Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 25: Talents
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Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed,
and another and another; and as they increase, the circle
widens, until it reaches the very shore. So with our
influence. Beyond our knowledge or control it tells upon
others in blessing or in cursing.
Character is power. The silent witness of a true,
unselfish, godly life carries an almost irresistible influence.
By revealing in our own life the character of Christ we
co-operate with Him in the work of saving souls. It is
only by revealing in our life His character that we can
co-operate with Him. And the wider the sphere of our
influence, the more good we may do. When those who
profess to serve God follow Christ's example, practicing
the principles of the law in their daily life; when every act
bears witness that they love God supremely and their
neighbor as themselves, then will the church have power
to move the world.
But never should it be forgotten that influence is no
less a power for evil. To lose one's own soul is a terrible
thing; but to cause the loss of other souls is still more
terrible. That our influence should be a savor of death
unto death is a fearful thought; yet this is possible. Many
who profess to gather with Christ are scattering from Him.
This is why the church is so weak. Many indulge freely [p. 341] in criticism and accusing. By giving expression to suspicion,
jealousy, and discontent, they yield themselves as
instruments to Satan. Before they realize what they are
doing, the adversary has through them accomplished his
purpose. The impression of evil has been made, the
shadow has been cast, the arrows of Satan have found their
mark. Distrust, unbelief, and downright infidelity have
fastened upon those who otherwise might have accepted
Christ. Meanwhile the workers for Satan look complacently
upon those whom they have driven to skepticism,
and who are now hardened against reproof and entreaty.
They flatter themselves that in comparison with these souls
they are virtuous and righteous. They do not realize that
these sad wrecks of character are the work of their own
unbridled tongues and rebellious hearts. It is through their
influence that these tempted ones have fallen.
So frivolity, selfish indulgence, and careless indifference
on the part of professed Christians are turning away
many souls from the path of life. Many there are who
will fear to meet at the bar of God the results of their
It is only through the grace of God that we can make
a right use of this endowment. There is nothing in us of
ourselves by which we can influence others for good. If
we realize our helplessness and our need of divine power,
we shall not trust to ourselves. We know not what results
a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never
should we begin the day without committing our ways to
our heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch
over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship,
then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand.
When unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong
influence, the angels will be by our side, prompting us to a [p. 342] better course, choosing our words for us, and influencing
our actions. Thus our influence may be a silent, unconscious,
but mighty power in drawing others to Christ and
the heavenly world.
Our time belongs to God. Every moment is His, and
we are under the most solemn obligation to improve it to
His glory. Of no talent He has given will He require a
more strict account than of our time.
The value of time is beyond computation. Christ
regarded every moment as precious, and it is thus that we
should regard it. Life is too short to be trifled away. We
have but a few days of probation in which to prepare for
eternity. We have no time to waste, no time to devote to
selfish pleasure, no time for the indulgence of sin. It is now
that we are to form characters for the future, immortal life.
It is now that we are to prepare for the searching judgment.
The human family have scarcely begun to live when
they begin to die, and the world's incessant labor ends in
nothingness unless a true knowledge in regard to eternal
life is gained. The man who appreciates time as his working
day will fit himself for a mansion and for a life that is
immortal. It is well that he was born.
We are admonished to redeem the time. But time
squandered can never be recovered. We cannot call back
even one moment. The only way in which we can redeem
our time is by making the most of that which remains, by
being co-workers with God in His great plan of redemption.
In him who does this, a transformation of character
takes place. He becomes a son of God, a member of the
royal family, a child of the heavenly King. He is fitted
to be the companion of the angels. [p. 343]
Now is our time to labor for the salvation of our
fellow men. There are some who think that if they give
money to the cause of Christ, this is all they are required
to do; the precious time in which they might do personal
service for Him passes unimproved. But it is the privilege
and duty of all who have health and strength to render to
God active service. All are to labor in winning souls to
Christ. Donations of money cannot take the place of this.
Every moment is freighted with eternal consequences.
We are to stand as minute men, ready for service at a
moment's notice. The opportunity that is now ours to
speak to some needy soul the word of life may never offer
again. God may say to that one, "This night thy soul
shall be required of thee," and through our neglect he
may not be ready. (Luke 12:20.) In the great judgment
day, how shall we render our account to God?
Life is too solemn to be absorbed in temporal and earthly
matters, in a treadmill of care and anxiety for the things
that are but an atom in comparison with the things of
eternal interest. Yet God has called us to serve Him in
the temporal affairs of life. Diligence in this work is as
much a part of true religion as is devotion. The Bible
gives no indorsement to idleness. It is the greatest curse
that afflicts our world. Every man and woman who is
truly converted will be a diligent worker.
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