To every worker who is seeking to save souls for Christ there comes these two very important questions: Just what shall I do and say to bring these dear people to make their decision for Christ? And, How long shall I go on working with this soul without seeing any tangible results for my labor?
First, let us consider the matter of making decisions. The decision you wish to receive may seal the fate of your reader for life or for cleath. It is impossible for any soul to make a sure decision if he does not have a clear understanding of the issues involved. From the very start our Bible readings should have point and should be given in such a way that they will be clearly understood, besides drawing the attention and interest of each one present.
After a true interest, as well as an understanding of the lessons, is awakened, the next step will be to create conviction. Early in the course of lessons we must therefore grasp even the little opportunities for decision calls. When gradual decisions on minor points are at first naturally suggested, it will be much easier later on in the series to make suggestions on major points of decisions.
There will be those who are afraid of what the rest of the family might say when it comes to the matter of Sabbathkeeping, tithe paying, etc., but we must help them see that their firm decision may make it much easier for the rest of the family to make their decisions. Someone must lead out in every family.
Then there are those who will fear that they cannot possibly keep their promise if they do begin to keep the Sabbath. It is important to remind them of the word of Paul which says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13. Also show them that by making this decision, they are beginning a new life, and that just as a newborn babe grows stronger day by day, they will gain in strength to stand true.
Some will be afraid of losing their positions. Here the promises of Isaiah 53:13, 14; Isaiah 33:16; Luke 12 :31 : Matthew 16:26; and other decision texts are very appropriate to use. Again, experiences of how others have kept their same employment, or how some have been blessed with even better positions after beginning to keep the Sabbath, will be most helpful at this stage of their experience. However small or great the decision may be, the appeal should be definite. The messenger of the Lord tells us:
"Many are convinced that we have the truth, and yet they are held as with iron bands; they dare not risk the consequences of taking their position on the side of truth. Many are in the valley of decision, where special, close, and pointed appeals are necessary to move them to lay down the weapons of their warfare, and take their positions on the Lord's side. Just at the critical period, Satan throws the strongest bands around these souls."—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 646.
We should study our readers' reactions and then make our appeal at the opportune time. Satan is always ready to discourage and deceive, but with Christ on our side, we can well overcome the purposes of the enemy. The Master Teacher watched His listeners and studied their reactions. He was ready to clinch a decision at any time. When we see that souls are ready to make a decision, we should not hesitate or postpone having them settle the matter on their knees, asking God for courage to stand true.
It is always well to remember that we are only the instrument through which God works to save souls. We must show in our lives that we really believe what we are teaching. We must be enthusiastic for God, putting Christ first and last always. Make Christ and salvation the central theme of every lesson. In our own private devotions as soul winners we must pray for wisdom to wisely deal with these souls. Also invite 'others in the church to pray for them.
"Solicit prayer for the souls for whom you labor; present them before the church as subjects for their supplication. . . . Select another and still another soul, daily seeking guidance from God, laying everything before Him in earnest prayer, and working in divine wisdom. As you do this, God will give you the Holy Spirit to convict and convert the soul." —Testimonies, Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 80, 81.
"No man can come to Me, except the Father . draw him." John 6:44.
The question as to how long to labor with a soul before seeing results, is one that cannot be too specifically defined. Personalities differ so much that each case may require a different procedure. To continue with a reader indefinitely is impractical in our crowded program, but to discontinue when there is still interest may cause that soul to be lost. Here again divine guidance should be most earnestly sought.
After we have done all that is felt humanly possible, if the reader does not yet show signs of accepting God's truth, it may be that we must discontinue our studies. Perhaps at a later date some incident in the experience of these readers will cause them to decide for Christ. Perhaps another worker coming in contact with them may be able to help them to take their stand. God has told us, "Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days." We may never see the result of our labors until we enter the gates of the New Jerusalem, but we can be sure that no soul who desires to be saved will be lost.