Editorial Keynotes

Earnestness is a vital element of efficiency.

A. G. Daniells.

Earnestness is a vital element of efficiency. It is the dynamic, the life force which steadily drives toward achievement. It is said to be " an intensity back of pressing need, of deep desire, and of fixed purpose that impels onward with diligence, patience, and perseverance until the goal is reached."

An earnest man is well described as " a man of one idea, and that one idea occupies, possesses, and fills his soul. To every other claimant upon his time, and regard, and labor he says, ' Stand by! I am engaged; I cannot attend to you, there is something else waiting for me.' To that one thing he is com­mitted. There may be many subor­dinate matters, amidst which he di­vides what may be called the surplus water, but the main current flows through one channel, and turns one great wheel. This ' one thing I do,' is his plan and resolution. Many won­der at his choice, many condemn it. No matter; he understands it, approves it, and pursues it amidst the ignorance which cannot comprehend it, or the peculiarity of taste which cannot ad­mire it. . . . It is nothing to him what others do, or what they say of his doing: he must do that, whatever else he leaves undone." Many of the Bible characters were just such men of earnestness. What a fine exhibition of earnestness is re­vealed in the life of Moses! From the day that he refused to be " called the son of Pharaoh's daughter " until he stood on Pisgah's top, scanning the length and breadth of the Promised Land, his one, all-consuming desire and resolute purpose was to lead the people of God from Egyptian bondage to Ca­naan, the land of freedom and priv­ilege.

Would you know the secret of the earnestness, the faithfulness, the stead­fastness which held Moses to his con­viction of duty for eighty long years? The secret is this: " He endured, as seeing Him who is invisible." Heb. 11: 27. His separation from the world was so complete, and his union with heaven so real, that he lived contin­ually in the very presence of God.

Such, a man also was the great apos­tle Paul. Who can read of his life and labors, as set forth in the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, without be­ing deeply impressed with the amazing zeal and earnestness of this man. Prom the beginning of his ministry, when he received the vision of his Lord while on the way to Damascus, until the day of his death, he was pos­sessed of a mighty earnestness that never lessened its tension. On he went for a lifetime, at all seasons, warning every man and teaching ev­ery man, publicly and from house to house, " night and day, with tears; " keeping back nothing, but declaring the whole counsel of God as revealed in the gospel. So earnest and true and faithful was his ministry that he could freely say, " I am pure from the blood of all men." Concerning Paul, we read:

" Paul's was a life of intense and varied activities. . . . The apostle's heart burned with love for sinners, and he put all his energies into the work of soul winning. There never lived a more self-denying, persevering worker. . . . He clung to the cross as his only guaranty of success."—" Gospel Work­ers," pp. 58-61.

Herein is revealed the secret of Paul's earnestness,—" he clung to the cross as his only guaranty of success." We are told that " if there is anything in our world that should inspire en­thusiasm, it is the cross of Calvary." And again: " If there is anything upon earth that should inspire men with sanctified zeal, it is the truth as it is in Jesus. It is the grand, great work of redemption. It is Christ made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption."­" Testimonies to Ministers," pp. 81, 80. The apostle Paul further refers to the secret of his earnest zeal in service, as follows: " It pleased God . . to reveal His Son in [not to} me, that I might preach Him." Gal. 1: 15, 16. " I am crucified with Christ: neverthe­less I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth, in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." Gal. 2: 20.

But the supreme exhibition of ear­nestness for the accomplishment of His purpose is revealed in the life of Christ. His purpose was " to seek and to save that which was lost," and His devotion to His mission, His earnest­ness in its prosecution, never waned. To study His life is to be profoundly impressed by the intense earnestness which characterized all His labor. On His first visit to Jerusalem after be­ginning His ministry, he witnessed the tragic departure of the leaders of Is­rael from the true way, and beheld their wicked desecration of the temple which had been dedicated to holy, sa­cred use. With an earnestness and zeal which those untrue and wicked men could not resist, he rebuked them and drove them out of the temple, thus cleansing the temple from its defile­ment, and restoring the standard sig­nifying "a house of prayer." The disciples who witnessed this mani­festation of flaming zeal, recognized it as the fulfillment of the prophetic statement made by the psalmist, " The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up."

As we trace His footsteps in never-ceasing toil, and recall His solicitude for the salvation of men, as manifested in whole nights of prayer, we recognize an earnestness such as never was known before. As we near the clos. of His life, in that last night in Geth­semane, it is stated in the Scriptures that " He prayed more earnestly." Such is our example. " In the name of the Lord, with the untiring persever­ance and unflagging zeal that Christ brought into His labors, we are to carry forward the work of the Lord." —"Testimonies," Vol. IX, p. 25.

The disciples recognized the earnest­ness of their Lord, and they lived and labored under the inspiration of this impelling force to the very close of their lives. Their determined and avowed program was expressed in these words: " We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the min­istry of the word." Acts 6: 4. And the earnestness of the disciples was communicated to the men and wo­men they won to the cross, for we read: " There was a great persecution against the church which was at Jeru­salem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. , . . Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word:' Acts 8: 1-4. So intense was the devotion and earnestness of apos­tles and converts that within a period of seventy years the gospel became known throughout the then known world, and multitudes were won to their Lord and Saviour.

The significant question is asked: " Why has the, history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord's people to-day are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for Him? . . . At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, should not the zeal of the church exceed even that of the early church? " " Testimonies," Vol. VII, p. 33.

My brethren in the ministry of our Lord and Master, what shall we say of these notable examples of earnest­ness? Shall we say that these Bible characters possessed a superabundance of zeal, more than was really neces­sary, and more than the Lord requires? Not one of us would venture such an answer. Deep down in our hearts we feel that just such earnestness is de­manded of us to-day, and many times there presses hard upon our poor hearts a great longing for that impelling earnestness and zeal. And yet, for some reason, so many go on un­filled and unsatisfied. Why? What is the matter? Where is true, sanctified earnestness to be found, and how is it to be obtained? It has but one source — Christ Jesus, the Prince of life. It is imparted through fellowship with Him. Like Moses, we must live as " seeing Him who is invisible; " like Paul, we must cling to the cross, living the life in which is revealed the abid­ing presence of Christ.

To the Laodiceans, who are neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm, half para­lyzed, and consequently lacking the great vital qualities of the gospel,—faith, love, righteousness, and the divine anointing,—Jesus administers the most scathing reproof, and then points to the remedy. He says: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [live in fellowship] with him, and he with Me." Rev. 3: 19, 20.

This, my brethren, is the way of deliverance from lukewarmness. Here is the secret of whole-hearted earnest­ness in all the interests of the king­dom. But two steps are necessary: First, deep, sincere, zealous repentance for our great lack; second, enthroning in our hearts our glorious Lord. In Him is the life, earnestness, and zeal that we need. When He comes in and takes possession, He brings them all with Him. Therefore we should study most earnestly how to enter into a deeper, truer, and more constant abid­ing in Christ, and turn our minds res­olutely to this achievement.

A. G. Daniells.

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A. G. Daniells.

February 1928

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