In order for a man to be a successful minister, something more than book knowledge is essential. The laborer for souls needs consecration, integrity, intelligence, industry, energy, and tact. Possessing these qualifications, no man can be inferior; instead, he will have a commanding influence for good.

Christ brought His desires and wishes into strict abeyance to His mission, —the mission that bore the insignia of Heaven. He made everything subordinate to the work that He came to this world to accomplish. When in His youth His mother found Him in the school of the rabbis, and said to Him, "Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing," He answered, —and His answer is the keynote of His lifework— "How is it that ye sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:48, 49).

The same devotion, the same consecration, the same subjection to the claims of the word of God, that were manifest in Christ, must be seen in His servants. He left His home of security and peace, left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was, left His position upon the throne of the universe, and went forth, a suffering, tempted man; went forth in solitude, to sow in tears, to water with His blood the seed of life for a lost world.

His servants in like manner must go forth to sow. When called to become a sower of the seed of truth, Abraham was bidden, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee" (Gen. 12:1). "And he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:8) as God's light-bearer, to keep His name alive in the earth. He forsook his country, his home, his relatives, and all the pleasant associations connected with his earthly life, to become a pilgrim and a stranger.

So to the apostle Paul, praying in the temple at Jerusalem, came the message, "Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles" (Acts 22:21). So those who are called to unite with Christ must leave all in order to follow Him. Old associations must be broken up, plans of life relinquished, earthly hopes surrendered. In toil and tears, in solitude and through sacrifice, must the seed be sown.

Those who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God, will constantly receive a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth His highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ, they are made complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.

The Redeemer will not accept divided service. Daily the worker for God must learn the meaning of self-surrender. He must study the word of God, learning its meaning and obeying its precepts. Thus he may reach the standard of Christian excellence. Day by day God works with him, perfecting the character that is to stand in the time of the final test. And day by day the believer is working out before men and angels a sublime experiment, showing what the gospel can do for fallen human beings.

When Christ called His disciples to follow Him, He offered them no flattering prospects in this life. He gave them no promise of gain or worldly honor, nor did they make any stipulation as to what they should receive. To Matthew as he sat at the receipt of custom, the Saviour said, "Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him" (Matt. 9:9). Matthew did not, before rendering service, wait to demand a certain salary. . . . Without question or hesitation he followed Jesus. It was enough for him that he was to be with the Saviour, that he might hear His words and unite with Him in His work.

So it was with the disciples previously called. When Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow Him, they immediately left their boats and nets. Some of these disciples had friends dependent on them for support; but when they received the Savior's invitation, they did not hesitate, inquiring, How shall I live, and sustain my family? They were obedient to the call; and when afterward Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything?" they could answer, "Nothing" (Luke 22:35).

Today the Savior calls us, as He called Matthew and John and Peter, to His work. If our hearts are touched by His love, the question of compensation will not be uppermost in our minds. We shall rejoice to be co-workers with Christ, and we shall not fear to trust His care. If we make God our strength, we shall have clear perceptions of duty, and unselfish aspirations; our life will be actuated by a noble purpose, which will raise us above sordid motives.

Many whom the Lord could use will not hear and obey His voice above all others. Kindred and friends, former habits and associations, have so strong an influence upon them that God can give them but little instruction, can communicate to them but little knowledge of His purposes. The Lord would do much more for His servants if they were wholly consecrated to Him, placing His service above the ties of kindred and all other earthly associations.

Deeper consecration needed

The time demands greater efficiency and deeper consecration. I cry to God, raise up and send forth messengers filled with a sense of their responsibility, men in whose hearts self-idolatry, which lies at the foundation of all sin, has been crucified; who are willing to consecrate themselves without reserve to God's service; whose souls are alive to the sacredness of the work and the responsibility of their calling; who are determined not to bring to God a maimed sacrifice, which costs them neither effort nor prayer.

The Duke of Wellington was once present where a party of Christian men were discussing the possibility of success in missionary effort among the heathen. They appealed to the duke to say whether in his judgment such efforts were likely to prove a success commensurate to the cost. The old soldier replied:

"Gentlemen, what are your marching orders? Success is not the question for you to discuss. If I read your orders aright, they read thus, 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.' Gentlemen, obey your marching orders."

My brethren, the Lord is coming, and we need to bend every energy to the accomplishment of the work before us. I appeal to you to give yourselves wholly to the work. Christ gave His time, His soul, His strength, to labor for the benefit and blessing of humanity. Entire days were devoted to labor, and entire nights were spent in prayer, that He might be braced to meet the foe and fortified to help those who came to Him for relief. As we trace a stream of living water by the line of green that it produces, so Christ may be seen in the deeds of mercy that marked His path at every step. Wherever He went, health sprang up, and happiness followed where He passed. So simply did He present the words of life that a child could understand them. The youth caught His spirit of ministry, and sought to pattern after His gracious ways by assisting those who needed help. The blind and deaf rejoiced in His presence. His words to the ignorant and sinful opened to them a fountain of life. He dispensed His blessings abundantly and continuously; they were the garnered riches of eternity, given in Christ, the Father's gift to man.

Workers for God should as surely feel that they are not their own as if the very stamp and seal of identification were placed upon their persons. They are to be sprinkled with the blood of Christ's sacrifice, and in the spirit of entire consecration they should resolve that by the grace of Christ they will be a living sacrifice. But how few of us regard the salvation of sinners in the light in which it is viewed by the heavenly universe, as a plan devised from eternity in the mind of God! How few of us are heart to heart with the Redeemer in this solemn, closing work! There is scarcely a tithe of the compassion that there should be for souls unsaved. There are so many to be warned, and yet how few sympathize with God sufficiently to be anything or nothing if oniy they can see souls won to Christ!

When Elijah was about to leave Elisha, he said to him, "Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me" (2 Kings 2:9). Elisha did not ask for worldly honor, for a place among the great men of the earth. That which he craved was a large portion of the spirit given to the one whom God was about to honor with translation. He knew that nothing else could fit him for the work that would be required of him.

Ministers of the gospel, had this question been asked you, what would you have answered? What is the greatest desire of your heart, as you engage in the service of God?

Ellen G. White was one of the founders of the Seventhday Adventist Church. Her work continues as a prophetic voice within the Adventist Church.