“Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.” We are continually receiving rich mercies from the hands of God. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Jesus has commanded, saying, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” The merciful man does good to his own soul; for the merciful shall obtain mercy. The possession of this precious grace produces the fruit of kindliness and love. The hardness, the coldness of heart that many professing Christians cherish, is a characteristic of the great apostate. Were Christlike mercy exercised by all who profess to be Christ‘s followers, the world would bear an altogether different aspect. Praise would ascend to God from many voices that are now silent. The love and tenderness of Christ revealed in the characters of those who are his followers, would beget love in others. It is impossible for us to represent Christ, and be cold, unsympathetic, and bound about by selfishness.
We are placed in this world, and surrounded by men and women who need our compassion, and we are responsible for putting into exercise the tender mercies of our God. He has richly bestowed upon us his love, and deposited with us his mercy, that we may become stewards of the same, in ministering his love to others. Paul writes: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” Suffering humanity continually surrounds us, and demands the exercise of mercy. “The poor ye have always with you.”
It is the duty of the children of God to be all light in the Lord, and scatter blessings upon the path of others. They are not to say, “Be ye warmed, and be ye fed,” and do nothing to relieve the necessities of those who are in want. The Lord would have his children actively engaged in works of mercy. There are broken-hearted ones who need the expression of kindly words, who need practical help to relieve their necessities. With many life is a painful struggle. They feel their deficiencies, and are miserable and unbelieving. They think they have nothing for which to be grateful. Let the sons and daughters of God reveal the Christlike attributes of character, administering to these needy souls. Let them show what a great debt of gratitude they owe to God as recipients of temporal and spiritual good.
We are the Lord‘s purchased possession, and as his human agents it is our positive duty to administer in temporal and spiritual things from the store which God has given us. Love must be kept in constant exercise to inspire faith in God, that praise may be called forth from human hearts to God, and that the golden chain of love may bind the hearts of humanity together. Those who are recipients of the mercy, sympathy, and compassion of God should pass it along to others. But many who claim to love God and to be keepers of his commandments, are cold and unsympathetic and unchristlike. They have little love to exercise except for a few who are congenial to them, and their affection for these few whom they fancy does more harm than good. They do not manifest love towards those who would appreciate the least manifestation of affection. Those who are truly Christlike possess an underlying principle of love. But however closely related human beings may be, they are not to be idolized, they are not to be surrounded with superabundant affection, while other souls who are just as dear to the heart of Infinite Love are not embraced within their circle. Selfish love is a snare to the souls of those who are entangled in it. The life and practice of Christ show that the circle for our love should be unlimited. Christ does not acknowledge that love as sanctified which is showered without stint upon a few favorites, while the heart is cold toward the very ones who need a manifestation of love.
The Son of the infinite God is our Pattern. Heaven is full of mercy, and it is constantly outflowing not only to a favored few, but for the blessing of those who need it most, for the benefit of those who have the least pleasantness and happiness brought into their lives. The life of God is bound up with the life of those for whom Christ died. He whose life is hid with Christ in God will possess the attributes of the divine character, and will be a partaker of the divine nature, making it manifest to the world that God is merciful, full of tender compassion, abundant in grace and truth. The severity which God manifests through his providences toward those who are rebellious and wicked, is manifested for the salvation of the wayward. O, how Christ yearned over the souls whom he came to save, with intense desire that they might understand eternal life! “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
Satan is a vigilant watcher and worker, and seeks to intercept every ray of heaven’s light in order that it shall not come to the soul; but Christ is also working, and by mercies given, and by mercies withheld, he seeks to lead men and women to look above the earthly to the heavenly and eternal. Every man is intrusted with capabilities, with a stewardship for the great Householder, and he is to look to the great Counselor for directions and for wisdom. Christ would have his servants work for those who understand him not; for he looks with infinite compassion upon the human family under the deceptive wiles of Satan. He sees them employing their God-given probationary time in seeking everything but the one thing essential. The voice of Jesus pleads with men, saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink, and the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life.” No creature that God has created is looked upon with indifference. God has an intense desire to relieve the woes of mankind and apply his balsam to their wounds. His love is ever exercised for the needy and oppressed. His heart is full of joy when the sinner breaks with Satan, and looks up to God as to a merciful, sympathizing, loving Father. Jesus declared, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” The Lord is ever active in exercising his mercy; he would have every soul become acquainted with the paternal character of God. When men obtain a correct view of the unceasing mercy of God, they will be attracted, and by beholding will become changed into the same image. Those whom God has made stewards of capabilities and means, he commands, for their own interest, to lay up their treasure in heaven, and as he has given freely to them of his bountiful mercy, to give freely to others. Instead of living for themselves, Christ is to live in them, and his Holy Spirit is to lead them to dispense wisely their goods, being merciful to others even as he is merciful to all. No man can be a follower of Christ and live for himself. The Christian is to be an agent for God, dispensing his blessings to others, and thus laying up for themselves treasure in heaven. His treasure will thus never be lost, but will ever accumulate increasing interest, and a good foundation be laid against the time to come.
How much better it is to deposit uncertain riches in the bank of heaven, by rendering benefit to the Lord‘s heritage, than to use up God-given wealth in the gratification of self by obtaining those things which perish in the using. In blessing others, they are made glad with the thought that God has not forgotten them, and gratitude springs up in the hearts of those who have been suffering and oppressed. It is thus we make friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and the very wealth which we dispense to others is that which has been lent in trust to be used as the Householder shall direct, that his faithful servants shall use it in works of mercy and compassion. But in working on these lines a welcome is insured into the everlasting habitations. In proportion as goods are intrusted they should be dispensed to others. The humblest men and women are to trade upon the Lord‘s talents, realizing that what has been lent to them should be returned with usury to God. Though we have but one talent, if it be faithfully consecrated to God, and employed in acts of mercy in temporal or spiritual things, we thus ministering to the wants of the needy, our talent will increase in value, and be noted upon the heavenly record as exceeding our powers of computation. Every merciful action, every sacrifice, every self-denial, will bring a sure requital, a hundred-fold in this time, and in the world to come everlasting life.
— E.G. White, Signs of the Times, 9/12/1895