Mobilizing for the Finishing of the Work—No. 4
7. God expects us, as Spirit-filled men, to capitalize to the full those material facilities and mechanical devices of the hour that will hasten the message to all the world. Not only by such now-commonplace facilities as the railroad, steamship, auto, press, telephone, and telegraph, but by airplane, radio, amplifiers, and scores of other adjuncts, such as great billboards, are we to multiply effectiveness, extensiveness, and speed in the giving of our message. Radio has unquestionably come into being in the time and providence of God to hurry the message over land and sea. It multiplies the range of the messenger's voice more than any other single factor yet devised, and penetrates every conceivable spot of earth—isolated cottages on mountainside or in valley, the islands of the sea, the roving auto, the homes of luxury whose residents would never willingly go to an Adventist meeting,—breaking down prejudice, correcting mistaken notions, and bearing the destined message of God for this hour.
This incomparable medium has not begun to be used as it may and must if we are really to capitalize its matchless possibilities. Direct broadcasts, electrical transcriptions, remote control wires to important meetings, loud-speakers from sound trucks—these are but a few of the ways. Think of the astonishing possibilities of broadcasting with a loud-speaker from dirigibles in mission lands where there are few radio sets, thus penetrating forest densenesses and native huts in the language of the peoples we are commissioned to reach. These are but some of the material ways in which the message is designed to go with increasing power as it swells into the "loud cry."
8. Our publishing houses likewise have a key place in God's final program for the finishing of the work. Who can estimate the profound effect of our literature, distributed in tract, book, and periodical form, during the years of this movement? Our publishing houses have stood as towering lighthouses, their beams penetrating the darkness and storm of night. The seeds of truth planted far and near will spring up and bear fruit beyond our expectations. When the final issues are on, troubled souls will turn to their bookshelves for light on the dark problems closing in upon them. But we have not yet touched with our finger tips the possibilities and the necessity for distributing message-filled literature—literature of an inexpensive character that we can circulate like the swirling leaves of autumn.
Our publishing houses have but one founding purpose in the plan of God, and but one excuse for their existence; and that is to hasten the proclamation of the threefold message to the world, and swell the loud cry of this message. Departure here, in any degree, is departure from God's will, and will remove His blessing just to that degree. And, contrariwise, following God's will, will bring the boundless benediction of Heaven. The divine counsel calls for a mighty forward move in the colporteur work, with thousands going everywhere preaching through the printed word. To definitely encourage this is one of our inescapable responsibilities, This involves a vast expansion of lay literature distribution and regular colporteur work. This witness is to sound forth as a mighty John-the-Baptist voice. Note it:
"The publications sent forth from our printing houses are to prepare a people to meet God. Throughout the world they are to do the same work that was done by John the Baptist for the Jewish nation." —"Testimonies," Vol. VII, p. 139.
"And in a large degree through our publishing houses is to be accomplished the work of that other angel who comes down from heaven with great power, and who lightens the earth with his glory."--Id., p.
"The power and efficiency of our work depend largely on the character of the literature that comes from our presses. Therefore great care should be exercised in the choice and preparation of the matter that is to go to the world. The greatest caution and discrimination are needed. Our energies should be devoted to the publication of literature of the purest quality and the most elevating character. Our periodicals must go forth laden with truth that has a vital, spiritual interest for the people."—Id., p. 150.
V 9. Again, our sanitariums are designed in the plan of God to be lifesaving stations, doing a work no others can do. That professionalism and commercialism have made their inroads in too many instances, can scarcely be denied by the candid. But that our physicians, nurses, technicians, and dietitians will respond to the call of God for a great forward movement as wholeheartedly as any other group in our ranks, I firmly believe. And that they can serve in times and circumstances when our evangelical forces can no longer operate is incontrovertible. Let us cherish these great agencies that have their key place in the movement. Observe these expressions from the Spirit of prophecy, so fraught with meaning:
"Our sanitariums are to be established for one object,—the advancement of present truth."—Id., p. 97.
"Let every means be devised to bring about the saving of souls in our medical institutions. This is our work. If the spiritual work is left undone, there is no necessity of calling upon our people to build these institutions."—"Medical Ministry," p. 191. It is the Lord's purpose that in every part of our world, health institutions shall be established as a branch of the gospel work."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 113.
The Lord has ordained that sanitariums be established in many places to stand as memorials for Him. This is one of His chosen ways of proclaiming the third angel's message. By this means the truth will reach many who, but for these agencies, would never be lightened by the brightness of the gospel message."—"Counsels on Health," p. 2i8.
"The Lord years ago gave me special light in regard to the establishment of a health institution where the sick could be treated on altogether different lines from those followed in any other institution in our world. It was to be founded and conducted upon Bible principles, as the Lord's instrumentality, and it was to be in His hands one of the most effective agencies for giving Tight to the worId."—"Testimonies," Vol. VI, p. 223.
"Our sanitariums are one of the most successful means of reaching all classes of people. Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages healing the sick. He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began ; and in this work we are to do our very best."—"Counsels on Health," p. 212.
10. Finally, a wise readjustment between direct evangelism, departmentalism, and institutionalism is essential, to throw direct soulsaving more sharply to the forefront in all denominational endeavor. Evangelism must have its rightful and allotted place as the very heart and objective of this movement. This is not only proper and possible, but is foundational to that great forward movement required of us today, a movement which is long overdue. Beyond question, one of the greatest human requisites to the finishing of the work is this simplification of our program and this readjustment of our denominational working force which will throw a larger proportion of that force into direct and effective evangelism. We have grown top-heavy in certain aspects of our organization. We are consuming an unjustifiable percentage of our time, strength, and money in overhead and in "turning the engine over," as it were. "Evangelism, evangelism, evangelism to finish the work," should be the ringing rally cry until our work is done.
May I, in conclusion, express this sober conviction: We have not begun as yet to realize the possibilities of our human resources, when coupled with divine power. We have not yet begun to capitalize our possibilities in men and means, when, under the compulsion of the Holy Spirit, farms and other properties are sold, and the proceeds laid at the feet of our leaders, as in apostolic days. We have not yet begun to know the meaning of real sacrifice personally. We have not yet begun to get the most out of our institutional facilities and staffs. We have scarcely touched the latent resources of our laity and of our youth. Has not that supreme hour come? With the vision of God's plan before us, let us arise as one man to our task! Earth is waiting. Heaven is waiting. What, oh, what, will be our response?
L. E. F.