April 24, 2011 – April 30, 2011
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.” Ecclesiastes 11:6.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 6, 176–187; Ibid., vol. 9, 30–48.
“We must labor as does the husbandman, with diligence and patience, that we may be partakers of the fruits.” The Signs of the Times, April 14, 1890.
1 TOIL TO BE TREASURED
- What is causing many people today to be dissatisfied and discontented with life? Proverbs 13:4; 18:9; 11:24.
- How does God teach us the value of diligent work? Proverbs 10:16; 13:11.
Note: “The parents of Jesus were poor, and dependent upon their daily toil. He was familiar with poverty, self-denial, and privation. This experience was a safeguard to Him. In His industrious life there were no idle moments to invite temptation. … “Jesus lived in a peasant’s home, and faithfully and cheerfully acted His part in bearing the burdens of the household. He had been the Commander of heaven, and angels had delighted to fulfill His word; now He was a willing servant, a loving, obedient son. He learned a trade, and with His own hands worked in the carpenter’s shop with Joseph. In the simple garb of a common laborer He walked the streets of the little town, going to and returning from His humble work. He did not employ His divine power to lessen His burdens or to lighten His toil.” The Desire of Ages, 72.
2 LESSONS FOR LIFE
- What are some important observations we can make by studying God’s tiny creatures? Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:25–28.
Note: “The wisest of men may learn useful lessons from the ways and habits of the little creatures of the earth. The industrious bee gives to men of intelligence an example that they would do well to imitate. These insects observe perfect order, and no idler is allowed in the hive. They execute their appointed work with an intelligence and activity that are beyond our comprehension. The ants, which we consider as only pests to be crushed under our feet, are in many respects superior to man; for he does not as wisely improve the gifts of God. The wise man calls our attention to the small things of the earth [Proverbs 6:6–8; 30:25 quoted]. We may learn from these little teachers a lesson of faithfulness. Should we improve with the same diligence the faculties which an all-wise Creator has bestowed upon us, how greatly would our capacities for usefulness be increased. God’s eye is upon the smallest of His creatures; does He not, then, regard man formed in His image and require of him corresponding returns for all the advantages He has given him?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 455, 456.
“The habitations that the ants build for themselves show wonderful skill and perseverance. Only one little grain at a time can they handle, but by diligence and perseverance they accomplish wonders. Solomon points to their industry as a reproach to those who waste their hours in sinful idleness, or in practices that corrupt soul and body. The ant prepares for future seasons. Many who are gifted with reasoning powers entirely disregard this lesson, and fail entirely to prepare for the future life.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 14, 1899.
- Name some ways in which we may be slothful without realizing it. Proverbs 24:30–34.
Note: “Many waste hours of precious time in bed because it gratifies the natural inclination and to do otherwise requires an exertion. One hour wasted in the morning is lost never to be recovered.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 181.
3 A NOBLE WORK
- What does the Bible teach on agriculture, and why is it so valuable today? Proverbs 27:18; Ecclesiastes 5:9; 3:1, 2.
Note: “No line of manual training is of more value than agriculture. A greater effort should be made to create and to encourage an interest in agricultural pursuits. Let the teacher call attention to what the Bible says about agriculture: that it was God’s plan for man to till the earth; that the first man, the ruler of the whole world, was given a garden to cultivate; and that many of the world’s greatest men, its real nobility, have been tillers of the soil. … He who earns his livelihood by agriculture escapes many temptations and enjoys unnumbered privileges and blessings denied to those whose work lies in the great cities. And in these days of mammoth trusts and business competition, there are few who enjoy so real an independence and so great certainty of fair return for their labor as does the tiller of the soil.
“In the study of agriculture, let pupils be given not only theory, but practice. While they learn what science can teach in regard to the nature and preparation of the soil, the value of different crops, and the best methods of production, let them put their knowledge to use.” Education, 219.
“The time is not far distant when the laws against Sunday labor will be more stringent, and an effort should be made to secure grounds away from the cities, where fruits and vegetables can be raised. Agriculture will open resources for self-support, and various other trades also could be learned. This real, earnest work calls for strength of intellect as well as of muscle. Method and tact are required even to raise fruits and vegetables successfully. And habits of industry will be found an important aid to the youth in resisting temptation.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 322.
“Again and again the Lord has instructed that our people are to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one.” Selected Messages, Book. 2, 141.
- What instruction is given regarding sharing the harvest? Leviticus 23:22, 28.
4 DILIGENCE IN SOUL-SAVING
- Besides reaping the fruits of the soil, in what other type of harvest are we to be engaging? John 4:34–38.
Note: “Christ sees a plentiful harvest waiting to be gathered in. Souls are hungering for the truth, thirsting for the water of life. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.” Temperance, 258.
- Along with the men, of what are women to be reminded with regard to sowing the seeds of truth? Galatians 3:28.
Note: “The Lord of the vineyard is saying to many women who are now doing nothing, ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle’ [Matthew 20:6]? 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 Signs of the Times, September 16, 1886.
- How will our heavenly Father be disappointed at us if we neglect this duty and privilege? Proverbs 10:5, 26.
- What is the result of dwelling on obstacles and hindrances? Ecclesiastes 11:4. How are we encouraged to diligently persevere in our labors? Ecclesiastes 11:6; 7:8.
Note: “You may say, I have tried to save this one and that one, and they have only wounded me, and I am not going to try to help them any more. But do not become discouraged if they do not at once return to the fold. Reach out still for your fellow mortals around you. You shall reap if you faint not.” Our High Calling, 178. [Emphasis author’s.]
5 PERSEVERING LOVE
- Describe the depth of God’s persevering love even for the erring. Song of Solomon 8:6, 7. How was this shown in Christ’s attitude toward Judas?
Note: “The narrowing selfishness of Judas’ life, Christ sought to heal through contact with His own self-sacrificing love. In His teaching He unfolded principles that struck at the root of the disciple’s self-centered ambitions. Lesson after lesson was thus given, and many a time Judas realized that his character had been portrayed, and his sin pointed out; but he would not yield. …
“ ‘Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray Him.’ John 6:64. Yet, knowing all, He had withheld no pleading of mercy or gift of love.
“Seeing the danger of Judas, He had brought him close to Himself, within the inner circle of His chosen and trusted disciples. Day after day, when the burden lay heaviest upon His own heart, He had borne the pain of continual contact with that stubborn, suspicious, brooding spirit; He had witnessed and labored to counteract among His disciples that continuous, secret, and subtle antagonism. And all this that no possible saving influence might be lacking to that imperiled soul! [Song of Solomon 8:7, 6 quoted.]
“So far as Judas himself was concerned, Christ’s work of love had been without avail. But not so as regards his fellow disciples. To them it was a lesson of lifelong influence. Ever would its example of tenderness and long-suffering mold their intercourse with the tempted and the erring.” Education, 92, 93.
Review and Thought Questions
1 What must we understand about common, everyday labor?
2 What can we learn from the bees and the ants?
3 Name some special advantages enjoyed by the farmer.
4 When our missionary efforts seem to be fruitless, what should we remember?
5 What was gained by Christ’s treatment of Judas?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.