February 26, 2012 – March 3, 2012
“O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 9, 19–26.
“Let the church arouse and go forth to do her appointed work. Every believer, educated or uneducated, can bear the message.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 26.
1 YIELDING BY FAITH
- What privilege is available to every soul in God’s family, and what is necessary in order to lay hold of it? Isaiah 64:8; Hebrews 13:6.
Note: “You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter, and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself, that he may obtain the grace which will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, ‘The Lord is my helper.’ ” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1892.
- In facing difficulties, what understanding can comfort our heart? Job 23:10.
Note: “The fact that we are called upon to endure trial shows that the Lord Jesus sees in us something precious which He desires to develop. If He saw in us nothing whereby He might glorify His name, He would not spend time in refining us. He does not cast worthless stones into His furnace. It is valuable ore that He refines. …
“As the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to be molded by the Master Worker.” The Ministry of Healing, 471, 472.
2 DIGNITY AMID DRUDGERY
- Whatever our task at hand may be, what must we consider? Ecclesiastes 9:10.
Note: “Let us remember that while the work we have to do may not be our choice, it is to be accepted as God’s choice for us. Whether pleasing or unpleasing, we are to do the duty that lies nearest.” The Ministry of Healing, 472, 473.
- With what attitude should we brighten today’s toil? Colossians 3:23, 24.
Note: “It is easy for us to entertain ideas that we know more than we really do, and when tried we stumble over little matters as though they were great difficulties. Do not aspire to do some great service, when the duty of today has not been done with fidelity. Take up the commonplace care, trade on the humble talent with a solemn sense of your responsibility for the right use of every power, every thought that God has given you. God asks no less of the lowliest, than of the most exalted; each must do his appointed work with cheerful alacrity, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. The first thing to gain is a humble sense of your own weakness. Begin to see that you do not possess one tithe of the knowledge that you should possess. Begin to see how you have wasted your privileges, and how much you owe to the mercy of God.” The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888.
- What lesson can we learn from the caged bird? What is the purpose of the shadows of affliction permitted by God? I Peter 4:12, 13.
Note: “In the full light of day, and in hearing of the music of other voices, the caged bird will not sing the song that his master seeks to teach him. He learns a snatch of this, a trill of that, but never a separate and entire melody. But the master covers the cage, and places it where the bird will listen to the one song he is to sing. In the dark, he tries and tries again to sing that song until it is learned, and he breaks forth in perfect melody. Then the bird is brought forth, and ever after he can sing that song in the light. Thus God deals with His children. He has a song to teach us, and when we have learned it amid the shadows of affliction we can sing it ever afterward.” The Ministry of Healing, 472.
3 MYSTERIOUS METHODS OF PROVIDENCE
- Regardless of what others may do, what should we remember? Romans 14:12.
Note: “Let none mourn that they have not larger talents to use for the Master. While you are dissatisfied and complaining, you are losing precious time and wasting valuable opportunities. Thank God for the ability you have, and pray that you may be enabled to meet the responsibilities that have been placed upon you. If you desire greater usefulness, go to work and acquire what you mourn for. Go to work with steady patience, and do your very best, irrespective of what others are doing. [Romans 14:12 quoted.] Let not your thought or your words be, ‘O that I had a larger work! O that I were in this or that position!’
“Do your duty where you are. Make the best investments possible with your intrusted gift in the very place where your work will count the most before God. Put away all murmuring and strife. Labor not for the supremacy. Be not envious of the talents of others; for that will not increase your ability to do a good or a great work. Use your gift in meekness.” The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888.
- Why does the Lord allow us to be tempted and tested? Deuteronomy 8:2.
Note: “God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them into positions which are calculated to reveal the motives of the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advance step the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If any find their hearts opposed to the straight work of God, it should convince them that they have a work to do in overcoming, or they will be finally rejected of the Lord.
“This world is the place in which to prepare to appear in God’s presence. Individuals will here show what power affects their hearts, and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead them to good works, and make them noble-hearted and generous, like their divine Lord. But, on the other hand, selfishness, covetousness, and pride will manifest themselves as the sure result of yielding to evil impulses.
“All who become connected with the cause of God will have opportunity to know what is in their hearts.” The Review and Herald, April 8, 1880.
“It is not purse power or brain power, but heart power we need.” Our High Calling, 162.
4 HUMBLE VESSELS OF HONOR
- Why is the teaching of the gospel given to the humble? I Corinthians 1:18–31.
Note: “The highest grade of schooling that any human being can attain to is the schooling given by the Divine Teacher. This is the knowledge that in a special sense we shall greatly need as we draw near the close of this world’s history, and every one will do well to obtain this kind of education. The Lord requires that men shall be under His training. There is a great work to be done. …
“Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. He received an education in the providence of God; but a large part of that education had to be unlearned, and accounted as foolishness. Its impression had to be blotted out by forty years of experience in caring for the sheep and the tender lambs. If many who are connected with the work of the Lord could be isolated as was Moses, and could be compelled by circumstances to follow some humble vocation until their hearts became tender, they would make much more faithful shepherds than they now do in dealing with God’s heritage. They would not be so prone to magnify their own abilities, or seek to demonstrate that the wisdom of an advanced education could take the place of a sound knowledge of God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 360.
- How are we made polished vessels in the Potter’s hands? II Timothy 2:19–21.
Note: “When self is woven into our labors, then the truth we bear to others does not sanctify, refine, and ennoble our own hearts; it will not testify that we are fit vessels for the Master’s use. It is only through fervent prayer that we may hold sweet fellowship with Jesus, and through this blessed communion the words and the spirit are made fragrant with the spirit of Christ. There is not a heart that will not bear watching. Jesus, the precious Saviour, enjoined watchfulness. The oversight of self must not be relaxed for a moment. The heart must be kept with diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 405.
“What kind of vessels are meet for the Master’s use?—Empty vessels. When we empty the soul of every defilement, we are ready for use.
“Are we emptied of self? Are we cured of selfish planning? Oh, for less self-occupation!” Ye Shall Receive Power, 111.
5 VESSELS FOR VICTORY
- What activates and equips the vessels the Master is molding? II Corinthians 5:14.
Note: “The true test of character is found in the willingness to bear burdens, to take the hard place, to do the work that needs to be done, though it bring no earthly recognition or reward.” Education, 295.
“It is not the capabilities you now possess or ever will have that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 146.
“In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him. …
“He [Christ] will be present to help those whose hearts are susceptible to pity, though their hands may be rough and unskilled. He will work through those who can see mercy in misery, and gain in loss. When the Light of the world passes by, privilege will be discerned in hardship, order in confusion, success in apparent failure.” Education, 269, 270.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Why are the poor in spirit the only clay soft enough for molding?
2 What should we remember when faced with daily drudgery?
3 What current test is revealing the condition of my heart?
4 How was Moses remade into a more worthy vessel—and how can we be?
5 Why will Christ choose to work with vessels of such little apparent worth?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.