A Work That Men Cannot Do
By W.H. Holden
As the Samaritan woman who talked with Jesus at Jacob's well led " many of the Samaritans" to know Him and to believe in Him, so women of to-day may do a work for the Master which will yield a rich harvest of souls. The chosen disciples saw no opportunity in Samaria worthy of their labor. They did not see the precious fruit all about them, waiting to be gathered in, and the opportunity passed to this humble woman to give to the Samaritans a convincing personal testimony and an invitation, " Come, see . . . the Christ."
In these last days, when even greater earnestness is needed than in the days of the disciples, God is calling not only for men, but also for women to carry the message of salvation. And women can do a work which men cannot do, for the situation is clearly described as follows:
"Women may take their places in the work at this crisis, and the Lord will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Spirit of God, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and this will give them a power which will exceed that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their labor is needed."—" Testimonies," Vol. VI, pp. 117, 118.
In the seclusion of the home, around the family fireside or surrounded by a selected group of interested listeners, the consecrated Bible worker is to-day holding up to clear view the cross of Christ, and without attracting attention to herself or making any display of ability or paraphernalia, thousands are being brought to know the Saviour and to rejoice in His message of truth for this time, who would otherwise be passed by.
Some of our Bible workers are having remarkable success working alone, but my observation leads me to believe that the best success is obtained and more souls are won in a shorter period of time, when Bible workers are associated with the effort of an ordained minister. The word preached from the desk by the gospel minister, and followed up in the homes of the people through personal work by himself and the Bible worker, is to my mind the most effectual way of conducting soul-winning efforts. Such personal work tends to make the Bible worker feel most keenly her own need of personal acquaintance with Christ, for it is the testimony of personal experience which impresses hearts in no less degree today than when the woman of Samaria demonstrated the great lesson of effectual personal witnessing.
It is " that which we receive from Christ " that we must give to others. " As soon as Christ becomes an abiding presence in the heart, we shall not be able to see souls perish in ignorance of the truth and be at rest."
"God calls for earnest women workers, workers who are prudent, warmhearted, tender, and true to principle. He calls for persevering women, who will take their minds from self and their personal convenience, and will center them on Christ, speaking words of truth, praying with the persons to whom they can obtain access, laboring for the conversion of souls."—" Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 118.
The call is definite. We are glad that many are responding to the call, and trust that the Bible workers' ranks will increase in numbers and in still more far-reaching effective results.
Berrien Springs, Mich.
Principles and Experiences *
By Myrtle Asay
There are a few principles I should like to emphasize in connection with the consideration of the topic, " How to Give a Successful Bible Study."
1. Avoid Notes.— Success depends in great measure on the confidence established in the mind of the reader, and the secret of this is to know the subject thoroughly. If closely confined to notes for giving the study, the reader is apt to form the impression that a few texts have been looked up to prove a preconceived opinion. But to conduct the study without notes gives the impression that the teacher has studied and knows just what she is talking about, and this inspires confidence and intensifies interest. Therefore, as far as possible, avoid notes.
But whether or not notes are used, be sure to have a reserve fund of knowledge on the subject in hand; have much more information than you intend to use in that particular study. It seems difficult for some people to understand the importance of this. I know a woman who is fully convinced that she ought to dedicate her life to the Bible work, and is anxious to do so, but she is always too busy to get down to study. On one occasion I was to give a study on the sanctuary question, and this woman was present. But just as I was about to begin the study she, as usual, found a pretext to leave the room. Knowing of her expressed desire to be a Bible worker, I took occasion later on to ask her, " Could you give a Bible study on the sanctuary? " Her ready answer was, " Why, yes; if I had the texts I could." Now I do not think that kind of Bible study would be a success.
2". Use Tact.— Study the person for whom you are working. Don't be stereotyped. Reach the individual from his own viewpoint. Do not be dogmatic. Be exceedingly careful not to stir up prejudice. If it is evident that the subject being presented arouses prejudice or anger, very tactfully change the subject, and seek to prepare the soil of the heart a little more thoroughly before that subject is again presented.
3. Avoid Argument.— Insist on the individual's doing his own reading of texts. This to a great extent prevents argument. If an argument is begun, just refer back to the text, and have the person read it again, incidentally dropping the remark: " Opinion counts for little, whether the opinion is yours or mine. It is what God says that really counts." Maintain a• constantly prayerful attitude, for without the help of the Holy Spirit the instruction will be in vain. Never assert an opinion. Stick to the word. And, I repeat, see that the person does his own reading. Do not use too many texts. Make each text drive home the truth presented. Be definite, and keep constantly impressed upon the reader that "I and my opinion amount to nothing; it is the word of God that counts."
4. Conquer Prejudice.— The principles set forth thus far pertain to the Bible study which has been prearranged. But there are some people who are sure that to refuse to have anything to do with " Adventism " is doing God service. It may be that they are as sincere as was Saul before his conversion. Jesus Christ gave His life for these people, and we should earnestly endeavor to reach them, notwithstanding their prejudice. To do so successfully, one must first arrest the attention, and then arouse the interest. Perhaps a personal experience on this point may serve to illustrate the principle:
Some years ago one of our evangelists was holding a series of lectures in one of our Southern cities, and the case of one man in particular was of interest. This man was a faithful attendant at the lectures, but was unable to get his wife to go. She not only refused to go, but assumed the most bitter attitude toward Seventh-day Adventists. The series of lectures closed, and after the lapse of two years I again came in contact with this man. He stated that his wife still held the same attitude, but he requested that I call on her. He said, " I do not know what she will do. Probably she will insult you. But I do wish that something could be done to break down her prejudice, for I am fully convinced that Seventh-day Adventists have the truth."
This was not the most pleasing proposition, but prayer helps us to do many things which otherwise we would not undertake. So, with a magazine in hand to sell to the woman, I went to her door. As soon as I had introduced myself and the magazine, the following conversation took place:
"This is Seventh-day Adventist stuff, isn't it? " she asked.
"Yes, this is a Seventh-day Adventist magazine," I replied.
"I don't want anything to do with those people," she exclaimed, at the same time fairly throwing the magazine at me. She would have slammed the door, but my foot was in a hindering position, and I had managed to get partially inside the door. I saw that my next move was to arrest her attention. So I said, as gently as possible:
"But there is a message in the Bible which no one is teaching but the Seventh-day Adventists."
"The plain old gospel that Jesus Christ died for sinners, is good enough for me! " she retorted.
"Yes," I answered, " but we are told in Revelation, the fifteenth chapter, that there will be a people that sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, and they sing this song because they get the victory over the beast and over his image, and over his mark." Then I opened my Bible and read the text to her. " Are you a Christian? " I asked.
"Yes! " she snapped.
"Do you expect to go to heaven? " I persisted.
There was a moment's hesitation, then she answered, " Certainly I do."
"Well, now, I want to suppose that you are singing that victory song on that sea of glass, and Moses steps up to you and asks, ' What was that beast that you got the victory over? I never heard of such a beast in my day.' And you answer, Really, Moses, I don't know. I never took the trouble to find out.' And then Moses asks you, How do you know, then, that you got the victory?' What will you tell him? "
Just at this point there was an odor of burned pastry, and with a shriek she threw up her hands, exclaiming, " Oh, my pies! " and away she went.
Right here I want to emphasize that follow-up work is one of the most important parts of a successful Bible study. Had I stopped right there in dealing with that woman, the Bible study would not have been successful. But a few days later I was at the door again. She greeted me with these words:
" I thought I told you I did not want anything to do with the Adventists."
" You did," I answered smiling. " But some people didn't want anything to do with Columbus when he wanted to prove to them that the earth is round; and some people didn't want anything to do with John Wesley, either; and some people crucified Jesus Christ because they didn't want the truth that He desired to teach them." My sentence was here broken into by the remark:
" I burned my pies last week! "
" I am sorry," I answered, solicitously. " But there will be something burn up some day that will be of much more importance than pies, and we don't want to be involved in that, do we? I want to ask you that question again that I asked you last wek: What would you tell Moses about that beast? "
The woman stood and just looked into my face for what must have been a full minute. But with a steady gaze I maintained the sincerity of the inquiry, and to my delight, she said:
" Come in! "
That was the occasion for the first of a series of Bible studies, and it was not long until this woman took her stand for the truth, and was later joined by her husband.
So in conclusion, let me say, Do not become discouraged. Never indulge the feeling that, " Well, I have warned them, and my duty is done." Remember that as long as there is life there is hope. Earnest prayer and perseverance will prevail, and God will give the Bible worker the desire of her heart.
Lake Worth, Fla.