Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 23: The Lord's Vineyard
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To praise God in fullness and sincerity of heart is as
much a duty as is prayer. We are to show to the world
and to all the heavenly intelligences that we appreciate the
wonderful love of God for fallen humanity and that we
are expecting larger and yet larger blessings from His
infinite fullness. Far more than we do, we need to speak of
the precious chapters in our experience. After a special
outpouring of the Holy Spirit, our joy in the Lord and our [p. 300] efficiency in His service would be greatly increased by
recounting His goodness and His wonderful works in behalf
of His children.
These exercises drive back the power of Satan. They
expel the spirit of murmuring and complaint, and the
tempter loses ground. They cultivate those attributes of
character which will fit the dwellers on earth for the
Such a testimony will have an influence upon others.
No more effective means can be employed for winning
souls to Christ.
We are to praise God by tangible service, by doing all
in our power to advance the glory of His name. God
imparts His gifts to us that we also may give, and thus
make known His character to the world. Under the Jewish
economy, gifts and offerings formed an essential part of
God's worship. The Israelites were taught to devote a
tithe of all their income to the service of the sanctuary.
Besides this they were to bring sin offerings, free-will
gifts, and offerings of gratitude. These were the means
for supporting the ministry of the gospel for that time. God
expects no less from us than He expected from His people
anciently. The great work for the salvation of souls must
be carried forward. In the tithe, with gifts and offerings,
He has made provision for this work. Thus He intends
that the ministry of the gospel shall be sustained. He
claims the tithe as His own, and it should ever be regarded
as a sacred reserve, to be placed in His treasury for the
benefit of His cause. He asks also for our free-will gifts
and offerings of gratitude. All are to be devoted to the
sending of the gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
Service to God includes personal ministry. By personal
effort we are to co-operate with Him for the saving of the
world. Christ's commission, "Go ye into all the world, and [p. 301] preach the gospel to every creature," is spoken to every
one of His followers. (Mark 16:15.) All who are ordained
unto the life of Christ are ordained to work for the
salvation of their fellow men. Their hearts will throb in
unison with the heart of Christ. The same longing for
souls that He has felt will be manifest in them. Not all can
fill the same place in the work, but there is a place and a
work for all.
In ancient times, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses with his
meekness and wisdom, and Joshua with his varied capabilities,
were all enlisted in God's service. The music of
Miriam, the courage and piety of Deborah, the filial affection
of Ruth, the obedience and faithfulness of Samuel, the stern
fidelity of Elijah, the softening, subduing influence of
Elisha—all were needed. So now all upon whom God's
blessing has been bestowed are to respond by actual service;
every gift is to be employed for the advancement of His
kingdom and the glory of His name.
All who receive Christ as a personal Saviour are to
demonstrate the truth of the gospel and its saving power
upon the life. God makes no requirement without making
provision for its fulfillment. Through the grace of Christ
we may accomplish everything that God requires. All the
riches of heaven are to be revealed through God's people.
"Herein is My Father glorified," Christ says, "that ye bear
much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples." John 15:8.
God claims the whole earth as His vineyard. Though
now in the hands of the usurper, it belongs to God. By
redemption no less than by creation it is His. For the
world Christ's sacrifice was made. "God so loved the
world, that He gave His only begotten Son." John 3:16.
It is through that one gift that every other is imparted to
men. Daily the whole world receives blessing from God.
Every drop of rain, every ray of light shed on our unthankful [p. 302] race, every leaf and flower and fruit, testifies to God's
long forbearance and His great love.
And what returns are made to the great Giver? How
are men treating the claims of God? To whom are the
masses of mankind giving the service of their lives? They
are serving mammon. Wealth, position, pleasure in the
world, is their aim. Wealth is gained by robbery, not of
man only, but of God. Men are using His gifts to gratify
their selfishness. Everything they can grasp is made to
minister to their greed and their love of selfish pleasure.
The sin of the world today is the sin that brought
destruction upon Israel. Ingratitude to God, the neglect of
opportunities and blessings, the selfish appropriation of
God's gifts—these were comprised in the sin that brought
wrath upon Israel. They are bringing ruin upon the world
The tears which Christ shed upon Olivet as He stood
overlooking the chosen city were not for Jerusalem alone.
In the fate of Jerusalem He beheld the destruction of the
"If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy
day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they
are hid from thine eyes." Luke 19:42.
"In this thy day." The day is nearing its close. The
period of mercy and privilege is well-nigh ended. The clouds
of vengeance are gathering. The rejectors of God's grace
are about to be involved in swift and irretrievable ruin.
Yet the world is asleep. The people know not the time
of their visitation.
In this crisis, where is the church to be found? Are
its members meeting the claims of God? Are they fulfilling
His commission, and representing His character to the
world? Are they urging upon the attention of their
fellow men the last merciful message of warning? [p. 303]
Men are in peril. Multitudes are perishing. But how
few of the professed followers of Christ are burdened for
these souls. The destiny of a world hangs in the balance;
but this hardly moves even those who claim to believe the
most far-reaching truth ever given to mortals. There is a
lack of that love which led Christ to leave His heavenly
home and take man's nature that humanity might touch
humanity and draw humanity to divinity. There is a
stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God, which prevents
them from understanding the duty of the hour.
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