Chapter 1—God's Call to Service
Taken from Christian Service by Ellen G. White
Depending on Human Agents
As His representatives among men, God does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took humanity that He might reach humanity. A divine-human Saviour was needed to bring salvation to the world. And to men and women has been committed the sacred trust of making known “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”—The Acts of the Apostles, 134.
Look upon the touching scene. Behold the Majesty of heaven surrounded by the twelve whom He has chosen. He is about to set them apart for their work. By these feeble agencies, through His Word and Spirit, He designs to place salvation within the reach of all.—The Acts of the Apostles, 18.
“Send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon.” Thus God gave evidence of His regard for the gospel ministry and for His organized church. The angel was not commissioned to tell Cornelius the story of the cross. A man subject, even as the centurion himself, to human frailties and temptations, was to be the one to tell him of the crucified and risen Saviour.—The Acts of the Apostles, 134.
The angel sent to Philip could himself have done the work for the Ethiopian, but this is not God's way of working. It is His plan that men are to work for their fellow men.—The Acts of the Apostles, 109.
“We have this treasure,” the apostle continued, “in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” God could have proclaimed His truth through sinless angels, but this is not His plan. He chooses human beings, men compassed with infirmity, as instruments in the working out of His designs. The priceless treasure is placed in earthen vessels. Through men His blessings are to be conveyed to the world. Through them His glory is to shine forth into the darkness of sin. In loving ministry they are to meet the sinful and the needy, and lead them to the cross. And in all their work, they are to ascribe glory, honor, and praise to Him who is above all and over all.—The Acts of the Apostles, 330.
It was the Saviour's purpose that after He ascended to heaven to become man's intercessor, His followers should carry on the work that He had begun. Shall the human agent show no special interest in giving the light of the gospel message to those who sit in darkness? There are some who are willing to go to the ends of the earth in order to carry the light of truth to men, but God demands that every soul who knows the truth shall seek to win others to the love of the truth. If we are not willing to make special sacrifices in order to save souls that are ready to perish, how can we be counted worthy to enter into the city of God?—Testimonies for the Church 9:103.
In His wisdom the Lord brings those who are seeking for truth into touch with fellow beings who know the truth. It is the plan of Heaven that those who have received light shall impart it to those in darkness. Humanity, drawing its efficiency from the great Source of wisdom, is made the instrumentality, the working agency, through which the gospel exercises its transforming power on mind and heart.—The Acts of the Apostles, 134.
God could have reached His object in saving sinners without our aid; but in order for us to develop a character like Christ's, we must share in His work. In order to enter into His joy,—the joy of seeing souls redeemed by His sacrifice,—we must participate in His labors for their redemption.—The Desire of Ages, 142.
As His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man.—The Desire of Ages, 296.
With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our cooperation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God's love.—The Desire of Ages, 297.
We must be laborers together with God; for God will not complete His work without human agencies.—The Review and Herald, March 1, 1887.
A Call to the Individual
A distinct work is assigned to every Christian.—The Southern Watchman, August 2, 1904 (The Review and Herald, July 30, 1901).
God requires everyone to be a worker in His vineyard. You are to take up the work that has been placed in your charge, and to do it faithfully.—The Bible Echo, June 10, 1901 (The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888).
Were every one of you a living missionary, the message for this time would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to every people and nation and tongue.—Testimonies for the Church 6:438.
Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.—The Desire of Ages, 195.
God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has intrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods.—Testimonies for the Church 9:30.
Christ was standing only a few steps from the heavenly throne when He gave His commission to His disciples. Including as missionaries all who should believe on His name, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” God's power was to go with them.—The Southern Watchman, September 20, 1904 (The Review and Herald, October 6, 1896).
To save souls should be the life work of everyone who professes Christ. We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God, for the light which has shone upon us, and for the discovered beauty and power of the truth.—Testimonies for the Church 4:53.
Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul. Christ commits to His followers an individual work,—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.—The Ministry of Healing, 147.
Everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.—The Desire of Ages, 152.
To everyone work has been allotted, and no one can be a substitute for another. Each one has a mission of wonderful importance, which he cannot neglect or ignore, as the fulfilment of it involves the weal of some soul, and the neglect of it the woe of one for whom Christ died.—The Review and Herald, December 12, 1893.
We should all be workers together with God. No idlers are acknowledged as His servants. The members of the church should individually feel that the life and prosperity of the church are affected by their course of action.—The Review and Herald, February 15, 1887.
Every soul whom Christ has rescued is called to work in His name for the saving of the lost. This work had been neglected in Israel. Is it not neglected today by those who profess to be Christ's followers?—Christ's Object Lessons, 191.
It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Christ's Object Lessons, 69.
He who becomes a child of God should henceforth look upon himself as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ in His plan of mercy, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost.—The Ministry of Healing, 105.
All may find something to do. None need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Christ. The Saviour identifies Himself with every child of humanity.—The Ministry of Healing, 104.
Those who have united with the Lord in the covenant of service are under bonds to unite with Him in the great, grand work of soul saving.—Testimonies for the Church 7:19.
So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power.—Testimonies for the Church 9:47.
Men are instruments in the hand of God, employed by Him to accomplish His purposes of grace and mercy. Each has his part to act; to each is granted a measure of light, adapted to the necessities of his time and sufficient to enable him to perform the work which God has given him to do.—The Great Controversy, 343.
Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church, so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability.—The Acts of the Apostles, 111.
When He sent forth the twelve and afterward the seventy, to proclaim the kingdom of God, He was teaching them their duty to impart to others what He had made known to them. In all His work, He was training them for individual labor, to be extended as their numbers increased, and eventually to reach to the uttermost parts of the earth.—The Acts of the Apostles, 32.
Not upon the ordained minister only, rests the responsibility of going forth to fulfil this commission. Everyone who has received Christ is called to work for the salvation of his fellow men.—The Acts of the Apostles, 110.
The real character of the church is measured, not by the high profession she makes, not by the names enrolled upon the church book, but by what she is actually doing for the Master, by the number of her persevering, faithful workers. Personal interest and vigilant, individual effort will accomplish more for the cause of Christ than can be wrought by sermons or creeds.—The Review and Herald, September 6, 1881.
Wherever a church is established, all the members should engage actively in missionary work. They should visit every family in the neighborhood, and know their spiritual condition.—Testimonies for the Church 6:296.
The members of the church are not all called to labor in foreign lands, but all have a part to act in the great work of giving light to the world. The gospel of Christ is aggressive and diffusive. In the day of God not one will be excused for having been shut up to his own selfish interests. There is work for every mind and for every hand. There is a variety of work, adapted to different minds and varied capabilities.—Historical Sketches, 290, 291.
He has intrusted you with sacred truth; Christ abiding in the individual members of the church is a well of water springing up into everlasting life. You are guilty before God if you do not make every effort possible to dispense this living water to others.—Historical Sketches, 291.
We are not, as Christians, doing one-twentieth part that we might do in winning souls to Christ. There is a world to be warned, and every sincere Christian will be a guide and an example to others in faithfulness, in crossbearing, in prompt and vigorous action, in unswerving fidelity to the cause of truth, and sacrifices and labors to promote the cause of God.—The Review and Herald, August 23, 1881.
So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word: “Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.”—Testimonies for the Church 9:19, 20.
To everyone who becomes a partaker of His grace, the Lord appoints a work for others. Individually we are to stand in our lot and place, saying, “Here I am; send me.” Upon the minister of the word, the missionary nurse, the Christian physician, the individual Christian, whether he be merchant or farmer, professional man or mechanic,—the responsibility rests upon all. It is our work to reveal to men the gospel of their salvation. Every enterprise in which we engage should be a means to this end.—The Ministry of Healing, 148.
When the master of the house called his servants, he gave to every man his work. The whole family of God are included in the responsibility of using their Lord's goods. Every individual, from the lowest and most obscure to the greatest and most exalted, is a moral agent endowed with abilities for which he is accountable to God.—The Bible Echo, June 10, 1901 (The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888).