- An Appeal
- Thanksgiving Week and Our Missions
- Advisability of Plan
- Solicitation of Worldly Men
- The Ingathering Work
- Fruit of This Twofold Effort
- A Successful Plan
- Admonition to Workers
- Essentials of Success
- Home Missions v. Foreign Missions
- A Worthy Example
- Lessons from the Life of Nehemiah
- The Call for Modern Nehemiahs
- Reaching the Wealthy and Influential
- Special Qualifications of Workers
- Results are Assured
- Wealthy Men of Bible Times
Dear Fellow Laborers:
On a number of occasions we have been asked by ministers and lay members if it would not be possible to put into pamphlet form pertinent statements that are found in the Spirit of Prophecy writings regarding the Ingathering.
The Department, some time ago, requested the White Estate to gather for us this material from the writings of Sister White.
In this pamphlet you will find Heaven’s inspired counsel on the Ingathering campaign which has “proved a success, bringing blessing to many, and increasing the flow of means into the mission treasury.”— Christian Service, p. 167. The servant of the Lord declared, “As those not of our faith have been made acquainted with the progress of the third angel’s message in heathen lands, their sympathies have been aroused, and some have sought to learn more of the truth that has such power to transform hearts and lives. Men and women of all classes have been reached, and the name of God has been glorified.”—Ibid.
In this pamphlet you will find a full answer to the question frequently asked, “Did Sister White approve of the Ingathering plan to go forth to raise money for the advancement and development of God’s work?” This material, compiled for your personal perusal and encouragement, will inspire each one who reads it carefully and prayerfully.
Personal Ministries Department General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ®
TO MINISTERS AND CHURCH OFFICERS
As I read the reports of labor published in the Adventist Review® and our other denominational periodicals from week to week, my heart is rejoiced over the progress of the third angel’s message in the home field and abroad. Our workers are having many remarkable experiences. The Lord is going before them, preparing the way, and the cause of present truth is making rapid advancement. This should be a source of profound gratitude to God. As we contrast the present prosperity of the work with the early years of poverty passed through by the pioneers of this cause, when our numbers were but few and our resources were limited, we can but exclaim, “What hath God wrought!”
And yet there remains much to be done. In the past we have not been as diligent as we ought to have been in seeking to save the lost. Precious opportunities have been allowed to pass by unimproved. This has delayed the coming of our King. Had the people of God constantly preserved a living connection with Him from the beginning of the great Advent Movement, had they obeyed His word and advanced in all His opening providences, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan.
We have done only a small part of the evangelical work that God desires us to do among our neighbors and friends. In every city of our land there are those who know not the truth. And out in the broad world beyond the seas there are many new fields in which we must plow the ground and sow the seed.
A few faithful missionaries are even now planting the standard of truth in fields far away. Publications are multiplying in many languages. These silent messengers are enlightening thousands. But as a people we come far short of moving forward as fast as the providence of God opens the way. Our General gives the command, “Go forward.” Thousands are thirsting for living truth. The Macedonian cry is coming to us from every direction, “Come over and help us.” We look about us, and inquire, “Who will go?” O that every follower of Jesus might respond: “Send me. I long to do something for my Master.”
Time and again I have had presented before me a vision of people across the broad ocean, standing in perplexity, and pale with anxiety, earnestly inquiring, “What is truth?” They say: “We want the bread of life. Our churches are backslidden from God. We want to find the old paths. We want to come back to the simplicity of gospel religion.” My tears flow as I see this picture rising vividly before me. The voice from heaven pleads, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” While so great a work remains to be done, shall not we, as Christ’s followers, arouse to a sense of our God-given responsibility, and be active in doing our part?. . .
* All italics in this leaflet are supplied by the compiler.
We are rapidly approaching the time set apart by the General Conference Committee as a week of special endeavor in behalf of our mission fields. The plan has been set before our people in the columns of The Review and Herald by the officers of the General Conference, in the following words:
“The General Conference Committee, at its late meeting in April, recommended that Thanksgiving week, November 22-28 , be set apart as a time for a special ingathering of funds for foreign mission work.
“The season of the year is favorable for such an effort. The crops will be nearly harvested; the fall work on the farm mostly done. The national holiday, Thanksgiving, comes November 26. At this season of the year, Americans naturally turn their thoughts toward deeds of charity, and multitudes are glad to know of some beneficent object upon which they can intelligently bestow their thank offering to the Lord.
“Nothing can appeal to the majority of our fellow citizens more than to extend help to a mission board that is carrying on a worldwide gospel campaign.
“Until the present time Seventh-day Adventists have furnished their own funds for nearly all they have undertaken. Seldom have unbelievers been called upon to assist in our general work. We have been before the world for half a century. During this fifty years, Seventh-day Adventists have built many sanitariums, the benefits of which are largely reaped by the world. We have gratuitously distributed hundreds of millions of pages of gospel literature, and sold hundreds of millions more at a great sacrifice of time and money, that others might be benefited.
“During Thanksgiving week it was thought advisable to ask our people everywhere to give that week to soliciting funds for foreign mission work.
“The General Conference Committee has invited the Review and Herald Publishing Association to bring out a special Missions Number of The Review and Herald, which will contain a report of what Seventh-day Adventists are doing in heathen lands and Catholic countries. It will be a thirty-two page number, amply illustrated, and filled with such information as will surely interest all who receive it.
“This paper we recommend to be given to the people, at the same time calling their attention to the lines of work we are doing. A short canvass will be prepared on the contents of the paper, so that all can be well informed as to what to say to their friends and neighbors.
“The paper is to be given away. Those taking a copy will be urged to read it and study its contents. Each one to whom a copy of the special number is given is to be asked for a donation to our mission funds. Each can give what he likes; but few will care to give less than twenty-five cents. Some will wish to give much more. The business firms with whom people have traded for many years will often give liberally. The rich, if approached in the right manner, will often donate without stint.
“This ingathering of funds should be the greatest event in our financial history. It should bring into the treasury of the Mission Board a large sum of money with which to help our work in foreign fields. A united army of sixty thousand Seventh-day Adventists filled with the Holy Spirit ought to do much for God in a week’s consecrated effort.
“All our schools could plan for a foreign mission week. All our office employees could gain a rich experience by helping to gather in this fund. This week can mark a new era in our foreign mission work, if we arise, as did the Jews in the days of Mordecai, and seek God with all the heart. If Israel’s God goes before us, if the fiery pillar leads the way, there will be great blessings before us.
“Let us not forget the date—Thanksgiving week; nor the idea—a large ingathering of funds for foreign missions.”
Letters of inquiry have come to me regarding the advisability of carrying out the plan outlined above. In answer, I would refer all to the example of Nehemiah. When about to journey to Jerusalem with the hope of restoring the walls about the stricken city of his fathers, he frankly told King Artaxerxes of the work he contemplated doing, and requested help to ensure the success of the enterprise. He obtained a letter to the keeper of the king’s forest in the mountains of Lebanon, directing him to furnish such timber as would be needed for the wall of Jerusalem and the buildings that were to be erected. And the means which he lacked he solicited from those who were able to bestow.
In writing on this subject in years past, I have said: “The Lord still moves upon the hearts of kings and rulers in behalf of His people. Those who are laboring for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give for the advancement of His cause. The agents through whom these gifts come, may open ways by which the light of truth shall be given to many benighted lands. These men may have no sympathy with God’s work, no faith in Christ, no acquaintance with His Word; but their gifts are not on this account to be refused.
“The Lord has placed His goods in the hands of unbelievers as well as believers; all may return to Him His own for the doing of the work that must be done for a fallen world. As long as we are in this world, as long as the Spirit of God strives with the children of men, so long are we to receive favors as well as to impart them. We are to give to the world the light of truth, as revealed in the Scriptures; and we are to receive from the world that which God moves upon them to give in behalf of His cause.
“The Lord’s work might receive far greater favors than it is now receiving, if we would approach men in wisdom, acquainting them with the work, and giving them an opportunity of doing that which it is our privilege to induce them to do for its advancement. If we, as God’s servants, would take a wise and prudent course, His good hand would prosper us in our efforts.
“Some may question the propriety of receiving gifts from unbelievers. Let such ask themselves: ‘Who is the real owner of our world? To whom belong its houses and lands, and its treasures of gold and silver?’ God has an abundance in our world, and He has placed His goods in the hands of all, both the obedient and the disobedient. He is ready to move upon the hearts of worldly men, even idolaters, to give of their abundance for the support of His work; and He will do this as soon as His people learn to approach these men wisely and to call their attention to that which it is their privilege to do. If the needs of the Lord’s work were set forth in a proper light before those who have means and influence, these men might do much to advance the cause of present truth. God’s people have lost many privileges of which they could have taken advantage, had they not chosen to stand independent of the world.
“In the providence of God, we are daily brought into connection with the unconverted. By His own right hand God is preparing the way before us, in order that His work may progress rapidly. As co-laborers with Him we have a sacred work to do. We are to have travail of soul for those who are in high places; we are to extend to them the gracious invitation to come to the marriage feast.
“Although now almost wholly in the possession of wicked men, all the world, with its riches and treasures, belongs to God. ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.’ ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ ‘Every beast of the forest is mine. . . .And the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.’ O that Christians might realize more and still more fully that it is their privilege and their duty, while cherishing right principles, to take advantage of every Heaven-sent opportunity for advancing God’s kingdom in this world!”
“Why not ask the Gentiles for assistance? I have received instruction that there are men and women in the world who have sympathetic hearts, and who will be touched with compassion as the needs of suffering humanity are presented before them. . . .
“There are men in the world who will give of their means for schools and for sanitariums. The matter has been presented to me in this light. Our work is to be aggressive. The money is the Lord’s, and if the wealthy are approached in the right way, the Lord will touch their hearts, and impress them to give of their means. God’s money is in the hands of these men, and some of them will heed the request for help.
“Talk this over, and do all in your power to secure gifts. We are not to feel that it would not be the thing to ask men of the world for means; for it is just the thing to do. This plan was opened before me as a way of coming in touch with wealthy men of the world. Through this means not a few will become interested, and may hear and believe the truth for this time.” 1
The power of overcoming grace should be felt throughout the church today; and it may be felt, if we take heed to the counsels of Christ to His followers. As we learn to adorn the doctrine of Christ our Saviour we shall surely see of the salvation of God. . . .
Divine and human instrumentalities are to unite for the accomplishment of one great object. Now is the day of our responsibility. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” 2
In the providence of God, those who are bearing the burden of His work have been endeavoring to put new life into old methods of labor, and also to invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members in a united effort to reach the world....
Let all understand that in presenting the needs of our work, believers can reflect light to others, only as they, like Nehemiah of old, draw nigh to God, and live in close connection with the Giver of all light. Our own souls must be firmly grounded in a knowledge of the truth, if we would win others from error to truth. We need now to search the Scriptures diligently, that, as we become acquainted with unbelievers, we may hold up before them Christ as the anointed, the crucified, the risen Saviour, witnessed to by prophets, testified of by believers, and through whose name we receive the forgiveness of our sins. 3
For years the perplexing question has been before us, How can we raise funds adequate for the support of the missions which the Lord has gone before us to open? We read the plain commands of the gospel; and the missions, in both home and foreign fields, present their necessities. The indications, yea, the positive revelations of Providence unite in urging us to do quickly the work that is waiting to be done. 4
One of the new plans for reaching unbelievers is the Harvest Ingathering campaign for missions. In many places during the past few years, this has proved a success, bringing blessing to many, and increasing the flow of means into the mission treasury. As those not of our faith have been made acquainted with the progress of the third angel’s message in heathen lands, their sympathies have been aroused, and some have sought to learn more of the truth that has such power to transform hearts and lives. Men and women of all classes have been reached, and the name of God has been glorified. 5
To all who are about to take up special missionary work with the paper prepared for use in the Harvest Ingathering campaign, I would say: Be diligent in your efforts; live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Add daily to your Christian experience. Let those who have special aptitude, work for unbelievers in the high places as well as in the low places of life. Search diligently for perishing souls. Oh, think of the yearning desire Christ has to bring to His fold again those who have gone astray! Watch for souls as they that must give an account. In your church and neighborhood missionary work, let your light shine forth in such clear, steady rays that no man can stand up in the judgment and say, “Why did you not tell me about this truth? Why did you not care for my soul?” Then let us be diligent in the distribution of literature that has been carefully prepared for use among those not of our faith. Let us make the most of every opportunity to arrest the attention of unbelievers. Let us put literature into every hand that will receive it. Let us consecrate ourselves to the proclamation of the message, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” 6
In following any plan that may be set in operation for carrying to others a knowledge of present truth, and of the marvelous providences connected with the advancing cause, let us first consecrate ourselves fully to Him whose name we wish to exalt. Let us also pray earnestly in behalf of those whom we expect to visit, by living faith bringing them, one by one, into the presence of God. The Lord knows the thought and purposes of man and how easily He can melt us! How His Spirit, like a fire, can subdue the flinty heart! How He can fill the soul with love and tenderness! How He can give us the graces of His Holy Spirit, and fit us to go in and out, in laboring for souls! 7
If all who are engaged in the Lord’s work would realize how much depends upon their fidelity and wise forethought, far greater prosperity would attend their efforts. Through diffidence and backwardness we often fail of securing that which is attainable as a right, from the powers that be. God will work for us, when we are ready to do what we can and should do on our part. 8
The home missionary work will be farther advanced in every way when a more liberal, self-denying, self-sacrificing spirit is manifested for the prosperity of foreign missions; for the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work done in countries afar off. It is in working actively to supply the necessities of the cause of God that we bring our souls in touch with the Source of all power. 9
An American businessman, who was an earnest Christian, in conversation with a fellow worker, remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. “In all my business relations,” he said, “I try to represent my Master. As I have opportunity, I try to win others to Him. All day I am working for Christ. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China.” In explanation, he added: “In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now, instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province of China, my worker is stationed. And so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still working for Christ.”
Are there not Seventh-day Adventists who will do likewise? Instead of keeping the ministers at work for the churches that already know the truth, let the members of the churches say to these laborers: “Go work for souls that are perishing in darkness. We ourselves will carry forward the services of the church. We will keep up the meetings, and, by abiding in Christ, will maintain spiritual life. We will work for souls that are about us, and we will send our prayers and our gifts to sustain the laborers in more needy and destitute fields.” 10
The poor widow who cast her two mites into the Lord’s treasury, little knew what she was doing. Her example of self-sacrifice has acted and reacted upon thousands of hearts in every land and in every age. It has brought to the treasury of God gifts from the high and the low, the rich and the poor. It has helped to sustain missions, to establish hospitals, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and preach the gospel to the poor. Multitudes have been blessed through her unselfish deed. 11
In years past, I have spoken in favor of the plan of presenting our mission work and its progress before our friends and neighbors, and have referred to the example of Nehemiah. And now I desire to urge our brethren and sisters to study anew the experience of this man of prayer and faith and sound judgment, who made bold to ask his friend, King Artaxerxes, for help with which to advance the interests of God’s cause. 12
Solicited Means From Those Able to Bestow.—Men of prayer should be men of action. Those who are ready and willing, will find ways and means of working. Nehemiah did not depend upon uncertainties. The means which he lacked he solicited from those who were able to bestow.13
Courage for the Task Came Through Power.—Nehemiah and Artaxerxes stood face to face—the one a servant of a downtrodden race, the other the monarch of the world’s great empire. But infinitely greater than the disparity of rank was the moral distance which separated them. Nehemiah had complied with the invitation of the King of kings, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” The silent petition that he sent up to heaven was the same that he had offered for many weeks, that God would prosper his request. And now, taking courage at the thought that he had a Friend, omniscient and omnipotent, to work in his behalf, the man of God made known to the king his desire for release for a time from his office at the court, and for authority to build up the waste places of Jerusalem, and make it once more a strong and defensed city. Momentous results to the Jewish city and nation hung upon this request. “And,” says Nehemiah, “the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.”14
Secured Official Endorsement.—As his (Nehemiah’s) request to the king had been so favorably received, he was encouraged to ask for such assistance as was needed for the carrying out of his plans. To give dignity and authority to his mission, as well as to provide for protection on the journey, he secured a military escort. He obtained royal letters to the governors of the provinces beyond the Euphrates, the territory through which he must pass on his way to Judea; and he obtained, also, a letter to the keeper of the king’s forest in the mountains of Lebanon, directing him to furnish such timber as would be needed for the wall of Jerusalem and the buildings that Nehemiah proposed to erect. In order that there might be no occasion for complaint that he had exceeded his commission, Nehemiah was careful to have the authority and privileges accorded him, clearly defined.15
The royal letters to the governors of the provinces along his route, secured to Nehemiah an honorable reception and prompt assistance. And no enemy dared molest the official who was guarded by the power of the Persian king and treated with marked consideration by the provincial rulers. Nehemiah’s journey was safe and prosperous. 16
Encountering Obstacles.—His arrival at Jerusalem, however, with the attendance of a military guard, showing that he had come on some important mission, excited the jealousy and hatred of the enemies of Israel. The heathen tribes settled near Jerusalem had previously indulged their enmity against the Jews by heaping upon them every insult and injury which they dared inflict. Foremost in this evil work were certain chiefs of these tribes, Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian; and from this time these leaders watched with jealous eye the movements of Nehemiah, and endeavored by every means in their power to thwart his plans and hinder his work.17
They attempted to cause division among the workmen by suggesting doubts and arousing unbelief as to their success. They also ridiculed the efforts of the builders, declared the enterprise an impossibility, and predicted a disgraceful failure. . . .The builders on the wall were soon beset by more active opposition. They were compelled to guard continually against the plots of their sleepless adversaries. The emissaries of the enemy endeavored to destroy their courage by the circulation of false reports; conspiracies were formed on various pretexts to draw Nehemiah into their toils; and false-hearted Jews were found ready to aid the treacherous undertaking. . . .Emissaries of the enemy, professing friendliness, mingled with the builders, suggesting changes in the plan, seeking in various ways to divert the attention of the workers, to cause confusion and perplexity, and to arouse distrust and suspicion. 18
Same Obstacles Confront Leaders Today.—The experience of Nehemiah is repeated in the history of God’s people in this time. Those who labor in the cause of truth will find that they cannot do this without exciting the anger of its enemies. Though they have been called of God to the work in which they are engaged, and their course is approved of Him, they cannot escape reproach and derision. They will be denounced as visionary, unreliable, scheming, hypocritical—anything, in short, that will suit the purpose of their enemies. The most sacred things will be represented in a ridiculous light to amuse the ungodly. A very small amount of sarcasm and low wit, united with envy, jealousy, impiety, and hatred, is sufficient to excite the mirth of the profane scoffer. And these presumptuous jesters sharpen one another’s ingenuity, and embolden each other in their blasphemous work. Contempt and derision are indeed painful to human nature; but they must be endured by all who are true to God. It is the policy of Satan thus to turn souls from doing the work which the Lord has laid upon them.19
Rallying the Dispirited Forces.—In secrecy and silence, Nehemiah completed his circuit of the walls. He declares, “The rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it to the Jews, nor to the priests, nor to the nobles, nor to the rulers, nor to the rest that did the work.” In this painful survey he did not wish to attract the attention of either friends or foes, lest an excitement should be created, and reports be put in circulation that might defeat, or at least hinder, his work. Nehemiah devoted the remainder of the night to prayer; in the morning there must be earnest effort to arouse and unite his dispirited and divided countrymen.20
Although Nehemiah bore a royal commission requiring the inhabitants to cooperate with him in rebuilding the walls of the city, he chose not to depend upon the mere exercise of authority. He sought rather to gain the confidence and sympathy of the people, well knowing that a union of hearts as well as hands was essential to success in the great work which he had undertaken.
When he called the people together on the morrow, he presented such arguments as were calculated to arouse their dormant energies and to unite their scattered numbers. . . .And having laid the matter fully before them, showing that he was sustained by the combined authority of the Persian king and the God of Israel, Nehemiah put to the people directly the question whether they would take advantage of this favorable occasion, and arise with him and build the wall. This appeal went straight to their hearts; the manifestation of the favor of Heaven toward them put their fears to shame. With new courage they cried out with one voice, “Let us rise up and build.” 21
The holy energy and high hope of Nehemiah were communicated to the people. As they caught the spirit, they rose for a time to the moral level of their leader. Each, in his own sphere, was a sort of Nehemiah; and each strengthened and upheld his brother in the work. 22
The Priests of Israel Among the First to Respond.—Among the first to catch Nehemiah’s spirit of zeal and earnestness were the priests of Israel. From the position of influence which they occupied, these men could do much to hinder or advance the work. Their ready cooperation at the very outset contributed not a little to its success. Thus should it be in every holy enterprise. Those who occupy positions of influence and responsibility in the church, should be foremost in the work of God. If they move reluctantly, others will not move at all. But “their zeal will provoke very many.” When their light burns brightly, a thousand torches will be kindled at the flame.23
Nehemiah as an Organizer.—The people in general were animated with one heart and one soul of patriotism and cheerful activity. Men of ability and influence organized the various classes of citizens into companies, each leader making himself responsible for the erection of a certain portion of the wall. It was a sight well pleasing to God and angels to see the busy companies working harmoniously upon the broken-down walls of Jerusalem, and it was a joyous sound to hear the noise of instruments of labor from the earliest dawn “till the stars appeared.”24
The Demonstration of True Leadership.—Nehemiah’s zeal and energy did not abate, now that the work was actually begun. He did not fold his hands, feeling that he might let fall the burden. With tireless vigilance he constantly superintended the work, directing the workmen, noting every hindrance, and providing for every emergency. His influence was constantly felt along the whole extent of those three miles of wall. With timely words he encouraged the fearful, approved the diligent, or aroused the laggard. And again he watched with eagle eye the movements of their enemies, who at times collected at a distance and engaged in earnest conversation, as if plotting mischief, and then drawing near the workmen, attempted to divert their attention and hinder the work.
While the eye of every worker is often directed to Nehemiah, ready to heed the slightest signal, his eye and heart are uplifted to God, the great Overseer of the whole work, the One who put it into the heart of His servant to build. And as faith and courage strengthen in his own heart, Nehemiah exclaims, and his words, repeated and re-echoed, thrill the hearts of the workers all along the line, “The God of heaven, he will prosper us!” 25
Nehemiah and his companions did not shrink from hardships, or excuse themselves from trying service. Neither by night nor by day, not even during the brief time given to slumber, did they put off their clothing, or even lay aside their armor. “So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.” 26
Counteracting Influence in Every Religious Movement.—A majority of the nobles and rulers of Israel also came nobly up to their duty; but there were a few, the Tekoite nobles, who “put not their necks to the work of their Lord.” While the faithful builders have honorable mention in the book of God, the memory of these slothful servants is branded with shame, and handed down as a warning to all future generations.
In every religious movement there are some who, while they cannot deny that it is the work of God, will keep themselves aloof, refusing to make any effort to advance it. But in enterprises to promote their selfish interests, these men are often the most active and energetic workers. It were well to remember that record kept on high, the book of God, in which all our motives and our works are written—that book in which there are no omissions, no mistakes, and out of which we are to be judged. There every neglected opportunity to do service for God will be faithfully reported, and every deed of faith and love, however humble, will be held in everlasting remembrance. 27
There is need of Nehemiahs in the church today—not men who can pray and preach only, but men whose prayers and sermons are braced with firm and eager purpose. The course pursued by this Hebrew patriot in the accomplishment of his plans is one that should still be adopted by ministers and leading men. When they have laid their plans they should present them to the church in such a manner as to win their interest and cooperation. Let the people understand the plans and share in the work, and they will have a personal interest in its prosperity. The success attending Nehemiah’s efforts shows what prayer, faith, and wise, energetic action will accomplish. Living faith will prompt to energetic action. The spirit manifested by the leader will be, to a great extent, reflected by the people. If the leaders professing to believe the solemn, important truths that are to test the world at this time, manifest no ardent zeal to prepare a people to stand in the day of God, we must expect the church to be careless, indolent, and pleasure loving. 28
Nehemiah did not depend upon uncertainty. The means that he lacked he solicited from those who were able to bestow. And the Lord is still willing to move upon the hearts of those in possession of His goods, in behalf of the cause of truth. Those who labor for Him are to avail themselves of the help that He prompts men to give. These gifts may open ways by which the light of truth shall go to many benighted lands. The donors may have no faith in Christ, no acquaintance with His word; but their gifts are not on this account to be refused. 29
There is a work to be done for the wealthy. They need to be awakened to their responsibility as those intrusted with the gifts of heaven. They need to be reminded that they must give an account to Him who shall judge the living and the dead. The wealthy man needs your labor in the love and fear of God. Too often he trusts in his riches, and feels not his danger. The eyes of his mind need to be attracted to things of enduring value. 30
Those who stand high in the world for their education, wealth, or calling, are seldom addressed personally in regard to the interests of the soul. Many Christian workers hesitate to approach these classes. But this should not be. If a man were drowning, we would not stand by and see him perish because he was a lawyer, a merchant, or a judge. If we saw persons rushing over a precipice, we would not hesitate to urge them back, whatever might be their position or calling. Neither should we hesitate to warn men of the peril of the soul. None should be neglected because of their apparent devotion to worldly things. 31
The Lord desires that moneyed men shall be converted, and act as His helping hand in reaching others. He desires that those who can help in the work of reform and restoration shall see the precious light of truth and be transformed in character, and led to use their intrusted capital in His service. He would have them invest the means He has lent them, in doing good, in opening the way for the gospel to be preached to all classes nigh and afar off. 32
Those who belong to the higher ranks of society are to be sought out with tender affection and brotherly regard. Men in business life, in high positions of trust, men with large inventive faculties and scientific insight, men of genius, teachers of the gospel whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time—these should be the first to hear the call. To them the invitation must be given. 33
Mistakes have been made in not seeking to reach ministers and the higher classes with the truth. People not of our faith have been shunned altogether too much. While we should not associate with them to receive their mold, there are honest ones everywhere for whom we should labor cautiously, wisely, and intelligently, full of love for their souls. A fund should be raised to educate men and women to labor for these higher classes, both here and in other countries. 34
Some are especially fitted to work for the higher classes. These should seek wisdom from God to know how to reach these persons, to have not merely a casual acquaintance with them, but by personal effort and living faith to awaken them to the needs of the soul, to lead them to a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. 35
Let those who work for the higher classes bear themselves with true dignity, remembering that angels are their companions. Let them keep the treasure house of mind and heart filled with “It is written.” 36
In every effort to reach the higher classes, the worker for God needs strong faith. Appearances may seem forbidding; but in the darkest hour there is light above. 37
God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. 38
There are miracles to be wrought in genuine conversions—miracles that are not now discerned. The greatest men of this earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. If those who are workers together with Him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully, God will convert men who occupy responsible positions, men of intellect and influence. Through the power of the Holy Spirit many will accept the divine principles. Converted to the truth, they will become agencies in the hand of God to communicate the light. They will have a special burden for other souls of this neglected class. Time and money will be consecrated to the work of the Lord, and new efficiency and power will be added to the church. 39
Many in high social positions are heartsore, and sick of vanity. They are longing for a peace which they have not. In the very highest ranks of society are those who are hungering and thirsting for salvation. Many would receive help if the Lord’s workers would approach them personally, with a kind manner, a heart made tender by the love of Christ. 40
Many of the greatest scholars and statesmen, the world’s most eminent men, will in these last days turn from the light, because the world by wisdom knows not God. Yet God’s servants are to improve every opportunity to communicate the truth to these men. Some will acknowledge their ignorance of the things of God, and will take their place as humble learners at the feet of Jesus, the Master Teacher. 41
This Ethiopian was a man of good standing and of wide influence. God saw that when converted, he would give others the light he had received, and would exert a strong influence in favor of the gospel. Angels of God were attending this seeker for light, and he was being drawn to the Saviour. By the ministration of the Holy Spirit, the Lord brought him into touch with one who could lead him to the light. 42
When the Jews were trying to destroy the infant church, Nicodemus came forward in its defense. No longer cautious and questioning, he encouraged the faith of the disciples, and used his wealth in helping to sustain the church at Jerusalem and in advancing the work of the gospel. 43
1. White, Ellen G. An Appeal to Ministers and Church Officers, from Stewardship Series, No. 1, pp. 3-16.
2. Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 189, 190.
3. Ibid. pp. 190, 191.
4. Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 114.
5. Christian Service, p. 167.
6. Ibid., p. 169.
8. Ibid., p. 170.
9. Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 27.
10. Ibid., pp. 29, 30.
11. Ibid., p. 310.
12. Christian Service., p. 171.
14. Ibid., p. 172.
16. Ibid., pp. 172, 173.
19. Ibid., pp. 173, 174.
20. Ibid., p. 174.
21. Ibid., pp.174, 175.
22. Ibid., p. 175.
25. Ibid., pp. 175, 176.
26. Ibid., p. 176.
27. Ibid., pp. 176, 177.
28. Ibid., p. 177.
29. Prophets and Kings, p. 634.
30. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 230.
31. Ibid., pp. 230, 231.
32. Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 114.
33. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 230.
34. Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 580, 581.
35. The Ministry of Healing, p. 213.
36. Ibid., p. 215.
37. The Acts of the Apostles, p. 242.
38. Ibid., p. 140.
40. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 231.
41. The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 241,
42. Ibid., p. 107.
43. Ibid., p. 105.