O unbounded grace! What love expressed! Shall we not expel pride from the soul. Can we cherish self-esteem: shall we harbour stubbornness of soul when we see and understand what our redemption has cost. Shall not a view of the cross cause us to humble ourselves in the sight of God, that He may lift us up?
But while we are to humble ourselves, we are to have a true sense of our value as God has estimated us, in the price paid for our redemption. We are to value every capability, every talent entrusted to us, as the Lord's most precious endowment, that we may use them to His name's glory. When we look upon ourselves as purchased at an infinite cost in order that we might have every advantage in the strife for immortality, eternal life, we will make every gift a treasure of influence, whereby we may reach perfection, completeness in Jesus Christ. Then let the prayer of Daniel be our prayer, that the Holy Spirit may work in our behalf.--Letter 59, 1896, p. 8. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, November 22, 1896.)
O how much evil has been committed by placing a high estimate on human talent, when the possessor was unconsecrated, unsanctified. All human talent is valueless before God until the superscription of Jesus is placed upon it. Then in and through Christ the possessor becomes an efficient agent for good because he has a living connection with God. When truth gets full possession of a man's conscience, it sanctifies the soul. All his sensibilities are aroused, his sympathies are not fitful. The light from the Sun of
Righteousness shines into his heart, and he becomes an earnest, living representative of truth. It is not the most eloquent men or the so called great men in business matters that are essential, but men who may be looked upon as having little talent, yet who are true, simple, humble, great-hearted men, these may attain to wide usefulness, blessing humanity everywhere. Jesus says, "Ye are the salt of the earth."--Letter 58, 1894, p. 6. (To O. A. Olsen, November 26, 1894.)
This chapter [John 15] is very simple in its illustrations, and every one should seek to understand its lessons. They should bear in mind that the branches in the true Vine are the believers who are brought into oneness by being connected with the Vine stock. There must be unity in their diversity. Individuality is preserved; for one branch cannot blend into another in the same stock; yet every individual branch must be in fellowship with the other if they are united to the parent stock.
If they draw nourishment from the same source they draw nourishment from the same spirit. They drink in the same life-giving properties. Thus unity is preserved, and there is love one for another. But this does not make the branches an identity although it constitutes them a unity, nor does this mean uniformity in everything. Christian unity consists in the branches being in the same parent stock, the vitalizing power of the Center supporting the grafts that have united to the Vine.--Ms 66, 1897, p. 10. ("The Vine and the Branches," June, 1897.)
Those who bear the message of mercy to perishing souls must themselves be under discipline to God. The Lord is waiting to qualify men to carry the message to those who are afar off and to those that are nigh. God speaks to his people warning them not to corrupt their simplicity and trust in the Lord by sinking their individuality in any living person. The Lord will teach all who will seek him for wisdom, whatever their calling or profession. . . .
Our talents are lent us in trust, to use and increase by their use. Oh, if parents would only realize that the families on earth may be symbols of the family in heaven. If they would realize their accountability to keep their homes free from every taint of moral evil. God designs that we shall have far more of heaven in our families than we now enjoy.
From their earliest years the children are learners, and if pleasant scenes are kept before them in the home, they will become familiar with Christian courtesy, kindness, and love. Their minds are built up by what they see and hear, and parents are sowing the seed which will reap a harvest either for weal or woe. If parents are Christians in name only, if they are not doers of the Word, they are placing their own superscription on their children, and not the superscription of God. Children long for something to impress the mind. For Christ's sake, parents, give their hungering thirsting souls something upon which to feed.
Children are naturally active, and if parents do not furnish them with employment, Satan will invent something to keep them busy in an evil work. Therefore train your children to useful work. You can clothe all work with a dignity which will make it profitable and elevating.
Do not feel it your duty to make the lives of your children unpleasant. The unpleasantness will come fast enough. Bring all the pleasure possible into your exercises as teacher and educator of your children. Encourage them to make a companion of you. Sinful impulses, sinful inclinations and objectionable habits you will surely find in your children; but if you encourage them to seek your society, you can give a right mold to their tastes and feelings, and banish discontent, repining and rebellion. Overcome their pride by living before them an example of meekness and lowliness of heart.
We need to weed out from our conversation everything that is harsh and condemnatory. When we have put on Christ in meekness and lowliness of heart we shall represent Christ in all our dealings with our children. To all who labor in Christ's lines for the salvation of souls, the Saviour says, "Ye are laborers together with God. Ye are God's husbandry; ye are God's building."-- Ms 143, 1899, pp. 9, 11, 12. ("Co-Workers With Christ," October 4, 1899.)
The Lord gives men talents that will enable them to carry forward special lines of work. Each one is to be allowed to do the special work for which he is fitted. Then part will fit perfectly to part.
Give other men a chance to get hold with you. Let each be a help to the other. Hold up one another's hands. You cannot expect that all will work in exactly the same way in which you work. It is the Lord's plan that there shall be unity in diversity. There is no man who can be a criterion for all other men. Our varied trusts are proportioned to our varied capabilities. I have been distinctly instructed that God endows men with different degrees of
capability, and then places them where they can do the work for which they are fitted. Each worker is to give his fellow workers the respect that he wishes to have shown to himself.
Of all the leaves upon a tree, there are no two precisely alike. And the Lord does not expect that His workers shall be exactly alike in their skill or in their manner of working.
There are those who think that it is only to a certain few that talents have been given, and that these few are to be distinguished above their fellows. This is not so. Every member of the church of Christ is the possessor of some special gift. Every one has been given wisdom and tact which fit him to perform some special work. There is a place for every one, a post of duty for every soldier in the Lord's army. All have been entrusted with the goods of heaven. Some have one class of goods and some another. For one to belittle the work and talents of another is to dishonor God. Let the Lord place His own estimate upon the talents entrusted and upon the use made of them.
We are all to be united in Christ, and we are ever to be ready to make the improvement that the Lord, through His different agencies, may tell us we should make. The Lord desires His workers to make constant improvement. He desires them to work in perfect unity, helping one another. As our talents are diligently traded upon, they will multiply.
Every gift that the Lord has entrusted to us is to be valued and used. The smallest gift is not to be overlooked. The Lord gives to every man according to his several ability to use the gift bestowed. Each should be encouraged to use his gift. The least talented may enlarge his capabilities
by doing his best. The church of Christ is made up of vessels large and small. The Lord can use the smallest gift to advance His cause, if the possessor has faith in Him.
The workers brought together in the providence of God may have traits of character that differ widely. Yet their gifts may be just what God needs to mold and fashion the minds with which they are brought in contact. They are to labor in harmony, however different they may be. The Lord looks from heaven, and sees that in His work on this earth, a variety of gifts is needed. The church is a garden, adorned with different trees and plants and flowers.
I have to write this over and over again to the very best of workers in our cause. Do not misunderstand God's plan or disappoint His purposes. There is danger that grave mistakes will be made by putting aside the very men that the Lord has prepared to act a part in educating and training the youth.
God does not expect any man to use talents that He has not given him. He expects His workers to use their talents in union with one another. No one is to think that his work is to be carried forward in a stereotyped, precise way, little details being carried out in a way that is approved by one man or two men or three men. Give your students room to work with the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. He is a true educator. As members of God's family, we are to give one another room to work.
When God gives a man a special work to do, he is to stand in his lot and place as did Daniel, ready to answer the call of God, ready to fulfill His purpose.
Let us all do our best. Let us learn from one another; and above all, let us go often to the great Teacher; for He has pledged His word that He will give divine wisdom to those that ask in faith.--Letter 111, 1903, pp. 7-10. (To P. T. Magan, June 16, 1903.) Released January 23, 1974.