One of the character- istics of our modern world is that we have lost the original purpose of day and night. But “God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4).
When I was a little boy there were some quiet villages where people disapproved of night shifts at workplaces. “Daytime is for work, nighttime is for rest,” they said. The old enemy of good things has been crafty: As the concept of daytime shifts is ceasing, nightspots are multiplying, destroying the love of daytime work in people. Different modern gadgets have crept into our homes and unfortunately have destroyed the good daily routine of many households. People are unable to work simply because they are exhausted by late nights. During the times of the patriarchs, people understood the meaning of day and night. They knew how to use their time well. The nighttime was devoted for rest and sleeping and the daytime for work and other activities. Jacob complained to Laban for the hardness of the nights of work that kept him without rest. “Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes” (Genesis 31:40).
David praised the Lord early in the morning: “Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early” (Psalm 108:2).
Jesus Himself made good use of the the light of the daytime: “In the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). He also pointed out who likes to work in the dark of night: “While men slept, [the] enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way” (Matthew 13:25).
God’s purpose for His chosen people
“Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee,and his glory shall be seen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:2).
“God had designed that His people should be the light of the world. From them was to shine forth the glory of His law as revealed in the life practice. For the carrying out of this design,
He had caused the chosen nation to occupy a strategic position among the nations of earth.”1
Through the prophets He warned them for not being faithful in this matter; “Hear the word of the Lord,
ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1).
“For centuries preceding Christ’s first advent, darkness covered the earth, and gross darkness the people. Satan was throwing his hellish shadow athwart the pathway of men, that he might prevent them from gaining a knowledge of God and of the future world. Multitudes were sitting in the shadow of death.
Their only hope was for this gloom to be lifted, that God might be revealed.”2
The working Jesus
David, the anointed of God, with prophetic eyes foresaw that the second coming of Christ would be “as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds” (2 Samuel 23:4). This was Hosea’s testimony: “His going forth is prepared as the morning” (6:3).
“Quietly and gently the daylight breaks upon the earth, dispelling the shadow of darkness and waking the earth to life. So was the Sun of Righ- teousness to arise, ‘with healing in His wings’ (Malachi 3:20). ‘The multitudes dwelling ‘in the land of the shadow of death’ were to see ‘a great light’ (Isaiah 9:2).”3
How was this promise fulfilled? Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5).
“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22).
“But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men” (Matthew 9:8).
“And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there” (Matthew 19:2).
“But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea: and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him. And he spake to his disciples,
that a small ship should wait on him because of the multitude, lest they should throng him. For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:7–11).
“Jesus watched with deep earnest- ness the changing countenances of His hearers. The faces that expressed interest and pleasure gave Him great satisfaction. As the arrows of truth pierced to the soul, breaking through the barriers of selfishness, and work- ing contrition, and finally gratitude, the Saviour was made glad. When His eye swept over the throng of listen- ers, and He recognized among them the faces He had before seen, His countenance lighted up with joy. He saw in them hopeful subjects for His kingdom.”4
Jesus calls to work
“When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scat- tered abroad, as sheep having no shep- herd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Mat- thew 9:36–38).
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptiz- ing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:18–20).
Was this call made only for the disciples?
“As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). What did this call involve? A mission. “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14).
Those who understand their mission need to possess this power, that through praise, gratitude, and happy service they will reflect the character of the great Giver and the law of that country where none “seeketh . . . her own.”
“The gems of truth that fell from Christ’s lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts. Forthem new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began. After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. They bore a message that appealed to the hearts of men, weakening the old superstitions that had long dwarfed the lives of thousands. Before their testimony human theories and philosophies became as idle fables. Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem.”5
Jesus said about Himself: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:4, 5).
“ ‘If any man walk in the day,’ He continued, ‘he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world’ (John 11:9). He who does the will of God, who walks in the path that God has marked out, cannot stumble and fall. The light of God’s guiding Spirit gives him a clear perception of his duty, and leads him aright till the close of his work. ‘But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him’(verse 10). He who walks in a path of his own choosing, where God has not called him, will stumble. For him day is turned into night, and wherever he may be, he is not secure.”6
“It suits the policy of Satan that men should retain the forms of religion if but the spirit of vital godliness is lacking.”7
“the spiritual darkness which falls upon nations, upon churches and individuals, is due, not to an arbitrary withdrawal of the succors of divine grace on the part of god, but to neglect or rejection of divine light on the part of men. A striking illustration of this truth is presented in the history of the Jewish people in the time of Christ. By their devotion to the world and forgetfulness of God and his Word, their understanding had become darkened, their hearts earthly and sensual. Thus they were in ignorance concerning Messiah’s advent, and in their pride and unbelief they rejected the Redeemer.”8
In the time of the disciples
After the ascension of Jesus and the fulfillment of the promised Holy Spirit, the disciples were able to testify about Christ with great power.
“Christ filled [the disciples] thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim. In mind and character they had become like their Master, and men ‘took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus’ (Acts 4:13). . . . They could speak the name of Jesus with assurance; for was He not their Friend and Elder Brother? Brought into close communion with Christ, they sat with Him in heavenly places. With what burning language they clothed their ideas as they bore witness for Him! Their hearts were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying to the power of Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to carry forward the work He had begun. They realized the greatness of their debt to heaven and the responsibility of their work. Strengthened by the endowment of the Holy Spirit, they went forth filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. The Spirit animated them and spoke through them. The peace of Christ shone from their faces. They had consecrated their lives to Him for service, and their very features bore evidence to the surrender they had made.”9
“In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age.”10
God can only bless the soul who cooperates with Him
“Like Christ, the messengers of the Most High today should take their position in these great thoroughfares, where they can meet the passing multitudes from all parts of the world. Like Him, hiding self in God, they are to sow the gospel seed, presenting before others the precious truths of Holy Scripture that will take deep root in mind and heart, and spring up unto life eternal.”11
The Lord’s messenger warns us: “I was shown that if God’s people make no efforts on their part, but wait for the refreshing to come upon them and remove their wrongs and correct their errors; if they depend upon that to cleanse them from filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and fit them to engage in the loud cry of the third angel, they will be found wanting.”12
“We may be sure that when the Holy Spirit is poured out those who did not receive and appreciate the early rain will not see or understand the value of the latter rain.”13
Who is to work? Everyone.
“While all heaven is astir, dispatch- ing messengers to all parts of the earth to carry forward the work of redemp- tion, the church of the living God are also to be colaborers with Jesus Christ. We are members of His mystical body. He is the Head, controlling all the members of the body. Jesus Himself, in His infinite mercy, is working on hu- man hearts, effecting spiritual transfor- mations so amazing that angels look on with astonishment and joy.”14
“If ever the Lord has spoken by me, He speaks when I say that the workers engaged in educational lines, in minis- terial lines, and in medical missionary lines must stand as a unit, all laboring under the supervision of God, one helping the other, each blessing each. Those connected with our schools and sanitariums are to labor with earnest alacrity. The work that is done under the ministration of the Holy Spirit, out of love for God and for humanity, will bear the divine signature and will make its impression on human minds. The Lord calls upon our young people to enter our schools and quickly fit themselves for service. In various places outside of cities, schools are to be es- tablished where our youth can receive an education that will prepare them to go forth to do evangelical work and medical missionary work.”15
“These women who are doing with ready willingness what their hands find to do, with cheerfulness of spirit aiding their husbands to bear their burdens and training their children for God, are missionaries in the high- est sense.”16
“Children and youth should be missionaries at home by doing those things that need to be done and that someone must do. . . . You can prove by faithful performance of the little things that seem to you unimport- ant that you have a true missionary spirit.”17
“When the Spirit of the Lord works upon the hearts of the parents, their prayers and tears will come up before God, and they will earnestly entreat, and will receive grace and wisdom from heaven, and will be able to work for their unconverted children. As this Spirit is manifested in the home, it will be brought into the church, and those who are home missionaries will also become agents for God in the church and in the world. The institutions which God has planted will bear an entirely different mold.”18
Christ is waiting for you
“The Lord calls for every talent and ability to be put to use. When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested; divine power will combine with human effort, the church will see the providential inter- positions of the Lord God of hosts, the light of truth will be diffused, the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. As in the apostles’ time, many souls will turn unto the Lord. The earth will be lighted with the glory of the angel from heaven. . . .
“If the wilderness of the church is to become as a fruitful field, and the fruitful field to be as a forest, it is through the Holy Spirit of God poured out upon His people. The heavenly agencies have long been waiting for the human agents, the members of the church, to cooperate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you. So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an agent of divine power. . . . Let all who believe the truth for this time put away their differences; put away envy and evil speaking and evil thinking. Press together, press together. ‘Seeing ye have purified your souls in obey- ing the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently’(1 Peter 1:22).”19
“Those who make no decided effort, but simply wait for the Holy Spirit to compel them to action, will perish in darkness. You are not to sit still and do nothing in the work of God.”20
This is the prophecy for our time: “When divine power is combined with human effort, the work will spread like fire in the stubble. God will employ agencies whose origin man will be unable to discern. Angels will do a work which men might have had the blessing of accomplishing had they not neglected to answer the claims of God.”21
“The angel who unites in the proclamation of the third angel’s message is to lighten the whole earth with his glory. A work of worldwide extent and unwonted power is here foretold. . . . Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven.”22
Dear brethren and sisters, let us work while there is daylight. It is not enough to accept the truth and to be part of God’s remnant church. Let us work while our Light “Jesus” is in the most holy place. Let us work while the Holy Spirit is working for us!
If we do not work . . .
“The period of great spiritual light, if that light is not sacredly cherished and acted upon, will be turned into a time of corresponding spiritual darkness. The impression made by the Spirit of God, if men do not cherish the sacred impression, and occupy holy ground, will fade from the mind. Those who would advance in spiritual knowledge must stand by the very fount of God, and drink again and again from the wells of salvation so graciously opened unto them. They must never leave the source of refreshment; but with hearts swelling with gratitude and love at the display of the goodness and compas- sion of God, they must be continually partakers of the living water.”23
“Self-righteousness is not true righteousness, and those who cling to it will be left to take the consequences of holding a fatal deception. Many today claim to obey the command- ments of God, but they have not the love of God in their hearts to flow forth to others. Christ calls them to unite with Him in His work for the saving of the world, but they content themselves with saying, ‘I go, sir.’ They do not go. They do not cooperate with those who are doing God’s service. They are idlers. Like the unfaithful son, they make false promises to God. In taking upon themselves the solemn covenant of the church they have pledged themselves to receive and obey the word of God, to give themselves to God’s service, but they do not do this. In profession they claim to be sons of God, but in life and character they deny the relationship. They do not surrender the will to God. They are living a lie.”24
“How many will mourn for lost opportunities when it is eternally too ate! Today we have talent and op- portunity, but we know not how long these may be ours. Then let us work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing’ (Luke 12:43).”25
“If you cultivate faithfully the vine- yard of your soul, God is making you a laborer together with Himself. And you will have a work to do not only for yourself, but for others. In repre- senting the church as the vineyard, Christ does not teach that we are to restrict our sympathies and labors to our own numbers. The Lord’s vineyard is to be enlarged. In all parts of the earth He desires it to be extended. As we receive the instruction and grace of God, we should impart to others a knowledge of how to care for the pre- cious plants. Thus we may extend the vineyard of the Lord. God is watching for evidence of our faith, love, and pa- tience. He looks to see if we are using every spiritual advantage to become skillful workers in His vineyard on earth, that we may enter the Paradise of God, that Eden home from which Adam and Eve were excluded by trans- gression.”26 R
1 Prophets and Kings, p. 70.
2 Ibid., pp. 687, 688.
3 Ibid., p. 688. [Emphasis added.]
4 The Desire of Ages, p. 255.
5 Ibid., p. 620.
6 Ibid., p. 527.
7 The Great Controversy, p. 378.
8 Ibid., pp. 377, 378.
9 The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 45, 46.
10 Ibid., p. 578.
11 Prophets and Kings, p. 74.
12 Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 619.
13 Testimonies to Ministers, p. 399.
14 The Review and Herald, December 24, 1908.
15 Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 169, 170.
16 The Adventist Home, p. 245.
17 Ibid., p. 300.
18 The Review and Herald, March 14, 1893.
19 General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 28, 1893. [Emphasis supplied.]
20 Christian Service, p. 228.
21 Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 118.
22 The Great Controversy, pp. 611, 612. 23 Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 135.
24 Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 279.
25 Testimonies to Ministers, p. 167.
26 Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 282.