Finishing the Work

FEATURES: Finishing the Work

President, Columbia Union Conference

Jesus has set us a wonderful example by His whole- hearted attitude toward the divine task of world evangelism. "My meat," He declared, "is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." John 4:34. Our present work as God's messengers should be done in the same earnest spirit and with the same holy determination. Then the gospel work will soon be finished.

It is one thing for a worker to be just busy active, you know; it is quite another thing to be busy and consistently active in his determination actually to finish the assigned task. One attitude is simply to keep working; the other is to work with a purpose. It is more than doing something; it is doing something now so as to accomplish a long overdue task. One attitude is to be busy for self-gratification; the other is to be busy for the glory of God. It dare not be that we work for temporal remuneration and glory; it must be that we work to save souls. One type of service is working without any goal in mind; the acceptable service is to work toward a goal that of warning judgment-bound souls to escape the wrath to come. The first type is not prompted by a compelling love; the other reveals a driving passion and warm love for lost souls.

Surely in our ministry for lost souls we should not only do our work well but also do it with a spirit to complete the task gloriously and quickly. Workers of the last-hour message must not measure their task by an eight-hour system. That is the attitude of men and women employed in worldly pursuits. They are more concerned about permanent employment and steady financial income than they are about completing the job. As gospel workers we must see beyond the remuneration within an eight-hour system; we must envision the urgent need of perishing souls. They must be saved today, for tomorrow may be forever too late. Our God-appointed task is now an unfinished work. We are far behind in completing God's work.

"If every soldier of Christ had done his duty, if every watchman on the walls of Zion had given the trumpet a certain sound, the world might ere this have heard the message of warning. But the work is years behind." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 29.

Again we read that if we had done our duty "in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God." —Ibid., vol. 6, p. 450.

Not only are we behind time in finishing our task, but all heaven is anxiously and eagerly waiting for us now to do more than we have been doing.

"All heaven is looking with intense interest upon the church, to see what her individual members are doing to enlighten those who are in darkness." Christian Service, p. 89.

Jesus definitely warned the church against the danger of not finishing her task on time. He wants a completed work. (Luke 14: 27-33.) Only when it is finished shall we hear the "Well done" said to us.

The Parable of the Talents

Consider well the Bible parable of the talents. Talents were given to three servants for one purpose that they might put these talents to use. To the first servant the master gave five talents, to the second two, and to the third one. After a prolonged absence the master returned to reckon with these servants.

The first stated that he had put the talents to use and was ready to present five other talents. He had finished the task as signed to him. According to the King James Version, he told his whole story in sixteen words, for which the master commended him in thirty words. Now, observe that the same was true with the second servant. He also told his story using only sixteen words. His master's joyous reply, "Well done," was again given in thirty words. Not only did these two servants do their work well, but they finished the assigned task.

But what about the third servant? He complained, he grumbled, he blamed his master for being unfair and far too exacting. It required no less than forty-three words to explain why his job was not finished. Did he hear the master's "Well done" said to him? No; he heard words of condemnation instead.

Now, isn't it true, fellow workers, that the less we do, the more we need to explain? But when the job is well done finished, completed we need not make lengthy explanations. The finished work speaks for itself. It did for Jesus. That is the reason He could declare, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." John 17:4.

Brethren, here is a duty challenging our serious reflections. When we come to the end of all our efforts, and the final song of triumph is sung, I believe that all those who join in that victory chorus will sing with a spirit of satisfaction. Like the old gospel warrior, we will have fought a good fight, and have finished our course, and have kept the faith. The crown of righteousness that has been laid up for the over- comers of all the ages will then be ours. Having loved His appearing, we will enter into the joys of our eternal reward.

While our present gospel task is not be coming any easier, and the hours of probation are fast slipping away, shall we not bring a new spirit into our work by recognizing the urgency of a message that is already so long overdue? Dear fellow workers, it is now high time that God's work on earth should not be merely progressing well. It must be finished! He is counting on you and me! Shall we each endeavor by His grace to join all heaven in the speedy finishing of it, that we might enter into our reward?



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President, Columbia Union Conference

March 1952

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