Steps to Christ
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 9: The Work and the Life
Like the streams of water bursting from a living spring,
blessings flow out from God to all His creatures.
God is the source of life and light and joy to the
universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like
the streams of water bursting from a living
spring, blessings flow out from Him to all His
creatures. And wherever the life of God is in the hearts
of men, it will flow out to others in love and blessing.
Our Saviour's joy was in the uplifting and
redemption of fallen men. For this He counted not
His life dear unto Himself, but endured the cross,
despising the shame. So angels are ever engaged in
working for the happiness of others. This is their joy.
That which selfish hearts would regard as humiliating
service, ministering to those who are wretched
and in every way inferior in character and rank, is
the work of sinless angels. The spirit of Christ's
self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades heaven
and is the very essence of its bliss. This is the spirit
that Christ's followers will possess, the work that
they will do.
When the love of Christ is enshrined in the heart,
like sweet fragrance it cannot be hidden. Its holy
influence will be felt by all with whom we come in
contact. The spirit of Christ in the heart is like a
spring in the desert, flowing to refresh all and
making those who are ready to perish, eager to drink
of the water of life.
Love to Jesus will be manifested in a desire to
work as He worked for the blessing and uplifting of [p. 78] humanity. It will lead to love, tenderness, and
sympathy toward all the creatures of our heavenly
The Saviour's life on earth was not a life of ease
and devotion to Himself, but He toiled with persistent,
earnest, untiring effort for the salvation of lost
mankind. From the manger to Calvary He followed
the path of self-denial and sought not to be released
from arduous tasks, painful travels and exhausting
care and labor. He said, "The Son of man came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to
give His life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28.
This was the one great object of His life. Everything
else was secondary and subservient. It was His meat
and drink to do the will of God and to finish His work.
Self and self-interest had no part in His labor.
So those who are the partakers of the grace of
Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others
for whom He died may share the heavenly gift.
They will do all they can to make the world better
for their stay in it. This spirit is the sure outgrowth
of a soul truly converted. No sooner does one come
to Christ than there is born in his heart a desire to
make known to others what a precious friend he has
found in Jesus; the saving and sanctifying truth
cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed with
the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy
of His indwelling Spirit, we shall not be able to hold
our peace. If we have tasted and seen that the Lord
is good we shall have something to tell. Like Philip
when he found the Saviour, we shall invite others
into His presence. We shall seek to present to them [p. 79] the attractions of Christ and the unseen realities of
the world to come. There will be an intensity of
desire to follow in the path that Jesus trod. There
will be an earnest longing that those around us may
"behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world." John 1:29.
And the effort to bless others will react in
blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in
giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption.
He has granted men the privilege of becoming
partakers of the divine nature and, in their turn, of
diffusing blessings to their fellow men. This is the
highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for
God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become
participants in labors of love are brought nearest to
God might have committed the message of the
gospel, and all the work of loving ministry, to the
heavenly angels. He might have employed other
means for accomplishing His purpose. But in His
infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with
Himself, with Christ and the angels, that we might
share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting,
which results from this unselfish ministry.
We are brought into sympathy with Christ through
the fellowship of His sufferings. Every act of
self-sacrifice for the good of others strengthens the spirit
of beneficence in the giver's heart, allying him more
closely to the Redeemer of the world, who "was
rich, yet for your sakes . . . became poor, that ye
through His poverty might be rich." 2 Corinthians
8:9. And it is only as we thus fulfill the divine [p. 80] purpose in our creation that life can be a blessing to us.
If you will go to work as Christ designs that His
disciples shall, and win souls for Him, you will feel
the need of a deeper experience and a greater knowledge
in divine things, and will hunger and thirst after
righteousness. You will plead with God, and your
faith will be strengthened, and your soul will drink
deeper drafts at the well of salvation. Encountering
opposition and trials will drive you to the Bible and
prayer. You will grow in grace and the knowledge
of Christ, and will develop a rich experience.
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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"A Knowledge of God"