EVERY type of profession or service presents some problems, whether our work is of a ministerial or secular nature. Because the very nature of the Bible work requires a close contact with sin. and sinners, we may expect opposition. The important lesson for the gospel worker to learn, therefore, is how to meet disappointments.
Christ has endowed His church with every enabling grace to meet human weaknesses and obstacles from without. As the worker seriously considers the source of his strength he should not allow himself to become frustrated; he should always maintain a trustful and courageous attitude toward his work. Without a buoyant hope, however, the Bible work would at times present strain that tends to discouragement, frustration, and defeatism. It is not the only line of gospel service that feels the assaults of Satan; but the Bible instructor is attacked with greater force and more frequently than if he served in a more sheltered environment. And why? Because in almost every home he finds acute situations to be dealt with. Whether man or woman, the Bible instructor suffers vicariously with the families he is helping. This is a great drain on the worker physically. He (or she) must draw heavily from the Source of enabling grace so that he may instruct every afflicted soul to carry his burdens to the great Burden Bearer.
Constantly Looking Up
The theory of maintaining a cheerful attitude under all circumstances is not the only solution to Bible work pressures, which grow more taxing as the days slip away. The very fact that conditions in the world are becoming increasingly worse is not cheering to anyone, especially to a conscientious hard worker. Should he yield to a depressed spirit, his work might become most taxing.
It should rarely be necessary, however, for one who is dedicated to the Bible work to seek professional psychological counsel. In the comforting guidance supplied to God's people by the Spirit of Prophecy we may find a true source of strength to meet every personal problem, and to learn how to guide those for whom we must labor.
Do we seek a daily infilling to meet the perplexities of our work calmly? Do we practice to gain the charming poise that characterizes every true Christian? Or is it possible that we carry a wan professional smile from home to home without the reflection of the surrendered life from within? Do we tend to become so hurried in our activities for the kingdom that we often fail to "tarry" for the power from on high? Or do we daily charge our whole being with new courage, wisdom, and physical power by means of which we gain the poise our taxing tasks require?
Adjusting to Our Work
While the pressure of the growing work adds tensions to our daily responsibilities, another vital change on the worker's part is important. When the mind becomes weary the thinking becomes fuzzy, and our courage reaches a low ebb. This may be the time for the confused worker to seek the counsel of an understanding friend to help him look at his problem more objectively. While we would not want to make a practice of sharing our burdens, occasionally it pays to study them together in the open.
But what kind of friend should we choose? We will admit that such a counselor should be sympathetic, but not to the extent of babying our weaknesses. There should be understanding coupled with good judgment and experienced Christian living. Partners in the same work can be a great strength to each other. And what a comfort it is to have a good season of prayer together!
Whether we are ready to admit it or not, it is true that many of the annoyances we meet are caused by our poor planning. This oversight on our part brings inconvenience to others, and too often it develops into strained feelings. In an evangelistic team, and in our Bible work for those who are not yet dedicated Christians, happy relations are absolutely necessary. This is where a mediating friend can effect changes as vital as prayer itself.
A Change of Attitude
As in the days of the great prophet Elijah, God's servants will not be entirely immune to strain and tension. Some Jezebel with her prophets may supply the final threat that will send us exhausted to the juniper tree. Once there, we may long to flee from ourselves and from God. If our heavenly Father always dealt with us according to our impetuosity we might give up in discouragement; but He usually provides some friendly angel to cheer and comfort us, so that after a little rest we get back on our feet—just a little wiser than we were previously. In a humble and prayerful mood we find the destructive elements around us less terrifying, and the still small voice of God more comforting. This having been effected, our entire attitude toward our problems changes. Why? Because we have been on the mountain-top with God. We have been assured of victory ahead—and there is no more satisfying work for us than the Bible work!
Let the workers in this soul-winning profession keep looking up, for there is a new day dawning. The saints will soon be marching home, and what a joy it will be to bring with us the harvest of souls we have reaped for the Master! May we learn to live with our problems and to grow as we conquer them one by one.