Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 27: "Who is My Neighbour?"
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Whatever the difference in religious belief, a call from
suffering humanity must be heard and answered. Where
bitterness of feeling exists because of difference in religion,
much good may be done by personal service. Loving
ministry will break down prejudice, and win souls to God.
We should anticipate the sorrows, the difficulties, the
troubles of others. We should enter into the joys and cares
of both high and low, rich and poor. "Freely ye have
received," Christ says, "freely give." Matt. 10:8. All
around us are poor, tried souls that need sympathizing
words and helpful deeds. There are widows who need
sympathy and assistance. There are orphans whom Christ
has bidden His followers receive as a trust from God. Too
often these are passed by with neglect. They may be
ragged, uncouth, and seemingly in every way unattractive;
yet they are God's property. They have been bought with a [p. 387] price, and they are as precious in His sight as we are.
They are members of God's great household, and Christians
as His stewards are responsible for them. "Their souls,"
He says, "will I require at thine hand."
Sin is the greatest of all evils, and it is ours to pity
and help the sinner. But not all can reached in the same
way. There are many who hide their soul hunger. These
would be greatly helped by a tender word or a kind
remembrance. There are others who are in the greatest
need, yet they know it not. They do not realize the
terrible destitution of the soul. Multitudes are so sunken in
sin that they have lost the sense of eternal realities, lost the
similitude of God, and they hardly know whether they have
souls to be saved or not. They have neither faith in God
nor confidence in man. Many of these can be reached only
through acts of disinterested kindness. Their physical
wants must first be cared for. They must be fed, cleansed,
and decently clothed. As they see the evidence of your
unselfish love, it will be easier for them to believe in the
love of Christ.
There are many who err, and who feel their shame and
their folly. They look upon their mistakes and errors
until they are driven almost to desperation. These souls we
are not to neglect. When one has to swim against the
stream, there is all the force of the current driving him
back. Let a helping hand then be held out to him as
was the Elder Brother's hand to the sinking Peter. Speak
to him hopeful words, words that will establish confidence
and awaken love.
Thy brother, sick in spirit, needs thee, as thou thyself
hast needed a brother's love. He needs the experience of
one who has been as weak as he, one who can sympathize
with him and help him. The knowledge of our own weakness
should help us to help another in his bitter need. [p. 388] Never should we pass by one suffering soul without seeking
to impart to him the comfort wherewith we are comforted
It is fellowship with Christ, personal contact with a living
Saviour, that enables the mind and heart and soul to
triumph over the lower nature. Tell the wanderer of an
almighty hand that will hold him up, of an infinite humanity
in Christ that pities him. It is not enough for him to
believe in law and force, things that have no pity, and never
hear the cry for help. He needs to clasp a hand that is
warm, to trust in a heart full of tenderness. Keep his mind
stayed upon the thought of a divine presence ever beside
him, ever looking upon him with pitying love. Bid him
think of a Father's heart that ever grieves over sin, of a
Father's hand stretched out still, of a Father's voice saying,
"Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace
with Me, and he shall make peace." Isa. 27:5.
As you engage in this work, you have companions
unseen by human eyes. Angels of heaven were beside the
Samaritan who cared for the wounded stranger. Angels
from the heavenly courts stand by all who do God's service
in ministering to their fellow men. And you have the
co-operation of Christ Himself. He is the Restorer, and as
you work under His supervision, you will see great results.
Upon your faithfulness in this work not only the well-being
of others but your own eternal destiny depends.
Christ is seeking to uplift all who will be lifted to
companionship with Himself, that we may be one with Him as
He is one with the Father. He permits us to come in contact
with suffering and calamity in order to call us out of
our selfishness; He seeks to develop in us the attributes
of His character—compassion, tenderness, and love. By
accepting this work of ministry we place ourselves in His [p. 389] school, to be fitted for the courts of God. By rejecting it,
we reject His instruction, and choose eternal separation
from His presence.
"If thou wilt keep My charge," the Lord declares, "I
will give thee places to walk among these that stand by"
—even among the angels that surround His throne. (Zech.
3:7.) By co-operating with heavenly beings in their work
on earth, we are preparing for their companionship in
heaven. "Ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for
them who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14), angels
in heaven will welcome those who on earth have lived "not
to be ministered unto, but to minister" (Matt. 20:28).
In this blessed companionship we shall learn, to our eternal
joy, all that is wrapped up in the question, "Who is my
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