Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 15: "This Man Receiveth Sinners"
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The woman in the parable searches diligently for her
lost coin. She lights the candle and sweeps the house. She
removes everything that might obstruct her search. Though
only one piece is lost, she will not cease her efforts until that
piece is found. So in the family if one member is lost to
God every means should be used for his recovery. On the
part of all the others let there be diligent, careful
self-examination. Let the life-practice be investigated. See if
there is not some mistake, some error in management, by
which that soul is confirmed in impenitence. [p. 195]
If there is in the family one child who is unconscious of
his sinful state, parents should not rest. Let the candle
be lighted. Search the word of God, and by its light let
everything in the home be diligently examined, to see why
this child is lost. Let parents search their own hearts,
examine their habits and practices. Children are the heritage
of the Lord, and we are answerable to Him for our
management of His property.
There are fathers and mothers who long to labor in
some foreign mission field; there are many who are active
in Christian work outside the home, while their own children
are strangers to the Saviour and His love. The work
of winning their children for Christ many parents trust to
the minister or the Sabbath school teacher, but in doing
this they are neglecting their own God-given responsibility.
The education and training of their children to be Christians
is the highest service that parents can render to God.
It is a work that demands patient labor, a lifelong diligent
and persevering effort. By a neglect of this trust we prove
ourselves unfaithful stewards. No excuse for such neglect
will be accepted by God.
But those who have been guilty of neglect are not to
despair. The woman whose coin was lost searched until
she found it. So in love, faith, and prayer let parents work
for their households, until with joy they can come to God [p. 196] saying, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath
given me." Isa. 8:18.
This is true home missionary work, and it is as helpful
to those who do it as to those for whom it is done. By our
faithful interest for the home circle we are fitting ourselves
to work for the members of the Lord's family, with whom,
if loyal to Christ, we shall live through eternal ages. For our
brethren and sisters in Christ we are to show the same interest
that as members of one family we have for one another.
And God designs that all this shall fit us to labor for
still others. As our sympathies shall broaden and our love
increase, we shall find everywhere a work to do. God's
great human household embraces the world, and none of its
members are to be passed by with neglect.
Wherever we may be, there the lost piece of silver
awaits our search. Are we seeking for it? Day by day we
meet with those who take no interest in religious things; we
talk with them, we visit among them; do we show an interest
in their spiritual welfare? Do we present Christ to them as
the sin-pardoning Saviour? With our own hearts warm
with the love of Christ, do we tell them about that love? If
we do not, how shall we meet these souls—lost, eternally
lost—when with them we stand before the throne of God?
The value of a soul, who can estimate? Would you
know its worth, go to Gethsemane, and there watch with
Christ through those hours of anguish, when He sweat as
it were great drops of blood. Look upon the Saviour
uplifted on the cross. Hear that despairing cry, "My God,
My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Mark 15:34. Look
upon the wounded head, the pierced side, the marred feet.
Remember that Christ risked all. For our redemption,
heaven itself was imperiled. At the foot of the cross,
remembering that for one sinner Christ would have laid down
His life, you may estimate the value of a soul. [p. 197]
If you are in communion with Christ, you will place
His estimate upon every human being. You will feel for
others the same deep love that Christ has felt for you.
Then you will be able to win, not drive, to attract, not
repulse, those for whom He died. None would ever have been
brought back to God if Christ had not made a personal
effort for them; and it is by this personal work that we can
rescue souls. When you see those who are going down to
death, you will not rest in quiet indifference and ease. The
greater their sin and the deeper their misery, the more
earnest and tender will be your efforts for their recovery.
You will discern the need of those who are suffering, who
have been sinning against God, and who are oppressed with
a burden of guilt. Your heart will go out in sympathy for
them, and you will reach out to them a helping hand. In
the arms of your faith and love you will bring them to
Christ. You will watch over and encourage them, and your
sympathy and confidence will make it hard for them to fall
from their steadfastness.
In this work all the angels of heaven are ready to
co-operate. All the resources of heaven are at the
command of those who are seeking to save the lost. Angels
will help you to reach the most careless and the most
hardened. And when one is brought back to God, all heaven is
made glad; seraphs and cherubs touch their golden harps,
and sing praises to God and the Lamb for their mercy and
loving-kindness to the children of men.
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