Lost Power on Dizzy Heights

Mental laziness is a sin.

By F. CECIL PETTY, Evangelist,  Lake Tlticaca Mission, Peru

I stood on a mountain and watched a large truck with a heavy load creeping up a winding road toward the summit. "A great amount of power is required to haul that weight over the top," I remarked to a friend.

"Yes," he said, "a large amount. And those who haul them must be careful that they do not overload their trucks. Here at more than twelve thousand feet above sea level, engines that use gasoline have forty per cent less power than they have at sea level. And they lose more as they climb. The reason is the lack of suffi­cient oxygen to give good combustion."

Yes, a truck might move along with five tons at a low altitude, but here the driver knows that when he has three tons he is loaded. I have thought, as I have seen the trucks climbing the many hills and realized that they have but sixty per cent of possible power, how like some Seventh-day Adventists they are. The higher the trucks climb into the altitude, the less power they have. The higher some in the cause climb on the ladder of personal achievement, the less power they have for God.

I do not mean they do wrong by endeavoring to get as good an education as possible. Any man with consecrated talent will accomplish more for God as he advances mentally. The Spirit of prophecy is emphatic on this point. Mental laziness is a sin. We are to advance in every field of knowledge as far as possible. Surely no Seventh-day Adventist would attempt to justify willful ignorance. But while we are to advance as far as possible mentally, we are to grow in grace also. In describing the symmetri­cal development of Jesus, the Scriptures tell us, "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him." "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." Luke 2:40, 52.

A washwoman or a janitor may be a greater soul winner than a man with a Ph.D. The man with education has potentialities, but they are of no benefit unless they are consecrated to God. Paul says in Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." No man arrives at the place where he can substitute personal achievement for conse­cration; where he can bring men to the Lord by parading his much learning. Those who try this lose more power the higher they climb. The un­learned who depend on the Lord entirely are of much more value in the work of God than they. The dying king in his palace would call his consecrated cook to his bedside rather than a conceited, self-righteous bishop. The power is in the gospel, and not in man's superior knowl­edge. God's messenger warns us:

"Even the great men are more easily drawn by the simplicity of the gospel than by any effort made in human power. We need more of God and far less of self. God will work through the weakest human agent who is charged with His Spirit,"—Evangelism, pp. 557, 558.

Talent and intellectual achievement mean nothing in God's cause unless God can use them. But there is no limit to their usefulness if they are consecrated.

Many of the ministers of the popular denomi­nations feel that to have a sermon complete, they must quote freely from Shakespeare and other famous authors, and draw lessons from the morals of novels and best sellers. They must talk fluently of this and that philosophy and the laws of psychology. Such men walk and talk with the sages of all time, but too few of them walk and talk with God. There are some in the remnant church of God that are in danger of falling into the same snare, some who feel that without a knowledge of the grand masters life would be drab.

I once heard one of our members, a university student, say that he thought Shakespeare was inspired of God the same as Mrs. E. G. White! Some Adventists who are acquainted with the great authors and probably read them more than the greatest literary work in print, the Bible, doubtless like to quote freely from them, as do ministers of other denominations. Illus­trations are worthwhile in any sermon. Jesus certainly used them. But just here is an inter­esting fact. Although there was literature in Christ's day, and by excellent authors, not one illustration did He use from that source. His—Please turn to page 46

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By F. CECIL PETTY, Evangelist,  Lake Tlticaca Mission, Peru

August 1947

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