Words of Comfort to Veterans in the Cause
The history of John affords a striking illustration of the way in which God can use aged workers. When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labor, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos he made friends and converts. . . . And it was after John had grown old . . . that he received more communications from heaven than he had received during the rest of his lifetime.
The most tender regard should be cherished for those whose life interest has been bound up with the work of God. These aged workers have stood faithful amid storm and trial. They may have infirmities, but they still possess talents that qualify them to stand in their place in God's cause. Though worn, and unable to bear the heavier burdens that younger men can and should carry, the counsel that they can give is of the highest value.
They may have made mistakes, but from their failures they have learned to avoid errors and dangers, and are they not therefore competent to give wise counsel? They have borne test and trial, and though they have lost some of their vigor, the Lord does not lay them aside. He gives them special grace and wisdom.
Those who have served their Master when the work went hard, who endured poverty, and remained faithful when there were few to stand for truth, are to be honored and respected. The Lord desires the younger laborers to gain wisdom, strength, and maturity by association with these faithful men. Let the younger men realize that in having such workers among them they are highly favored. Let them give them an honored place in their councils.
As those who have spent their lives in the service of Christ draw near to the close of their earthly ministry, they will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to recount the experiences that they have had in connection with His work. The record of His wonderful dealings with His people, of His great goodness in delivering them from trial, should be repeated to those newly come to the faith. God desires the old and tried laborers to stand in their place, doing their part to save men and women from being swept downward by the mighty current of evil. He desires them to keep the armor on till He bids them lay it down.—ELLEN G. WHITE in Review and Herald, Sept. 12, 1912. (See Acts of the Apostles, pp. 572-574,)
Straight From the Heart!
By: R. Allan Anderson
Our approach to error must not be a head- on collision. It is easy to denounce. It requires neither genius nor love to do that. But to find one's way into people's hearts, win their confidence and affection, then lead them out of their error into truth—that truly is a challenge.
The frontal attack—giving it "straight from the shoulder"—might be thought by some to be strong preaching. But .people are not won to Christ by giving it straight from the shoulder. Instead the message must come straight from the heart. It must be the outflowing of a deep love. And love has a language of its own.
The frontal attack is doomed to failure for two reasons. First, we lose the confidence of those we are trying to win. And second, the victory is not permanent. "He that complies against his will, is of his own opinion still." Though we must be positive, we must deter mine never to be destructive.
The apostles had wonderful things to preach, but if they had begun their evangelistic programs by a denunciation of all the pagan gods, what success would they have had? Instead they held up Jesus. "Look what we have found," they cried. "We have come to bring you glad tidings." The gospel was good news, not just good advice. Those preachers of another day came as heralds of happiness bringing good news. And that must always be in the fore ground of our preaching. The apostolic way of overcoming error was by the proclamation of the glad tidings. "Be hot overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good," said the great apostle. Do not let us approach the people by hitting them over the head with heavy testimonies and then condemning them because they don't believe as we do. Rather, let us show them a better way. Then old habits and customs will fall away silently as do the old leaves of autumn when touched by the sap of the new life.