Every worker in the cause of God, irrespective of the place or position he occupies, must recognize the spiritual implications of his calling. There is no phase of our denominational activity, no department of our work, that does not have its spiritual connotations. Therefore, in selecting workers, spirituality is the prime requisite. Within certain limits, even skill and efficiency are sacrificed for this chief and paramount requirement.
"He is a spiritual man" is one of the finest things that can be said of an Adventist worker. Certain vital characteristics are evidenced if he lives up to the fullest implication of the term. He is dedicated to his calling. He is a lover and a respecter of people. He is conscious of his relationship to God, and the meaning of constant growth in grace. He is even tempered. He is an asset to the work. He is not a liability —never a problem. He is on his way to the great heights of true humility and power, and the worthy fulfillment of his divinely appointed calling. He follows in the footsteps of John the Baptist, that worthy example of spiritual workers, who, in all sincerity, could say when tempted to cherish a spirit of jealousy and self-exaltation, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). He did decrease before men, but he rose highly in the estimation of Heaven. Not a greater man was ever born than he, according to the evaluation of John by the Lord Himself.
Habits of Spiritual Living
It is urgent for those who have entered the ranks of the church as workers, to establish and practice habits of spiritual living that will mean constant advancement as individuals and also as workers. Where can a worker turn today for safe guidance and dependable correction? It is a day of confusion and of multitudinous voices. A babel of spoken and written messages press in upon us from every direction—television, books, and magazines—all clamoring for recognition and claiming to be authoritative guides to increased power and deeper spiritual light. We live in an age of spiritual tumult and turmoil. People profess more religion and know less about it than in any preceding age. "He is very fervent about an indefinite religion" was said regarding a certain public character in political life. Fervor, no matter how intense, about something indefinite results only in increased confusion. As workers, we must be both fervent and definite, moving in an assured direction.
Great Value of the Spirit of Prophecy
Seventh-day Adventists are fortunate above all people in having in their midst the Spirit of prophecy, verily a gift from Heaven. Clearly and reliably it guides through this maze of uncertainty. With assurance, it points the way to deeper spiritual life and larger service for God. 'We turn, for example, to that excellent little volume, Gospel Workers, a compilation from a wide field of inspired writings, counsel, and admonition for the Adventist worker's life and activity. The very first section of the table of contents is entitled, "Called With a Holy Calling." It causes one to pause and stand in awe before the solemnity of the vocation to which a worker in this cause has been called. Penetrating and challenging subjects follow in the same section, such as, "In Christ's Stead," "The Sacredness of the Work," "The Field Is the World," "The Minister's Responsibility," and "The Outlook." If we had no more than this one section from the pen of inspiration available for workers, we would be greatly enriched in counsel. But there is more, very much more, for the worker.
"Your church has far outgrown ours although both our churches began about the same time," remarked a minister of another denomination to us a while back. "I have tried to analyze the reason," he continued, "and I think it is because you have had better trained leaders and workers." The analysis of this minister was correct. Our workers and leaders have been better prepared. Where have they secured this better preparation? In our schools? Yes, partly. But our real education for service has come largely from the pen of the messenger of the Lord to this people. Here our workers have found much inspiration. In this source they have found guidance for the proper conducting of the work of the Lord. As, by God's grace, they have endeavored to heed and faithfully follow this instruction, they have moved forward in strength. As we, as workers, continue to adhere to this inspired counsel, we shall go forward from strength to ever greater strength.
Our Need of Daily Communion
More than thirty years ago I discovered and carefully marked, on page 100 of Gospel Workers, a gem that I consider a keynote admonition to Adventist workers everywhere. During the past three decades I have often turned back to it. It is as timely and up-to-date now as when first written.
In the great conflict before us, he who would keep true to Christ must penetrate deeper than the opinions and doctrines of men. My message to ministers, young and old, is this: Guard jealously ).ciur hours for prayer, Bible study, and self-examination. Set aside a portion of each day for a study of the Scriptures and communion with God. . . He alone can give you noble aspirations; He alone can fashion the character after the divine similitude. Draw near to Him in earnest prayer, and He will fill your hearts with high and holy purposes, and with deep, earnest longings for purity and clearness of thought.
No worker heeding this admonition can remain common or ordinary. He is bound to become fruitful in his labors and triumphant in his living.
As I have come in contact with our workers I have been impressed by the high esteem in which the writings of the Spirit of prophecy are held. This augurs well for the future of our work around the world.
Let us therefore avail ourselves to the utmost of this divinely appointed source of good counsel. It is a valuable help in our growth "in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." If we cherish and faithfully follow this inspired counsel, we shall by God's grace be "neither barren nor unfruitful."