The Voice of Experience

How to deal with the problems incident to ministry of the church.

By an anonymous retired minister. 

[A few years ago one of our ministers received a wonder­fully encouraging letter from his father-in-law, a retired minister with a long experience to enforce his words. The letter impressed us as being worth reproduction here. Its counsels should help our workers everywhere as they face the problems incident to ministry of the church.—Editors.]


Although your nice letter wasn't for me, I read it, and from it think I have reasons for writing to you. First, I want to congratulate you on your good work since taking over there in_______ . I know that you have had your hands full and many problems, but you seem to be doing all right at it. Keep it up.

For a time I thought I would not give the $22.35 Minute Man goal to the Ingathering campaign this year, but I turned in my check for that sum yesterday and am glad I did so. I learned that 30 per cent of all funds spent for foreign missionary work tomes from the In-gathering campaigns, and I wouldn't want to be left out of it. And I had thought to cut down my Sabbath school offering somewhat, but this, too, I changed, and I shall give the same this year as last. You see, God hasn't taken a thing away from me, so why should I take from Him?

I know it seems that the emphasis is placed on money, but then, when I think that this emphasis is felt everywhere else, I can't believe it is worse in our church than elsewhere. It costs to keep a family going, to pay taxes, and why not to keep the church going also? So I thought it all out, and have decided that as far as I am concerned I shall make no exception with my church. If others spend the money unwisely, I am indeed sorry but not responsible. I figure those who do the spending are but human, as I am. I think of my many mistakes and thus try to excuse them if they really do make errors. I am tempted to believe they do at times, but when I am entirely without facts to support this belief, I lay it aside.

This I know, Edwin. The man who is hard put to accomplish a job finds means and ways by his hard efforts, and thus he grows, and in time he is offered something better. I say to you, ac­cept any and all punishment in the way of work that is placed on your shoulders and bend to the ground, if need be, to accomplish it. The busy man is the one to call upon for more work, not the idle one, and one's superior is bound in time to notice and promote a man who is always busy and willing, and because of his work brings in better results.

With all its failings, the Seventh-day Advent­ist Church is God's own church, with God's last message for mankind. Be happy that you have a part, even if a humble or arduous one, in taking this message to people in ________ . Cultivate every good trait, especially love for others, and pray about all weaknesses you may find in yourself or that others may seem to see in you. Don't get the idea that you are perfect, because there's no further growth to perfection, but be assured that you are very human. Recognize that everyone else is in the same fix, and don't be­come discouraged. Struggle and study, prayer after prayer, and the opening of your whole heart and being to God, as far as I know, is the only way to success. Hold the Book in your hands as often as possible, reading from its pages the many letters God has written to yor therein. Don't let success or the lack of it tum your mind from the main purpose. Keep work­ing along toward a goal, never giving up, never doubting, and someday the sun will shine forth to bring you a sight of success and happiness for your labors.

Remember that those above you know best what to order you to do or not to do, and follow instructions. If this is God's church, and it is, then those appointed to guide it must be God's also. If some aren't, He knows all about them and in season will turn them down. One's pres­ent duty is to follow orders, not to complain that they aren't just or are too hard or are im­possible. Nothing is impossible for the man who attacks, if God is with him. If you have to groan, do it with much care. Groans frighten others, particularly the youth. Young people should see smiles and hear encouraging words only. Even one's companion at times can't safely listen to our inner feelings, at least not until we have talked them over with God and had Him ease our mind and heart.

Why do I write this letter? I have been guilty of writing some disheartening things lately that I want to undo, because truly in my heart there is nothing disheartening about this message or its work in my life. It stands supreme for me. It has brought me through many sad and dis­couraging circumstances, and I mean to stick by it, to be carried to its glorious conclusion. I pray with all sincerity that it may serve you in such a manner also, even until the coming of Jesus, and through you to many others, includ­ing each member of your family.

So Edwin, my only son, with deep love I of­fer a deep prayer for your success in saving souls, and most important, for all your little ones and my very own beloved daughter and yourself.

With love, DADDY _______ 

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By an anonymous retired minister. 

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