To Every Man His Work
For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. Matthew 25:14.
Our lifetime is precious, and every action should be considered. It has been granted us that we might, if we will lay hold of it in the right spirit, accomplish a work that will be acknowledged by the Lord as good, enduring as eternity. It is an intensely solemn thing to live in view of the account we must render to God of our time, our talents, and our influence. These are precious things, talents that are not to be buried in the earth, but used. We are not to hide our talents, they are God’s entrusted gifts for wise improvement, that they may accumulate in His service, and that at His coming He may receive His own with usury.
No man is called by God, in the use of the talents entrusted to him, to lay off his individual responsibility that another man may do his trading for him. To every man God has given his work, and man is accountable to God for how that work is done. The soul that accepts the great trust that God has given him, cannot transfer that talent to another. No man can transfer his influence to another person, to serve for him, or to be mind or judgment for him.
We are each in the service of God. He is our Teacher, and every lesson He shall give is to be appreciated and acted upon. We are not called upon to give account of our talents to man, but to God. Our mind, our judgment, our tact, our wisdom, all are given to us of God to be improved for Him, and it is God who will call us to account for the way in which we have used His gifts….
The period of life in every case is beset with temptations, and it is through faith in Jesus Christ alone that we shall find grace to help in every time of need. But each worker has a life to live, a character to form. Each period of life brings with the passing years some special opportunities for work; and each advancing year must be made use of, improved to the very best of human capability. This, with the aid of divine agencies, will show improvement, advancement onward and upward, walking step by step in a safe path heavenward.—Manuscript 28, October 4, 1896, to “Those Concerned in Publishing Mount of Blessing.”
The Great Commandment
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Matthew 22:36.
Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another, these are the two great arms upon which hang all the law and the prophets. A good tree produces good fruit. The evidence of love for Christ is the manifestation of love for one another. Unselfish love for those around us is placed among the brightest evidences of true religion. By it a daily witness in Christ’s favor is borne to the world.
The appetites and passions must be subdued and controlled, that the nerves may be steady and the brain able to see duty clearly. This can be done through divine grace. The gospel of Christ is the voice of duty and the voice of God.
What is meant by a failure to obey it is seen in the history of Satan, who for his disobedience was cast out of heaven. The greatest talents and the highest gifts that could be bestowed on a created being were given to Lucifer, the covering cherub. Before his fall he was a glorious being, occupying a position next to Christ, but he sought to be equal with God, and brought upon himself irretrievable ruin.
With this lesson before us, let us hide ourselves in Christ. He is the source of all wisdom, all intelligence, all power. Behold in the cross of Christ the only guarantee for our salvation. Behold the Saviour giving His life for us, that we might be Christians. Those who strive to live the life of a Christian are battling against the devil’s lie. Can we doubt the result of this conflict? God lives, God reigns, and daily He is working His miracles. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:24). Before the world and the heavenly universe they give evidence that they are trying to live out the words, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; …think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, these are the fruits of the Christian tree.—Letter 21, 1901, written October 5, 1900, to an evangelist in New York City.
Practice Run for Heaven
Learn first to shew piety at home. 1 Timothy 5:4.
It has become customary in many families, with parents as well as with children, to be more pleasant when in the society of others than in their own home. This is not the plan that God has devised for parents and children. Save some of your smiles and praise and courtesy for the home circle. You should strive to be tender, thoughtful, kind, to exercise Christian politeness in the home. The gracious spirit of home religion is to be cultivated….
Christ never spoke a harsh or an unkind word. When tempted by His associates to do wrong, He would sing from the Psalm, or by some word of Scripture would discourage the enemy. Do not be ashamed to learn of Christ. He invites you, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29, 30). When you feel provoked to anger consider that in manifesting this spirit, you are not wearing the yoke of Christ, which is one of obedience, restraint, service.
Parents and children, bear this in mind, that the true followers of Christ will make their home as nearly as possible a symbol of the home above, for in doing this they are coworkers with Christ to carry out the laws of His kingdom. Read the prayer that Christ taught His disciples. Live that prayer. It is a whole sermon for all who would practice it. We have something to ask of Jesus. We have great wants and great necessities, which He alone can supply. The prayer which Christ taught His disciples covers all these needs. We want pardon, forgiveness; but we can have it only as we shall pardon and forgive others.
Christ invites your confidence. Of yourself you can do nothing. You cannot be kind, true, courteous, unselfish, without the Holy Spirit’s help…. Study the life of Christ, and practice in the home life those things which you know will be required of you in the heavenly life, in the society of the heavenly family. In the home circle here we may practice our manners for the family above.—Manuscript 125, October 6, 1898, “Education in the Home.”