From the Pen of Inspiration – Unity among Laborers

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:13–18.

The principle here laid down is the natural outgrowth of the Christian religion. Especially will those who are engaged in proclaiming the last solemn message to a dying world seek to fulfill this scripture. Although possessing different temperaments and dispositions, they will see eye to eye in all matters of religious belief. They will speak the same things; they will have the same judgment; they will be one in Christ Jesus.

We are here today to compare ideas and to form plans so that all may labor in harmony. No one should feel that his judgment is faultless, that his ideas are above criticism, and that he can pursue a course of his own, regardless of the opinions of others with whom he is united in labor. When we think we know all that is worth knowing, we are in a position where God cannot use us. The third angel’s message is not a narrow message. It is world-wide; and we should be united, so far as possible, in the manner of presenting it to the world.

Man is fallible; but the message is infallible. With it all should be in harmony; it is the center of interest, in which all hearts should be united. We may get up points that are of no consequence, and seek to maintain them; but we shall gain no strength by so doing. The message is to prepare a people to stand in the last great day, and to be united in heaven above. None should feel that it is of no special importance whether they are in union with their brethren or not; for those who do not learn to live in harmony here will never be united in heaven.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11–13.] God is seeking through his prophets and apostles to make us perfect; but if we would become perfect men and women in Christ, we must “come in the unity of the faith.”

Some have a natural independence which leads them to think more highly of their own judgment than of that of their brethren. In so doing they place themselves where they fail to obtain much knowledge that God would have them gain. The history of God’s work in the past shows that some have an understanding of one thing, others of another. It is his plan that there should be a counseling together. In the multitude of counselors there is safety. There should be harmony in sentiment and action among the workers. Doctrines and plans should be compared with the law and the testimony. We should never feel too independent to learn of one another. While it is not according to God’s plan that one man’s mind shall control all other minds, he is not pleased to have individuals strike out on a new track, and present new theories independent of the body.

As ministers, as the church of Christ, labor to be in harmony among yourselves, to be one in heart, one in sympathy. If you cannot all see alike on every subject, do not allow hard feelings to arise. When the cause was young, if there was one who did not view some point of truth as the body viewed it, a day of fasting and prayer was observed. We did not then try to see how far apart we could get; but we prayed, and searched the Scriptures until the light of truth illuminated the darkened mind, and all could see eye to eye.

The truth is a unit, so powerful that our enemies cannot controvert it. Therefore they try to excite jealousies, to create variance, among brethren, that they may be led to separate their affections from God and from one another. In unity there is strength. In Luther’s time it was considered a great misfortune when differences arose among the believers, because it strengthened the opposition of their enemies. There was a time when the Reformation was carrying everything before it, and if the leaders had been united, it would have been, through God, a still more powerful agent for the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan; but variance arose among them, and the enemies of truth greatly rejoiced.

Even so Satan will come in among us, and sow discord if he can. How shall we resist him? By each cultivating love and forbearance in his own heart toward his brethren. If you see that one of your brethren is in fault, do not turn from him: and speak against him; but see how much good you can do him by treating him tenderly. Instead of allowing selfish feelings to arise, and seeking to preserve personal dignity, let self drop out of sight. Jesus with his long human arm encircles the fallen race and seeks to connect them with the throne of the Infinite. This is the work that you should be engaged in. Do not disappoint Jesus by your dissensions.

Even though you think you are right, you are not to urge your individual ideas to the front, so that they will cause discord. Do not take the position that you cannot err. All are liable to make mistakes; all need to anoint their eyes with the eye-salve spoken of by the True Witness, that they may see themselves as they are in God’s sight.

Here are two brethren laboring together. Will these brethren, if the spirit of Christ reigns in their hearts, be found warring against each other? Will they cherish envy, evil surmisings, and hard feelings against each other? Impossible. Neither one will possess exalted views of himself while he undervalues his brother. Each will esteem the other better than himself. “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34.] The love here spoken of is not that sentimentalism, that low order of love, that attracts the affections from Christ and places them upon one another. The love here described is pure; it arises from having the affections centered upon Jesus, making him first, and last, and best in everything.

Brethren, it is your privilege to carry with you the credentials that you are Christ’s,—love, joy, and peace. Will you seek earnestly to have this heavenly plant of love become rooted in your hearts, and then will you tenderly cherish it lest it wither and die? Let Christ appear. Do not cherish a spirit of independence which will lead you to feel that if your brethren do not agree with you they must be wrong. The opinions of your brethren are just as precious to them as yours are to you. Christ in you will unite you to Christ in them, and there will be a sweet spirit of union.

Jesus is ready to do great things for us when we lay ourselves upon the altar, a living, consuming sacrifice. “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” [Isaiah 13:12.] How? Through the spirit of Christ. It is through the infinite sacrifice of Christ that this high estimate has been placed upon man. When we have his spirit in our hearts, we shall be of one mind in him. We shall not then seek to cover up the defects in our characters; but we shall strive earnestly to overcome them. Our eyes will be fixed upon Jesus, and we shall learn from him to dwell in love and harmony with one another here, and shall finally be permitted to dwell with Christ and angels and all the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.

Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists (1886), 124–126.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.