Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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God requires the training of the mental faculties. He
designs that His servants shall possess more intelligence
and clearer discernment than the worldling, and He is
displeased with those who are too careless or too indolent
to become efficient, well-informed workers. The Lord bids
us love Him with all the heart, and with all the soul,
and with all the strength, and with all the mind. This
lays upon us the obligation of developing the intellect to
its fullest capacity, that with all the mind we may know
and love our Creator.
If placed under the control of His Spirit, the more
thoroughly the intellect is cultivated, the more effectively
it can be used in the service of God. The uneducated
man who is consecrated to God and who longs to bless
others can be, and is, used by the Lord in His service.
But those who, with the same spirit of consecration,
have had the benefit of a thorough education, can do
a much more extensive work for Christ. They stand on
The Lord desires us to obtain all the education
possible, with the object in view of imparting our knowledge
to others. None can know where or how they may be
called to labor or to speak for God. Our heavenly Father
alone sees what He can make of men. There are before us
possibilities which our feeble faith does not discern. Our
minds should be so trained that if necessary we can present
the truths of His word before the highest earthly authorities [p. 334] in such a way as to glorify His name. We should not let
slip even one opportunity of qualifying ourselves intellectually
to work for God.
Let the youth who need an education set to work with
a determination to obtain it. Do not wait for an opening;
make one for yourselves. Take hold in any small way
that presents itself. Practice economy. Do not spend
your means for the gratification of appetite, or in pleasure
seeking. Be determined to become as useful and efficient as
God calls you to be. Be thorough and faithful in whatever
you undertake. Procure every advantage within your reach
for strengthening the intellect. Let the study of books be
combined with useful manual labor, and by faithful
endeavor, watchfulness, and prayer secure the wisdom that is
from above. This will give you an all-round education.
Thus you may rise in character, and gain an influence over
other minds, enabling you to lead them in the path of
uprightness and holiness.
Far more might be accomplished in the work of
self-education if we were awake to our own opportunities and
privileges. True education means more than the colleges
can give. While the study of the sciences is not to be
neglected, there is a higher training to be obtained through
a vital connection with God. Let every student take his
Bible and place himself in communion with the great
Teacher. Let the mind be trained and disciplined to
wrestle with hard problems in the search for divine truth.
Those who hunger for knowledge that they may bless
their fellow men will themselves receive blessing from God.
Through the study of His word their mental powers will
be aroused to earnest activity. There will be an expansion
and development of the faculties, and the mind will acquire
power and efficiency. [p. 335]
Self-discipline must be practiced by everyone who
would be a worker for God. This will accomplish more
than eloquence or the most brilliant talents. An ordinary
mind, well disciplined, will accomplish more and higher
work than will the most highly educated mind and the
greatest talents without self-control.
The power of speech is a talent that should be diligently
cultivated. Of all the gifts we have received from God,
none is capable of being a greater blessing than this.
With the voice we convince and persuade, with it we offer
prayer and praise to God, and with it we tell others of the
Redeemer's love. How important, then, that it be so trained
as to be most effective for good.
The culture and right use of the voice are greatly
neglected, even by persons of intelligence and Christian
activity. There are many who read or speak in so low or
so rapid a manner that they cannot be readily understood.
Some have a thick, indistinct utterance; others speak in a
high key, in sharp, shrill tones, that are painful to the
hearers. Texts, hymns, and the reports and other papers
presented before public assemblies are sometimes read in
such a way that they are not understood and often so that
their force and impressiveness are destroyed.
This is an evil that can and should be corrected. On
this point the Bible gives instruction. Of the Levites who
read the Scriptures to the people in the days of Ezra, it is
said, "They read in the book in the law of God distinctly,
and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the
reading." Neh. 8:8.
By diligent effort all may acquire the power to read
intelligibly, and to speak in a full, clear, round tone, in a [p. 336] distinct and impressive manner. By doing this we may
greatly increase our efficiency as workers for Christ.
Every Christian is called to make known to others the
unsearchable riches of Christ; therefore he should seek for
perfection in speech. He should present the word of God
in a way that will commend it to the hearers. God does
not design that His human channels shall be uncouth. It
is not His will that man shall belittle or degrade the
heavenly current that flows through him to the world.
We should look to Jesus, the perfect pattern; we should
pray for the aid of the Holy Spirit, and in His strength we
should seek to train every organ for perfect work.
Especially is this true of those who are called to public
service. Every minister and every teacher should bear in
mind that he is giving to the people a message that involves
eternal interests. The truth spoken will judge them in the
great day of final reckoning. And with some souls the
manner of the one delivering the message will determine
its reception or rejection. Then let the word be so spoken
that it will appeal to the understanding and impress the
heart. Slowly, distinctly, and solemnly should it be spoken,
yet with all the earnestness which its importance demands.
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