Dear brethren and sisters,—
The New Year is just before us, and plans should be laid for earnest, persevering effort in the Master’s service. There is much to be done to advance the work of God. I have been instructed that the canvassing work is to be revived, and that it is to be carried forward with increasing success. It is the Lord’s work, and a blessing will attend those who engage in it with earnestness and diligence.
I thank my heavenly Father for the interest that my brethren and sisters have taken in the circulation of Christ’s Object Lessons. By the sale of this book great good has been accomplished, and the work should be continued. But the efforts of our people should not be confined to this one book. The work of the Lord includes more than one line of service. Christ’s Object Lessons is to live and do its appointed work, but not all the thought and effort of God’s people is to be given to its circulation. The larger books Patriarchs and Prophets, Great Controversy, and Desire of Ages should be sold everywhere. These books contain truth for this time—truth that is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. Nothing is to hinder their sale.
The effort to circulate Christ’s Object Lessons has demonstrated what can be done in the canvassing field. This effort is a never-to-be-forgotten lesson on how to canvass in the prayerful, trustful way that brings success. Many more of our larger books might have been sold if church members had been awake to the importance of the truths that these books contain and had realized the responsibility resting on them to circulate them. My brethren and sisters, will you not now make an effort to circulate these books; and will you not bring into this effort the enthusiasm that you brought into the effort to sell Christ’s Object Lessons? In selling Christ’s Object Lessons many have learned how to handle the larger books. They have obtained an experience that has prepared them to enter the canvassing field.
Sister White is not the originator of these books. They contain the instruction that during her lifework God has been giving her. They contain the precious, comforting light that God has graciously given His servant to be given to the world. From their pages this light is to shine into the hearts of men and women, leading them to the Saviour. The Lord has declared that these books are to be scattered throughout the world. There is in them truth which to the receiver is a savor of life unto life. They are silent witnesses for God. In the past they have been the means in His hands of convicting and converting many souls. Many have read them with eager expectation and by reading them have been led to see the efficacy of Christ’s atonement and to trust in its power. They have been led to commit the keeping of their souls to their Creator, waiting and hoping for the coming of the Saviour to take His loved ones to their eternal home. In the future, these books are to make the gospel plain to many others, revealing to them the way of salvation.
The Lord has sent His people much instruction, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Little heed is given to the Bible, and the Lord has given a lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light. O how much good would be accomplished if the books containing this light were read with a determination to carry out the principles they contain! There would be a thousandfold greater vigilance, a thousandfold more self-denial and resolute effort. And many more would now be rejoicing in the light of present truth.
My brethren and sisters, work earnestly to circulate these books. Put your heart into this work, and the blessing of God will be with you. Go forth in faith, praying as you go that God will prepare hearts to receive the light. Be pleasant and courteous. Show by a consistent course that you are a true Christian. Walk and work in the light of heaven, and your path will be as the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day.
Take the books to business men, to teachers of the gospel, whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time. The message is to be given “in the highways”—to men who take an active part in the world’s work, to the teachers and leaders of the people. Thousands can be reached in the most simple, humble way. The most intellectual, those who are looked upon as the world’s most gifted men and women, are often refreshed by the simple words of one who loves God, and who can speak of that love as naturally as the worldling speaks of the things that interest him most deeply. Often the words well prepared and studied have but little influence. But the true, honest expression of a son or daughter of God, spoken in natural simplicity, has power to unbolt the door to hearts that have long been closed against Christ and His love.
Let no one think that he is at liberty to fold his hands and do nothing. That any one can be saved in indolence and inactivity is an utter impossibility. Think of what Christ accomplished during His earthly ministry. How earnest, how untiring, were His efforts! He allowed nothing to turn Him aside from the work given Him. Are we following in His footsteps? He gave up all to carry out God’s plan of mercy for the fallen race. In the fulfilment of the purpose of heaven, He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. He had had no communion with sin, had known nothing of it; but He came to this world, and took upon His sinless soul the guilt of sinful man, that sinners might stand justified before God. He grappled with temptation, overcoming in our behalf. The Son of God, pure and unsullied, bore the penalty of transgression and received the stroke of death that brought deliverance to the race.
It was Christ’s joy to help those in need of help, to seek the lost, to rescue the perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to heal the sick, to speak words of sympathy and consolation to the sorrowing and the distressed. The more fully we are imbued with His spirit, the more earnestly we shall work for those around us; and the more we do for others, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following the Master. Our hearts will be filled with the love of God; and with earnestness and convincing power we shall speak of the crucified Saviour.
I ask those to whom the light of truth has come, What are you going to do during the year that is just opening? Will you stop to quarrel with one another, to weaken and destroy the faith of humanity in humanity; or will you devote your time to strengthening the things that remain, that are ready to die? When our people begin to do something for the Master, complaints will no longer be heard. They will be roused from the despondency that is ruining many, body and soul. As they work for others, they will have much that is helpful to speak of when they assemble to worship God. The testimonies they bear will not be dark and gloomy, but full of joy and courage. Instead of thinking and talking about the faults of their brethren and sisters, and about their own trials, they will think and talk of the love of Christ, and will strive earnestly to become more efficient workers for Him.
Many are sad and discouraged, weak in faith and trust. Let them do something to help some one more needy than themselves, and they will grow strong in God’s strength. Let them engage in the good work of selling our books. Thus they will help others, and they will gain an experience that will give them the assurance that they are God’s helping hand. As they plead with the Lord to help them, He will guide them to those who are seeking for the light. Christ will be close beside them, teaching them what to say and do. By comforting others, they themselves will be comforted.
I ask you, dear Christian workers, to do what you can to circulate the books that the Lord has said should be sown broadcast throughout the world. Do your best to place them in the homes of as many as possible. Think of how great a work can be done if a large number of believers will unite in an effort to place before the people, by the circulation of these books, the light that the Lord has said should be given them. Under divine guidance, go forward in the work, and look to the Lord for aid. The Holy Spirit will attend you. Angels of heaven will accompany you, preparing the way before you.
If you have neglected the sowing time, if you have allowed God-given opportunities to pass unimproved, if you have given yourself up to self-pleasing, will you not now repent, before it is forever too late, and strive to redeem the time? The obligation to use your talents in the Master’s service rests heavily upon you. Come to the Lord, and make an entire surrender of all to Him. You cannot afford to lose one day. Take up your neglected work. Put away your querulous unbelief, your envy and evil-thinking, and go to work in humble faith and with earnest prayer to the Lord to pardon you for your years of unconsecration. Ask the Lord for help. If you seek Him earnestly with the whole heart, you will find Him, and He will strengthen and bless you.
In your work you will meet with those who are fighting against appetite. Speak words that will strengthen and encourage them. Do not let Satan quench the last spark of hope in their hearts. Of the erring, trembling one struggling with evil, Christ says, “Let him come to Me;” and He places His hands underneath him, and lifts him up. The work that He did, you as His evangelists can do as you go from place to place. Labor in faith, expecting that souls will be won to Him who gave His life that men and women might stand on God’s side. Draw with God to win the drunkard and the tobacco-devotee from the habits that debase them till they are below the level of the beasts that perish.
The Lord calls for many more to engage in the canvassing work in the year 1903. For Christ’s sake, my brethren and sisters, make the most of the hours of the new year to place the precious light of present truth before the people. The Angel of the Covenant is empowering His servants to carry the truth to all parts of the world. He has sent forth His angels with the message of mercy; but as if they did not speed on their way fast enough to satisfy His heart of yearning love, He lays on every member of His church the responsibility of proclaiming this message. “Let him that heareth say come.” Every member of the church is to show his loyalty by inviting the thirsty to drink of the water of life. A chain of living witnesses is to carry the invitation to the world. Will you act your part in this great work?
Jesus is calling for many missionaries, for men and women who will consecrate themselves to God, willing to spend and be spent in His service. O can we not remember that there is a world to labor for? Shall we not move forward step by step, letting God use us as His helping hand? Shall we not place ourselves on the altar of service? Then the love of Christ will touch and transform us, making us willing to do and dare for His sake.
— E.G. White, Letter 196, 1902
If you haven’t yet, beloved, then now is the time to begin the Revival Reading Plan, which has one of these great books—the Desire of Ages—at its heart. This book, the Scriptures, and the Testimonies, read on a daily basis, will revive the hearts of Laodicea to receive the Holy Spirit! Then we will be prepared to do the work laid out in this letter with power and zeal.