THE Lord's people are to be as true as steel to principle. He has pointed out the work devolving on every church member. He declares that the church members are faithfully to do their duty to those within their own borders. They are generously to support their own poor. They are to engage in systematic missionary work, teaching their children to keep the way of the Lord, and to do judgment and justice.
But the light which for years has been before the churches has been disregarded. The work that ought to have been done for suffering humanity in every church has not been done. Church members have failed to heed the word of the Lord, and this has deprived them of an experience they should have gained in gospel work.
There is a great work to be done in the cities throughout the States, and especially in the cities of the Southern States, so many of which are unworked. In this work there are many difficulties to meet, and the Lord calls for wise and under standing workers, who will surmount these difficulties. Little can be done in large cities unless the workers are humble and teachable, daily looking to the Lord for guidance.
Many have stood off to criticise and condemn; but what have they done to help in the great necessity? Had those claiming to believe the truth taken up the work of health reform, and gone forth to do missionary work in the cities of the South, a harvest of souls would have been gathered for the Lord. . . . Missionary work— Christlike ministry for the suffering—this is the work that will re move the mist of ignorance and superstition which for so long has hung over the Southern field.
If God's workers had labored in new fields as they should, if they had done medical missionary work as they should, much fruit would now be seen in places that are yet barren. Had they sought the Lord diligently, He would have given them places in which to work.
The instruction the Lord has given me is that a field should not be shunned because it has objectionable features. This world was seared and marred by the curse, but still Christ came to it. He, the Son of the most high God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. He willingly left His high command to take His place at the head of a fallen race, becoming poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. He is the greatest medical missionary who ever blessed the world. He gave His disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way that souls would be made glad in the truth. Constantly He went about doing good, sympathizing with the weary, the heavy laden, the oppressed, feeding the hungry and healing the sick. By His loving words and kindly deeds, He interpreted the gospel. Intelligence and virtue marked His work. Benevolence, compassion, and love were revealed wherever He went. He gave His life to save the world. His example rebukes our half-hearted efforts. How can He ac knowledge us as laborers together with Him?
We read of Christ, "And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nepthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nepthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. . . . And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went through out all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."
The Lord continually performed deeds of loving ministry, and this every minister of the gospel should do. He has appointed us to be His ambassadors, to carry forward His work in the world. To every true, self-sacrificing worker is given the commission, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."
Read carefully the instruction given in the New Testament. The work that the Great Teacher did in connection with His disciples is the example we are to follow in our medical missionary work. But have we followed this example? The glad tidings of salvation are to be proclaimed in every village, town, and city. But where are the missionaries? In the name of God I ask, Where are the laborers together with God?
It is only by an unselfish interest in those in need of help that we can give a practical demonstration of the truths of the gospel. "If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
Much more than mere sermonizing is included in preaching the gospel. The ignorant are to be en lightened: the discouraged are to be uplifted; the sick are to be healed. The human voice is to act its part in God's work. Words of tenderness, sympathy, and love are to witness to the truth. Earnest, heartfelt prayers are to bring the angels near.
The evangelizing of the world is the work that God has given to those who go forth in His name. They are to be co-laborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish His tender, pitying love. Cod calls for thousands to work for Him, not by preaching to those who know the truth, going over and over the same ground, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work, with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving their physical suffering gives you opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.
The Lord will give you success in this work; for the gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is the true interpretation of the gospel.
Reprinted from the Review and Herald, March 4, 1902.