As Bible workers, we must keenly realize that we cannot establish others on the solid platform of faith and doctrine unless we are ourselves standing there.
Not long ago, one of our conference Bible workers received a letter in which the following paragraph was found:
"You do not realize just how much you have meant in. my life. Let me tell you part of what you were able, through Christ, to do. To Him be all the glory, as you were but the instrument He used. For weeks and months you came to me, faithful to the duty that God had placed upon you and all through that long, dreary siege, you taught me the way of truth, which has come to mean so much to me. Through the greater part of that period of time, I leaned upon you. I wanted to be honest; I wanted to be like you. It was not the teaching of Christ I saw at that time; it was just you. At my work I thought of you, at night when all were asleep I lay awake and tried to get my brain to understand it all, but I was so wedded to the things of the world that it seemed impossible. I did not know Christ then, and had I found one flaw in your character, you and your Christ would have meant nothing to me. Then there came at last the great event of my life, when God revealed to me that it was not you that I saw, but it was Christ dwelling in you. You were my ideal, until I came to realize that you were the representative of Christ to me, and that Christ is the only ideal toward which I must strive."
Such candid tribute to the Christian Bible worker gives emphasis to the truth that God's children are living epistles, "known and read of all men," and our life is either a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death.
The Bible worker cannot hope to be successful in her labor for souls if she depends upon mere intellectual knowledge. Consecration, integrity, intelligence, industry, energy, and tact are needful, and possessing these, she will be a commanding influence for good.
Consecration.—Christ is our example of complete consecration to our appointed work. The call to the Bible work does not present flattering prospects for worldly gain or honor. The call is to a life of toil and hardship. There must be absolute consecration of every power of our being. We read: "Many whom the Lord could use will not hear and obey His voice above all others. Kindred and friends, former habits and associations, have so strong an influence upon them that God can give them but little instruction, can communicate to them but little knowledge of His purposes. The Lord would do much more for His servants if they were wholly consecrated to Him, placing His service above the ties of kindred and all other earthly associations."—"Gospel Workers," p. 114. Is not this the secret cause of such a dearth of Bible workers,—an unwillingness to surrender and break the ties of "former habits- and associations"?
A colored slave escaped from St. Thomas and made his way to Zinzendorf, through whose teaching he found salvation in Christ. This converted slave told the Moravians of his fellow slaves in St. Thomas who were longing for a knowledge of Christ, and begged that some one be sent to teach them the gospel. Particularly touching was his appeal in behalf of his own sister, in slavery. But he said that no one could carry the gospel to St. Thomas unless he was willing to go as a slave. In response to his appeal, two Moravian brethren offered themselves, and expressed their willingness to be sold as slaves, that they might preach Christ. We may be sure that no life can bring forth much fruit unto God unless it is possible to say, with Paul, "Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more."
Tact.—In following the footsteps of the Master in service, there must be the cultivation of tact. The "bruised reed" of defeated lives and the "smoking flax" of conscience lie in the pathway of the Bible worker wherever she goes, and she must seek to possess the love and the tact of the Master, which will never break nor quench, but restore and build up. How beautiful is the description of our Master's life, set forth in the following words: "In His intercourse with others, He exercised the greatest tact, and He was always kind and thoughtful. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He never made truth cruel, but ever manifested a deep tenderness for humanity. Every soul was precious in His sight. He bore Himself with divine dignity; yet He bowed with the tenderest compassion and regard to every member of the family of God. He saw in all, souls whom it was His mission to save."—"Gospel Workers," p. 117.
(Concluded in March)