Workers are needed who are not moved by wages and yet there are others who are receiving and demanding wages yet not laboring for souls:

 

To Captain C. Eldridge

My brother, in your letter you speak of leaving the Review Office. I am sorry that you can be willing to separate from the work for the reasons you mention. They reveal that you have a much deeper experience to gain than you now have. Your faith is very weak. Other families, much larger than yours, sustain themselves, without one word of complaint, on half the wages you have. We have been over the ground, and I know what I am talking about. It is evident that whether you remain in the Review Office or separate from it you have lessons to learn that will be of the highest interest to you. I do not feel at liberty to urge you to remain; for unless you drink deeper of the Fountain of living waters, your service will not be acceptable to God.  {1888 1105.1} {Lt20a-1893}

 

Herein lies a most important lesson for God’s people today,–a lesson that many are slow to learn. The spirit of covetousness, of seeking for the highest position and the highest wage, is rife in the world. The old-time spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice is too seldom met with. But this is the only spirit that can actuate a true follower of Jesus. Our divine Master has given us an example of how we are to work. And to those whom he bade, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men,” he offered no stated sum as a reward for their services. They were to share with him his self-denial and sacrifice.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 10}

 

Those who claim to be followers of the Master Worker, and who engage in his service as colaborers with God, are to bring into their work the exactitude and skill, the tact and wisdom, that the God of perfection required in the building of the earthly tabernacle. And now, as in that time and as in the days of Christ’s earthly ministry, devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice should be regarded as the first requisites of acceptable service. God designs that not one thread of selfishness shall be woven into his work.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 11}

 

Great care should be taken in regard to the spirit pervading the Lord’s institutions. These institutions were founded in self-sacrifice, and have been built up by the self-denying gifts of God’s people and the unselfish labor of his servants. Everything connected with institutional service should bear the signature of heaven. A sense of the sacredness of God’s institution should be encouraged and cultivated. The workers are to humble their hearts before the Lord, acknowledging his sovereignty. All are to live in accordance with principles of self-denial. As the true, self-sacrificing laborer, with his spiritual lamp trimmed and burning, strives unselfishly to advance the interests of the institution in which he is working, he will have a precious experience, and will be able to say, “The Lord indeed is in this place.” He will feel that he is highly privileged in being permitted to give to the Lord’s institution his ability, his service, and his unwearying vigilance.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 12}

 

In the early days of the third angel’s message those who established our institutions, and those who labored in them, were actuated by high motives of unselfishness. For their arduous labors they received no more than a mere pittance–barely enough for a meager support. But their hearts were baptized with the ministry of love. The reward of whole-souled liberality was apparent in their close fellowship with the Spirit of the Master Worker. They practised the closest economy, in order that as many other laborers as possible might be planting the standard of truth in new places.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 13}

 

But in time a change came. The spirit of sacrifice was not so manifest. In some of our institutions the wages of a few workers was increased beyond reason. Those who received these wages claimed that they deserved a greater sum than others, because of their superior talents. But who gave them their talents, their ability? With the increase of wages came a steady increase of covetousness, which is idolatry, and a steady decline of spirituality. Gross evils crept in, and God was dishonored. The minds of many who witnessed this grasping after higher and still higher wages, were leavened with doubt and unbelief. Strange principles, like evil leaven, permeated nearly the entire body of believers. Many ceased to deny self, and not a few withheld their tithes and offerings.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 14}

 

God in his providence called for a reform in his sacred work, which should begin at the heart, and work outwardly. Some who blindly continued to place a high estimate upon their services, were removed. Others received the message given to them, turned to God with full purpose of heart, and learned to abhor their covetous spirit. So far as possible, they endeavored to set a right example before the people by voluntarily reducing their wages. They realized that nothing less than complete transformation in mind and heart would save them from being swept off their feet by some masterly temptation.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 15}

 

The work of God in all its wide extent is one, and the same principles should control, the same spirit be revealed, in all its branches. It must bear the stamp of missionary work. Every department of the cause is related to all parts of the gospel field, and the spirit that controls one department will be felt throughout the entire field. If a portion of the workers receive large wages, there are others, in different branches of the work, who will call for higher wages, and the spirit of self-sacrifice will gradually be lost sight of. Other institutions and conferences will catch the same spirit, and the Lord’s favor will be removed from them; for he can never sanction selfishness. Thus our aggressive work would come to an end. Only by constant sacrifice can it be carried forward.  {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 16}

 

God will test the faith of every soul. Christ has purchased us at an infinite sacrifice. Although he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might come into possession of eternal riches. All that we possess of ability and intellect has been lent us in trust by the Lord, to use for him. It is our privilege to be partakers with Christ in his sacrifice. {RH, January 4, 1906 par. 17}

 

The sharp contrast between the spirit and motives of the people building the wilderness tabernacle, and of those engaged in erecting Solomon’s temple, has a lesson of deep significance. The self-seeking that characterized the workers on the temple finds its counterpart today in the selfishness that rules in the world. The spirit of covetousness, of seeking for the highest position and the highest wage, is rife. The willing service and joyous self-denial of the tabernacle workers is seldom met with. But this is the only spirit that should actuate the followers of Jesus. Our divine Master has given an example of how His disciples are to work. To those whom He bade, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19), He offered no stated sum as a reward for their services. They were to share with Him in self-denial and sacrifice.  {PK 64.3}

 

Not for the wages we receive are we to labor. The motive that prompts us to work for God should have in it nothing akin to self-serving. Unselfish devotion and a spirit of sacrifice have always been and always will be the first requisite of acceptable service. Our Lord and Master designs that not one thread of selfishness shall be woven into His work. Into our efforts we are to bring the tact and skill, the exactitude and wisdom, that the God of perfection required of the builders of the earthly tabernacle; yet in all our labors we are to remember that the greatest talents or the most splendid services are acceptable only when self is laid upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice.  {PK 65.1}

 

Wages without Souls

There is need of a great reformation in our ranks. The ministers who are drawing pay from the conference need to ask themselves the question, Am I a faithful worker? Am I a spiritual help to the church? There are those who demand high wages for their labors, but who bring few souls into the truth to stand steadfast and true to its principles. It is time for our ministers to humble their hearts before the Lord, and bear a straight, convincing testimony to the people. It is time for them to labor earnestly to increase the membership of the churches, leading all to a thorough understanding of the truth, for this time. The Lord wants living members in his church, men and women who will encourage one another in faithful service. (Signed) Ellen G. White. {SpM 437.3}

 

We need to branch out more in our methods of labor; not a hand should be bound; not a soul discouraged; not a voice should be hushed; let every individual labor privately or publicly to help forward the work. Place the burden upon men and women of the church that they may grow by reason of exercise, and thus become efficient agencies in the hand of the Lord for the enlightenment of those who sit in darkness. {SpM 438.1}

 

There has been so much preaching to our churches that they have almost ceased to appreciate the gospel ministry. The time has come when this order of things should be changed. Let the minister call out the individual church members to help him by house-to-house work, to carry the truth into regions beyond. Mrs. E. G. White. {SpM 438.2}

 

God’s servants must not be idlers, but must work diligently to win souls. One soul saved is of more consequence than all the riches of the world. Let our church members ask themselves the question, Do I improve my opportunities? What fruit am I bearing to the glory of God? {SpM 439.1}

 

We see determined efforts being made to establish the first day of the week as the Sabbath for all the world, in place of the Sabbath of the Lord. And while this is being done, a work is going forward in the councils of heaven to bring advantages to the people who believe and obey the word of the Lord. {SpM 440.2}

 

All parts of our country are to be warned of the time in which we live. As schools are established in new localities, many will become acquainted with the reasons of our faith. In planning our school work, we are to work to benefit both believers and unbelievers, that the truth may come to the homes of many who are now in ignorance of it. {SpM 440.4}

 

Let the work of dividing be carefully and prayerfully considered. Properties will be offered for sale in the rural districts at a price below the real cost, because the owners desire city advantages, and it is these rural locations that we desire to obtain for our schools, that the students may be away from the temptations of city life. If in these places there is land to be worked and buildings to be erected, this work will be of great benefit to the students. When driven from the cities, or when sent to other countries, the trades learned in our school may be made an influence in favor of the truth. {SpM 440.5} As we divide our schools, we should seek to make them more and more like the schools of the prophets. More and more we are to make the Bible the great lesson book. Wherever our schools are established now, the students are to become most thorough students of the Bible. If they will become doers of the Word, if they will dig deep, laying their foundations sure to obedience to all the requirements of God, they will be preparing to graduate to the higher school. Ellen G. White. {SpM 440.6}

 

Blessings

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