Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 9: The Work and the Life
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The spirit of unselfish labor for others gives depth,
stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character,
and brings peace and happiness to its possessor. The
aspirations are elevated. There is no room for sloth
or selfishness. Those who thus exercise the Christian
graces will grow and will become strong to work for
God. They will have clear spiritual perceptions, a
steady, growing faith, and an increased power in
prayer. The Spirit of God, moving upon their spirit,
calls forth the sacred harmonies of the soul in answer
to the divine touch. Those who thus devote
themselves to unselfish effort for the good of others are
most surely working out their own salvation.
The only way to grow in grace is to be disinterestedly
doing the very work which Christ has enjoined
upon us—to engage, to the extent of our ability, in
helping and blessing those who need the help we can
give them. Strength comes by exercise; activity is
the very condition of life. Those who endeavor to
maintain Christian life by passively accepting the
blessings that come through the means of grace, and [p. 81] doing nothing for Christ, are simply trying to live by
eating without working. And in the spiritual as in
the natural world, this always results in degeneration
and decay. A man who would refuse to exercise his
limbs would soon lose all power to use them. Thus
the Christian who will not exercise his God-given
powers not only fails to grow up into Christ, but he
loses the strength that he already had.
The church of Christ is God's appointed agency
for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the
gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon
all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of his talent
and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour's commission.
The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors
to all who know Him not. God has given us light,
not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.
If the followers of Christ were awake to duty,
there would be thousands where there is one today
proclaiming the gospel in heathen lands. And all who
could not personally engage in the work, would yet
sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their
prayers. And there would be far more earnest labor
for souls in Christian countries.
We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave
the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our
duty lies, in order to work for Christ. We can do
this in the home circle, in the church, among those
with whom we associate, and with whom we do
The greater part of our Saviour's life on earth
was spent in patient toil in the carpenter's shop at
Nazareth. Ministering angels attended the Lord of [p. 82] life as He walked side by side with peasants and
laborers, unrecognized and unhonored. He was as
faithfully fulfilling His mission while working at His
humble trade as when He healed the sick or walked
upon the storm-tossed waves of Galilee. So in the
humblest duties and lowliest positions of life, we may
walk and work with Jesus.
The apostle says, "Let every man, wherein he is
called, therein abide with God." 1 Corinthians 7:24.
The businessman may conduct his business in a way
that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity.
If he is a true follower of Christ he will carry his
religion into everything that is done and reveal to
men the spirit of Christ. The mechanic may be a diligent
and faithful representative of Him who toiled
in the lowly walks of life among the hills of Galilee.
Everyone who names the name of Christ should so
work that others, by seeing his good works, may be
led to glorify their Creator and Redeemer.
Many have excused themselves from rendering
their gifts to the service of Christ because others
were possessed of superior endowments and advantages.
The opinion has prevailed that only those who
are especially talented are required to consecrate their
abilities to the service of God. It has come to be
understood by many that talents are given to only a
certain favored class to the exclusion of others who
of course are not called upon to share in the toils
or the rewards. But it is not so represented in the
parable. When the master of the house called his
servants, he gave to every man his work.
With a loving spirit we may perform life's [p. 83] humblest duties "as to the Lord." Colossians 3:23. If the
love of God is in the heart, it will be manifested in
the life. The sweet savor of Christ will surround us,
and our influence will elevate and bless.
You are not to wait for great occasions or to
expect extraordinary abilities before you go to work
for God. You need not have a thought of what
the world will think of you. If your daily life is a
testimony to the purity and sincerity of your faith,
and others are convinced that you desire to benefit
them, your efforts will not be wholly lost.
The humblest and poorest of the disciples of Jesus
can be a blessing to others. They may not realize
that they are doing any special good, but by their
unconscious influence they may start waves of blessing
that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results
they may never know until the day of final reward.
They do not feel or know that they are doing anything
great. They are not required to weary themselves
with anxiety about success. They have only
to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work that
God's providence assigns, and their life will not be
in vain. Their own souls will be growing more and
more into the likeness of Christ; they are workers
together with God in this life and are thus fitting for
the higher work and the unshadowed joy of the life
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