ONE OF the greatest challenges be fore the workers and members in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today is to follow up the amazing number of interests in the message existent in most parts of the world. Did you ever stop to think of the seed that has been sown just during the past ten years—every seed a potential head of grain for the harvest?
Recently I requested the leaders of our General Conference departments to let me have a look into their "seedbeds." What I discovered thrilled my heart and challenged my thinking—and my acting. Here are some of the amazing facts I discovered—reports of what the lay members of our church have done during this past decade. To this, of course, must be added the huge report that should come from the work of our ordained and licensed ministers.
1. More than 260 million missionary contacts have been made by young and old believers working through several departments. Think of the doors that have been opened!
2. Some 595 million pieces of message literature have been given away. In one State every home in three counties has been given The Desire of Ages, Steps to Christ, or The Great Controversy. What a prospect for the harvest!
3. More than 94 million persons have been helped through our Community Services to those in need. Add to this 125 million pieces of clothing given by our Dorcas Welfare workers. Try to estimate if you are able the vast reservoir of good will, even Christian love, created by this Christlike helping hand.
4. Almost 100 million Bible studies have been reported by the Lay Activities and the Youth departments. More than 7 million Bible correspondence school enrollments are reported by three departments.
5. Our literature evangelists have delivered more than 517 million dollars' worth of truth-filled literature during this past decade. They have contacted more than 600,000 former Seventh-day Adventists, and prayed in nearly 7 mil lion homes.
6. The Temperance Department has been busy selling and giving away literature, conducting Five-Day Plans to Stop Smoking (nearly 10,000 such meetings have enabled some 11 million fortunate people to kick the filthy habit).
7. The Sabbath school workers have been majoring in both soul conquest and soul conservation. Their branch Sabbath schools and Vacation Bible Schools have created tremendous interest in the message.
Then, of course, there are Seventh-day Adventist health-care institutions, our schools, and food factories—all of these institutions are mighty agencies for truth. Here the sick and the afflicted, young men and women, boys and girls, the seekers after health, have found Christ as Lord and as the Great Physician, and also have found His last-day message.
Add it all up and then place these prospects in the light of God's assurance as found in Isaiah 55:11: "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
What a promise! What a prospect! Would not Jesus say to us today what He said to His disciples two millenniums ago: "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? be hold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35)?
As Elder Bruce Wickwire said recently, "Truly, the harvest is ripe. It is time for the reapers to move in and gather in the golden grain." This is in deed the day of the harvest.
This is the day for us to faithfully and prayerfully seek out and follow up every potential interest created by denominationally employed workers and laymen alike during the past decade. It must not matter who gets the credit who did the sowing or who does the reaping. What matters is that the harvest is gathered NOW!
Every worker should be prayerfully and thoroughly preparing every reaper in his congregation to move in and be come reapers for God. What are you doing in your church, in your community, to follow up the interests that have been lying latent or developing as the result of massive sowing the past decade?