BIGNESS OF HEART
The milk of human kindness is more than a reward within itself.
The official of today often finds himself the district pastor of tomorrow. Time is a great equalizer. There is real substance in the proverb, "Treat with kindness those with whom you deal today, for one does not know whose hand will turn the wheel of destiny tomorrow." It is a thing of beauty at workers' gatherings to see veteran ministers honored and universally respected by men who were formerly their subordinates.
This is the inevitable reward of the man "with a heart."
WHAT IS "MEDICAL" MISSIONARY WORK?
I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work. . . . You will never be ministers after the gospel order till you show a decided interest in medical missionary work, the gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening."—Counsels on Health, p. 533.
These meaningful words challenge every minister. But must each of us actually become a nurse or a health lecturer? While some of us know the principles of hydrotherapy, and others are adept at giving health talks, yet is this what these words mean?
A wider application is implied in the term "medical missionary work" as revealed in the closing words of the quoted statement. Note—"healing and blessing and strengthening."
In the footnote on page 36 of Welfare Ministry the compilers draw attention to this wider meaning in the statement:
"The reader should bear in mind that the term 'medical missionary work' as often employed by Mrs. White stretched far beyond the bounds of professional medical service to embody all acts of mercy and disinterested kindness."
While we would not minimize the importance of recognized medical work in the least, yet here is something to ponder.
During those centuries when the Waldenses and others went forth as true witnesses for Christ they appeared as salesmen, tradesmen, and general helpers, because these services gave them opportunity to talk of Jesus and His love. By this means they kept alive the torch of truth when the world was enveloped in spiritual darkness.
In these last days we are assured that sympathetic, compassionate service—real medical missionary work carried forward in ministerial lines—will accomplish more than our keenest arguments. Moreover this is the work that costs only a measure of the milk of human kindness in carrying out the principles of genuine religion as outlined in Isaiah 58:6, 7, where "is set forth the very spirit and character of the work of Christ."—The Desire of Ages, p. 278.
Undoubtedly the closing scenes of earth's history will see the ministry and the people of God engaging more and more in this type of ministry.
The science of "making an appeal" should be the constant study of every minister. Many souls, convinced of the truthfulness of our message, do not act Godward because the messenger did not reach the heart. It is unthinkable that a good salesman should faithfully canvass the prospect, and because a decision was not immediate, pocket his folder and rush to the next home. The man who sold me an electric iron that I didn't want certainly didn't do it that way.
We are living in a restless age. Even good men need more grace to wait on the Lord. Lest some become critical of the burdened evangelist when he occasionally is led of God to make a timely appeal, or perhaps tie his hands to the promptings of the Spirit, let us believe God's word that men and women need to be labored with to obey the truth.
While this is no plea for protracted services, it is a mild protest against a growing tendency to tie the Holy Spirit to the hands of a clock. This is sometimes done by sincere individuals whose duties may not require the discharging of the soul burden resting on the hearts of true evangelists. Often much of that portion of the sermon that appeals to the intellect can be sacrificed to that portion that appeals to the heart.
The ministerial book club provides at least four choice volumes per year, but—will not he who reads only four volumes a year, and scarcely these, face his conscience with intellectual embarrassment? A world of information and inspiration lies at our finger tips. What excuse will measure our limitations should we fail to reach the high standard God has set for every worker among us? Should the goal be anything short of a book a month? Or better still, why not consider this a friendly invitation to aim toward joining the ranks of those successful men and women who average a book a week?