in all parts of Europe be encouraged to help in its sale. The sale of this book will do much more than to aid in freeing our institutions from debt. It will open the way for our larger books to find a ready market. Thus the truth will reach many who otherwise would not receive it.
I appeal especially to our brethren in Scandinavia. Will you not take hold of the work which God has given you? Will you not labor to the utmost of your ability to relieve the embarrassed institutions in your field? Do not look on in despair, saying: "We can do nothing." Cease to talk discouragement. Take hold of the arm of Infinite Power. Remember that your brethren in other lands are uniting to give you help. Do not fail or be discouraged. The Lord will uphold His workers in Scandinavia if they will act their part in faith, in prayer, in hopefulness, doing all they can to advance His cause and hasten His coming.
Let a most earnest effort be made by our people in England to inspire their brethren in Scandinavia with faith and courage. Brethren, we must come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.
Remember that the nearer we approach the time of Christ's coming, the more earnestly and firmly we are to work; for we are opposed by the whole synagogue of Satan. We do not need feverish excitement, but that courage which is born of genuine faith.
Results of the Work
Through the work for the relief of our schools a fourfold blessing will be realized--a blessing to the schools, to the world, to the church, and to the workers.
While funds are gathered for the relief of the schools, the best reading matter is being placed in the hands of a large number of people, who, if this effort had not been made, would never have seen Christ's Object Lessons . There are souls in desolate places who will be reached by this effort. The lessons drawn from the parables of our Saviour will be to very many as the leaves of the tree of life.
It is the Lord's design that Christ's Object Lessons , with its precious instruction, shall unify the believers. The self-sacrificing efforts put forth by the members of our churches will prove a means of uniting them, that they may be sanctified, body, soul, and spirit, as vessels unto honor, prepared to receive the Holy Spirit. Those who seek to do God's will, investing every talent to the best advantage, will become wise in working for His kingdom. They will learn lessons of the greatest value, and they will feel the highest satisfaction of a rational mind. Peace and grace and power of intellect will be given them.
As they carry this book to those who need the instruction it contains, the workers will gain a precious experience. This work is a means of education. Those who will do their best as the Lord's helping hand to circulate Christ's Object Lessons will obtain an experience that will enable them to be successful laborers for God. Very many, through the training received in this work, will learn how to canvass for our larger books which the people need so much.
All who engage in the work aright, cheerfully and hopefully, will find it a very great blessing. The Lord does not force any to engage in His work; but to those who place themselves decidedly on His side, He will give a willing mind. He will bless all who work out the spirit which He works in. To such workers He will give favor and success. As field after field is entered, new methods and new plans will spring from new circumstances. New thoughts will come with the new workers who give themselves to the work. As they seek the Lord for help, He will communicate with them. They will receive plans devised by the Lord Himself. Souls will be converted, and money will come in. The workers will find waste places of the Lord's vineyard lying close beside fields that have been worked. Every field shows new places to win. All that is done brings to light how much more still remains to be done.
As we work in connection with the Great Teacher, the mental faculties are developed. The conscience is under divine guidance. Christ takes the entire being under His control.
No one can be truly united with Christ, practicing His lessons, submitting to His yoke of restraint, without realizing that which he can never express in words.
New, rich thoughts come to him. Light is given to the intellect, determination to the will, sensitiveness to the conscience, purity to the imagination. The heart becomes more tender, the thoughts more spiritual, the service more Christlike. In the life there is seen that which no words can express--true, faithful, loving devotion of heart, mind, soul, and strength to the work of the Master.
After we have, by sanctified energy and prayer, done all that we can do in the work for our schools, we shall see the glory of God. When the trial has been fully made, there will be a blessed result.
If it is made in a free, willing spirit, God will make the movement for the help of our schools a success. He will enable us to roll back the reproach that has come upon our educational institutions. If all will take hold of the work in the spirit of self-sacrifice for the sake of Christ and the truth, it will not be long before the jubilee song of freedom can be sung throughout our borders.
Be Not Weary in Well-Doing
I am glad that there has been such harmonious effort to carry out the purpose of God and to make the most of His providence. This effort to circulate Christ's Object Lessons is demonstrating what can be done in the canvassing field. To ministers, students, fathers, mothers, young men, and young women who have engaged in this work I would say: Let not your interest flag. Let this good work go forward steadily, perseveringly, grandly, till the last debt is removed from all our schools and a fund is created for the establishment of schools in important fields, where there is great need of educational work.
As the ministers and Bible workers are called to other labors, let the members of our churches say to them: "Go forward with your appointed work, and we will continue to labor for the circulation of Christ's Object Lessons and for the freedom of our schools." Let no one feel that this work should stop with the special effort of 1900 and 1901. The field is never exhausted, and this book should be sold for the help of our schools for years to come.
Let us have faith in God. In His name let us carry forward His work without flinching. The work He has called us to do He will make a blessing to us. And when His plan for the relief of our schools has been vindicated, when the work pointed out has been fully accomplished, He will indicate to us what to do next.
As long as the message of mercy is to be given to the world, there will be a call for effort in behalf of other institutions and enterprises similar to that for the relief of our schools. And as long as probation continues, there will be opportunity for the canvasser to work. When the religious denominations unite with the papacy to oppress God's people, places where there is religious freedom will be opened by evangelistic canvassing. If in one place the persecution becomes severe, let the workers do as Christ has directed. "When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another." If persecution comes there, go to still another place. God will lead His people, making them a blessing in many places. Were it not for persecution they would not be so widely scattered abroad to proclaim the truth. And Christ declares: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come." Matthew 10:23. Until in heaven is spoken the word, "It is finished," there will always be places for labor, and hearts to receive the message.
Wherefore "let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." Galatians 6:9.