The Signs of the Times
September 16, 1886
Women as Christian Laborers
By Mrs. E. G. White
He who died to redeem man from death, loves with a divine love; and he says to his followers: “This is my commandment that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Christ showed his love for the fallen race by his actions. The true child of God will be Christlike; and as he grows in the knowledge of the truth, and is sanctified through the truth, he will be more and more like Christ, and more desirous to save souls, the purchase of his blood.
Some can do more than others; but all can do something. Women should not feel that they are excused because of their domestic cares. They should become intelligent as to how they can work most successfully and methodically in bringing souls to Christ. If all would realize the importance of doing to the utmost of their ability in the work of God, having a deep love for souls, feeling the burden of the work upon them, hundreds would be engaged as active workers who have hitherto been dull and uninterested, accomplishing nothing, or at most but very little.
In many cases the rubbish of the world has clogged the channels of the soul. Selfishness controls the mind and warps the character. Were the life hid with Christ in God, his service would be no drudgery. If the whole heart were consecrated to God, all would find something to do, and would covet a part in the work. They would sow beside all waters, praying and believing that the fruit would appear. The practical, God-fearing workers will be growing upward, praying in faith for grace and heavenly wisdom that they may do the work devolving upon them with cheerfulness and a willing mind. They will seek the divine rays of light that they may brighten the paths of others.
Those who are co-laborers with God will have no disposition to engage in the various expedients for amusement; they will not be seeking after happiness and enjoyment. In taking up their work in the fear of God, and doing service to the Master, they will secure the most substantial happiness. Connected with Jesus Christ, they will be wise unto salvation. They will be fruit-bearing trees. They will develop a blameless life, a beauteous character. The great work of redemption will be their first consideration. Eating and drinking and dressing, houses and lands, will be secondary matters. The peace of God within will force off the withered or gnarled branches of selfishness, vanity, pride, and indolence. It is faith and practice that make up the Christian's life. We do not meet the standard of Christianity in merely professing Christ and having our names upon the church book. We should be individual workers for Christ. By personal effort we can show that we are connected with him.
Christian women are called for. There is a wide field in which they may do good service for the Master. There are noble women who have had moral courage to decide in favor of the truth from the weight of evidence. They have tact, perception, and good ability, and could make successful Christian workers. There is work neglected or done imperfectly that could be thoroughly accomplished through the help that they are able to give. They could reach a class that ministers cannot reach. There are offices in the church that they could fill acceptably, and many branches of the church work that they could attend to if properly instructed.
Women can do good work in the missionary field, by writing to friends, and learning their true feelings in relation to the cause of God. Very valuable items are brought to light through this means. The workers should not seek for self-exaltation, but to present the truth in its simplicity wherever they shall have an opportunity. The money that has been spent for needless trimmings and useless ornaments should be devoted to the cause of God, and used to bring the light of truth to those who are in the darkness of error. The souls saved through their efforts will be more precious to them than costly and fashionable dress. The white robes and jeweled crown given them by Christ as the reward for their unselfish efforts in the salvation of souls, will be more valuable than needless adornments. The stars in their crowns will shine forever and ever, and will a thousand times repay them for the self-denial and self-sacrifice they have exercised in the cause of God.
Women of firm principle and decided character are needed, women who believe that we are indeed living in the last days, and that we have the last solemn message of warning to be given to the world. They should feel that they are engaged in an important work in spreading the rays of light which Heaven has shed upon them. When the love of God and his truth is an abiding principle, they will let nothing deter them from duty, or discourage them in their work. They will fear God, and will not be diverted from their labors in his cause by the temptation of lucrative situations and attractive prospects. They will preserve their integrity at any cost to themselves. These are the ones who will correctly represent the religion of Christ, whose words will be fitly spoken, like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Such persons can in many ways do a precious work for God. He calls upon them to go out into the harvest field, and help gather in the sheaves.
Intelligent Christian women may use their talents to the very highest account. They can show by their life of self-denial, and by their willingness to work to the best of their ability, that they believe the truth, and are being sanctified through it. Many need a work of this kind to develop the powers they possess. Wives and mothers should in no case neglect their husbands and their children; but they can do much without neglecting home duties, and all have not these responsibilities.
Who can have so deep a love for the souls of men and women for whom Christ died, as those who are partakers of his grace? Who can better represent the religion of Christ than Christian women, women who are earnestly laboring to bring souls to the light of truth? Who else is so well adapted to the work of the Sabbath-school? The true mother is the true teacher of children. If with a heart imbued with the love of Christ, she teaches the children of her class, praying with them and for them, she may see souls converted, and gathered into the fold of Christ. I do not recommend that woman should seek to become a voter or office-holder; but as a missionary, teaching the truth by epistolary correspondence, distributing reading matter, conversing with families and praying with the mother and children, she may do much, and be a blessing.
The Lord of the vineyard is saying to many women who are now doing nothing, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” They may be instruments of righteousness, rendering holy service. It was Mary who first preached a risen Jesus; and the refining, softening influence of Christian women is needed in the great work of preaching the truth now. If there were twenty women where now there is one who would make the saving of souls their cherished work, we should see many more converted to the truth. Zealous and continued diligence in the cause of God would be wholly successful, and would astonish them with its results. The work must be accomplished through patience and perseverance, and in this is manifested the real devotion to God. He calls for deeds, and not words only.
The work of God is worthy of our best efforts. In fulfillment of the divine plan, the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. He taught the erring and sinful ones whom he came to save, and wrestled in earnest prayer to his Father in their behalf; and we should engage in the same work. If it was not beneath the dignity of the Son of God, the Creator of worlds, should it be considered too humiliating or too self-sacrificing for his followers?—No, indeed. However aspiring we may be, there is no calling that is higher, holier, and more ennobling than to be a co-laborer with the Son of God.
Often we are so wrapped up in our selfish interests that our hearts are not allowed to take in the needs and wants of humanity; we are lacking in deeds of sympathy and benevolence, in sacred and social ministering to the needy, the oppressed, and the suffering. Women are needed who are not self-important, but gentle in manners and lowly of heart, who will work with the meekness of Christ wherever they can find anything to do for the salvation of souls. All who have been made partakers of the heavenly benefits, should be earnest and anxious that others, who do not have the privileges which they have enjoyed, should have the evidences of the truth presented before them. And they will not merely desire that others should have this benefit, but will see that they do have it, and will do their part toward the accomplishment of this object.
Those who become co-laborers with God will increase in moral and spiritual power, while those who devote their time and energies to serving themselves will dwarf, and wither, and die. Christian women, the youth, the middle-aged, and those of advanced years, may have a part in the work of God for this time; and in engaging in this work as they have opportunity, they will obtain an experience of the highest value to themselves. In forgetfulness of self, they will grow in grace. By training the mind in this direction, they will learn how to bear burdens for Jesus, and will realize the blessedness of the service. And soon the time will come when “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”