Successful Christian Service
It is not learned, eloquent workers 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."
The burden that we bear for Christ's sake, the willingness of our service, the completeness of our surrender,—this is the measure of our love for Him, and of our success in service.
Many Christians are working at cross purposes with God. They tell us that they are waiting for some great work to come to them. They neglect the daily duties of life. These seem to them to be uninteresting and unimportant. They long restlessly for a large place. Day by day they lose opportunities to show their faithfulness to God. While waiting for some great work, their life passes away.
Do not fail to discharge your daily duties with the strictest fidelity. In the plan that God has for every Christian, there are no non-essentials. There are lessons for each one to learn in the daily experience. Be patient, and perform faithfully the work given you, however humble it be. Go about your work calmly, relying upon God for strength. Look not anxiously into the morrow. Today employ your time to the very best account. Today let your light shine for Christ, even in the performance of little duties. Tomorrow again present yourself to Jesus as one ready to do any work, be it ever so humble. The faithful performance of today's duties will prepare you to take hold of tomorrow's work with fresh courage, saying, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." Ever stand as minute men before God. Let the prayer of your heart be, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Imbue me with Thy Spirit; strengthen me for Thy Work." Thus you will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ.
In order to do successful work for the Lord, we must be willing to do and to suffer cheerfully for His sake. Selfishness is death. No organ of the body could live, should it confine its service to itself. The heart, failing to send its life-blood to the hand and the head, would quickly lose its power. We are members one of another, and the soul that refuses to impart will perish.
Christ came to this earth "as He that serveth." The angels are "ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. "The same law of service is written upon all things in nature. The birds of the air, the beasts of the field, the trees of the forest, the leaves, the grass, and the flowers, the sun in the heavens, and the stars of light,—all have their ministry. Lake and ocean, river and water-spring,—each takes to give.
Much prayer is necessary to successful effort. Prayer brings power. Prayer has "subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, . . . turned to flight the armies of the aliens."
Prayer is the breath of the soul. Jesus lived in dependence upon God and communion with Him. To the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, men now and then repair; they abide for a season, and the result is manifest in noble deeds; then their faith fails, the communion is interrupted, and the life-work marred. But the life of Jesus was a life of constant trust, sustained by continual communion; and His service for heaven and earth was without failure or faltering.
Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of receiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste.
With hurried steps they press through the circle of Christ's loving presence, pausing perhaps a moment within the sacred precincts, but not waiting for counsel. They have no time to remain with the divine Teacher. With their burdens they return to their work.
These workers can never attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength. They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God for a renewal of physical, mental, and spiritual power. They need the uplifting of His Spirit. Receiving this, they will be quickened by fresh life. The wearied frame and tired brain will be refreshed, the burdened heart will be rested.
The Christian worker must study the Word of God. How many are surprised into the commission of sin because of a failure to study the Scriptures. They were off their guard, and Satan found them an easy prey. The psalmist declares, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."
And in Paul's letter to Timothy we read, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."
The life of God, that gives life to the world, is in His word. It was by His word that Jesus healed disease and cast out demons. And by His word He stilled the sea and raised the dead; and the people bore witness that His word was with power. He spoke the word of God, as He had spoken it to all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. The whole Bible is a manifestation of Christ. It is our only source of power.
As our physical life is sustained by food, so our spiritual life is sustained by the Word of God. And every soul is to receive life from God's Word for himself. As we must eat for ourselves in order to receive nourishment, so we must receive the Word for ourselves. Yes, the Word of God is the bread of life. Those who receive and assimilate this Word, making it a part of every action, of every attribute of character, will grow strong in the strength of God. It gives immortal vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience, and bringing joys that will abide forever.—By Ellen White, taken from the Signs of the Times , February 3, 1904