A Week of Sacrifice in a Year of War

The Week of Sacrifice plan, which was adopted in 1922, has been an untold help to our foreign missions. For the first time in our history, we now have such a week after a year of war.

By LEWIS H. CHRISTIAN, Vice-President of the General Conference

The Week of Sacrifice plan, which was adopted in 1922, has been an untold help to our foreign missions. For the first time in our history, we now have such a week after a year of war. One year ago many did not think of the war as a grim reality, but now it has come in all its frightful horror.

It is well to think of the sacrifices which this present conflict compels—the loss of property, home, family, citizenship, and life itself. The world, being built on selfishness, knows but little of willing self-denial, which makes these privations all the harder. Yet there is a lesson in it for us. If the world must sacrifice, how much more should God's children be prepared to do so. The spirit of sacrifice is the very essence of gospel life and work. Sacrifice is born of love, and as our love for the Lord grows deeper, our willingness to deny ourselves increases.

Still, even among God's children, selfish­ness ofttimes controls. For that reason we as workers and church officers need to teach our members everywhere the duty and joy of sacrifice. We can do this above all by our own example. Adventist workers in the homeland should give more to foreign mis­sions today than we did ten or twenty years ago. How can we expect others to sacrifice ii we give less ? In the Week of Sacrifice we should set this good example.

There are other ways in which we can encourage our members to sacrifice for missions. We can plan with them in matters of economy. We can suggest certain definite goals for which they may save their money. We can encourage all to sacrifice by making direct and earnest appeals in our Sabbath meetings. Special sermons on foreign mis­sions should be preached in every church every quarter. Mission experiences can be brought in as sermon stories. It is the reports of our missions and the needs of the heathen over­seas that stir our hearts to give. We can cheer our members on to take a personal in­terest and part in the Week of Sacrifice this momentous autumn.

If the world driven by fear and terror can sacrifice, shall not we find joy in cheerfully giving even more for Christ? God's work is not to be done by forced labor. Only volun­teers are wanted by the Lord. The mission task is not drudgery. It is a freewill service born of love. This is true of those who labor as well as of those who give. To bring this advent message to the whole world is not an easy task. It is, in fact, the greatest under­taking in all the universe. Those who lead out in the work overseas and those who sup­port the work at the home base, often find the burdens heavy. But it makes a vital differ­ence in what spirit the work is done. If we are willing, if we labor in godly zeal, the task is much easier, and the joy in doing it is sweeter ! That is why the Week of Sacrifice is of love, not by legislation.

To us God has entrusted a world-wide task, and, whatever the cost, we must not fail. True spiritual success in mission work does not come by chance. It means painstaking effort. It means earnest study and hard think­ing, often with prayer and fasting. It means wearing, taxing toil. No careless, no slipshod, methods will do. The most tactful plans must be chosen, and love and heavenly wisdom used.

Life is a serious thing. Every person has his own heartaches and trials. Indeed, to the chil­dren of God come anxieties which others do not have. Many sisters are burdened for their unbelieving husbands. Parents are concerned about the spiritual experience of their children. In this advent movement the loads which must be carried are not light. Our evangelists and colporteurs try to do their best. Our people bring their tithes and offerings, and distribute literature. Many work in every way they know how to advance the cause. In spite of re­buffs, they bravely struggle on. We believe that the Week of Sacrifice this year will be made worthy of this mighty hour—not a worker should fail to dedicate a full week's salary, and inspire all members to help.

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By LEWIS H. CHRISTIAN, Vice-President of the General Conference

November 1940

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