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WILLING HANDS MAY LABOR
A brother in Michigan writes:
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I received the papers, etc., sent me. I feel the time is too short to lose a moment. How I do desire to go forth and proclaim the broad, grand, and finished plan of our great salvation. Truly I am thankful to God that he has raised up heralds of the coming kingdom, so shortly to be ushered in; and above all, I am rejoiced to see how the suffering millions of mankind are to be restored to God in the coming age. Your Tabernacle and its teachings, together with ZION’S WATCH TOWER and „Food for Thinking Christians,” has so opened the eyes of my understanding that the Church and the world have assumed quite another aspect. The Church, how definite her duty and her portion; how narrow her pathway of testimony; how exalted her relation to her head, and her future glorious sphere of action. The broad world to be her mission field, not in rejection, weakness and poverty; but honored, powerful, wise and beautiful. Truly, with her glorified Head, she will be the light of the world in fact, as she is such now in prospect. I feel a strong desire to bear a humble part in the great work of preparing our brethren and sisters in Christ for the reception of the truth, as the Lord has enabled you to set it forth. For several years I have been laboring for the Church, and at present I am employed by a church which I was instrumental in organizing. Now, will you instruct me how I may capture that little flock by the truth, and not startle them before I can overpower them by the Word; and not only them, but all with whom I come in contact. By this I mean, what line of thought should I introduce first to the assembly? Then how to proceed by easy stages, so as not to have them think that this is strange fire, and offered by one estranged from the healthy part of orthodoxy. Pardon the liberty I take with one with whom I have no acquaintance; but the tone of your teaching warrants me in taking this course. Yours truly, __________.
In reply:—We welcome you as another laborer in the harvest. We rejoice with you in your own joy and blessing, and in your zeal for the flock. The Lord give you grace and strength through the truth, to lay down your life in the service of the sheep. Counting not your life, convenience, comfort, or reputation, dear unto you, may you spend and be spent thus in the Master’s service.
Expect not too much; tares are more plentiful than wheat; expect not the Master’s permission to bring tares into the barn—the harvest work is to separate and gather the wheat—the Chief Reaper is superintending, and it will be thoroughly done; work with him according to his plan, if you would be used and fully blessed. It is right to be „wise as serpents and harmless as doves,” lest we prejudice the sheep against the food they so much need. The majority, however, fail from an excess of prudence and wisdom, and accomplish nothing. Fear and self-interest seems to influence more than are fully aware of it. God hides his plans and debars from his service the „wise and prudent” after this sort, and reveals them unto those who will out with them.—Matt.
The best place to begin is with the foundation, as did Paul, who says: „I declared unto you first of all that which I also received [first of all], how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” Show that Jesus was „a propitiation” [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours [the Church’s sins] only, but ALSO for the sins of the whole world. Show that all must receive some benefit from the ransom given for all. Show what benefit. This will open up the promises of Scripture, heavenly and earthly, and will speedily turn against you those who love and hold tradition more firmly than the Word of God, together with those who have and love a form of godliness while ignoring the power thereof.
The Lord bless and guide you, making you of quick understanding in the knowledge of His Word, through meekness and perseverance.
Yours in fellowship and service.
— April, 1886 —