Bible Study – Our Last Opportunity!

December 19 – 25, 2021

Key Text

“I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 476–485; Ibid., vol. 6, 445–453.


“We are nearing the end of this earth’s history, and the different departments of God’s work are to be carried forward with much more self-sacrifice than has yet been practiced.” Evangelism, 631.



1.a. To what realities are we all subject? Hebrews 9:27. What should this make each of us consider, whether old, young, sick, or healthy? Romans 12:11.

 Note: “It often happens that an active businessman is cut down without a moment’s warning and on examination his business is found to be in a most perplexing condition. In the effort to settle his estate the lawyers’ fees eat up a large share, if not all, of the property, while his wife and children and the cause of Christ are robbed. Those who are faithful stewards of the Lord’s means will know just how their business stands, and, like wise men, they will be prepared for any emergency. Should their probation close suddenly, they would not leave such great perplexity upon those who are called to settle their estate.

“Many are not exercised upon the subject of making their wills while they are in apparent health. But this precaution should be taken by our brethren. They should know their financial standing and should not allow their business to become entangled. They should arrange their property in such a manner that they may leave it at any time.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 482.

1.b. In planning our wills, what should we consider? Isaiah 38:1.



2.a. Since thousands of dollars are lost because people die without making a legal will, what need should be brought to the attention of the believers? 1 Corinthians 4:2.

 Note: “Some wills are made in so loose a manner that they will not stand the test of the law, and thus thousands of dollars have been lost to the cause. Our brethren should feel that a responsibility rests upon them, as faithful servants in the cause of God, to exercise their intellect in regard to this matter, and secure to the Lord His own.

“Many manifest a needless delicacy on this point. They feel that they are stepping upon forbidden ground when they introduce the subject of property to the aged or to invalids in order to learn what disposition they design to make of it. But this duty is just as sacred as the duty to preach the word to save souls. Here is a man with God’s money or property in his hands. He is about to change his stewardship. Will he place the means which God has lent him to be used in His cause, in the hands of wicked men, just because they are his relatives? Should not Christian men feel interested and anxious for that man’s future good as well as for the interest of God’s cause, that he shall make a right disposition of his Lord’s money, the talents lent him for wise improvement? Will his brethren stand by and see him losing his hold on this life and at the same time robbing the treasury of God? This would be a fearful loss to himself and to the cause; for, by placing his talent of means in the hands of those who have no regard for the truth of God, he would, to all intents and purposes, be wrapping it in a napkin and hiding it in the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 479.

“Death will not come one day sooner, brethren, because you have made your will. In disposing of your property by will to your relatives, be sure that you do not forget God’s cause. You are His agents, holding His property; and His claims should have your first consideration. Your wife and children, of course, should not be left destitute; provision should be made for them if they are needy. But do not, simply because it is customary, bring into your will a long line of relatives who are not needy.” Ibid., 482.

2.b. Whether we live or die, what does God expect each of us to remember? Romans 14:8, 12.



3.a. What is our duty in these last days? 1 Thessalonians 5:1–6; Zechariah 10:1. How can we receive the latter rain or “refreshing”? Acts 3:19–21.

 Note: “The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain—‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ (Genesis 4:9).” Counsels on Stewardship, 52.

“God calls for men to give the warning to the world that is asleep, dead in trespasses and sins. He calls for freewill offerings from those whose hearts are in the work, who have a burden for souls, that they shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 446.

3.b. What should be foremost in our mind today, as individuals and as a church organization? John 9:4.

Note: “We ought now to be heeding the injunction of our Saviour: ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not’ (Luke 12:33). It is now that our brethren should be cutting down their possessions instead of increasing them. We are about to move to a better country, even a heavenly. Then let us not be dwellers upon the earth, but be getting things into as compact a compass as possible.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 152.

“For what shall we hoard up treasures? To be swept away by the flames of the last day? Shall we lay up gold and silver to be a witness against us in the Judgment—to eat our flesh as it were fire? Shall we cling to our possessions till they fall into the hands of our enemies? The time is coming when commandment keepers can neither buy nor sell. Of what use will houses and lands, bank stock and merchandise, be to us then? Now is the time to place our treasures where they will be eternally secure.” The Review and Herald, December 6, 1887.



4.a. Why hasn’t Christ returned yet? 2 Peter 3:9. How can we avoid losing all our means in the prophecy that is soon to be fulfilled? Isaiah 2:20; Ezekiel 7:19; Psalm 96:2–8.

 Note: “If our brethren would learn the value of souls in the light of what their salvation has cost Jesus, they would know that souls are of greater value than houses and lands, gold and precious stones, or high positions of honor.” The Review and Herald, February 5, 1884.

“The work of God is to become more extensive, and if His people follow His counsel, there will not be much means in their possession to be consumed in the final conflagration. All will have laid up their treasure where moth and rust cannot corrupt; and the heart will not have a cord to bind it to earth.” Counsels on Stewardship, 60.

4.b. What does Christ promise to all who through faithful sacrifice are seriously preparing for His return? Isaiah 33:14–17.

Note: “It is contrary to the Bible to make any provision for our temporal wants in the time of trouble. I saw that if the saints had food laid up by them or in the field in the time of trouble, when sword, famine, and pestilence are in the land, it would be taken from them by violent hands and strangers would reap their fields. Then will be the time for us to trust wholly in God, and He will sustain us. I saw that our bread and water will be sure at that time, and that we shall not lack or suffer hunger; for God is able to spread a table for us in the wilderness. If necessary He would send ravens to feed us, as He did to feed Elijah, or rain manna from heaven, as He did for the Israelites.

“Houses and lands will be of no use to the saints in the time of trouble, for they will then have to flee before infuriated mobs, and at that time their possessions cannot be disposed of to advance the cause of present truth. I was shown that it is the will of God that the saints should cut loose from every encumbrance before the time of trouble comes, and make a covenant with God through sacrifice. If they have their property on the altar and earnestly inquire of God for duty, He will teach them when to dispose of these things. Then they will be free in the time of trouble and have no clogs to weigh them down.” Early Writings, 56, 57.



5.a. Where is the best investment available today, and why? Luke 12:32–34.

 Note: “Let us be honest with the Lord. All the blessings that we enjoy come from Him; and if He has entrusted us with the talent of means, that we may help to do His work, shall we hold back? Shall we say, No, Lord; my children would not be pleased, and therefore I shall venture to disobey God, burying His talent in the earth?

“There should be no delay. The cause of God demands your assistance. We ask you, as the Lord’s stewards, to put His means into circulation, to provide facilities by which many will have the opportunity of learning what is truth.” Counsels on Stewardship, 44, 45.

5.b. What declaration will the Lord make at the end of time? Psalm 50:3–5. How will all who make a covenant by sacrifice be richly rewarded? 1 Corinthians 15:57, 58.

 Note: “There is reward for the wholehearted, unselfish workers who enter this field, and also for those who contribute willingly for their support. Those engaged in active service in the field, and those who give of their means to sustain these workers, will share the reward of the faithful. …

“The self-denial they have practiced in order to support the work is remembered no more. As they look upon the souls they sought to win to Jesus, and see them saved, eternally saved—monuments of God’s mercy and of a Redeemer’s love—there ring through the arches of heaven shouts of praise and thanksgiving.” Counsels on Stewardship, 348, 349.



1    What superstition about making wills is detrimental to God’s cause?

2    Why should we not neglect to speak about making wills?

3    What is one reason why many will fail to receive the latter rain?

4    What should we realize before the approaching time of trouble?

5    How and when is the interest paid on treasure laid up in heaven?

Copyright 2012, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Present Position and Work

Seventh-day Adventists are charged with making the Sabbath a test. And some will have it that we denounce and reject all who do not believe as we do. It is true that we teach that God is testing the people by His law. But we deny the charge that we denounce and reject those who differ from us. Our course toward all men whom we can reach with our publications, our sermons and our entreaties, proves the charge false. We beseech all men, without respect to profession of religion, color, or rank in society, to turn from their sins, keep God’s commandments and live. And we manifest a zeal and earnestness in this matter somewhat in proportion to the importance of the testing message we bear. And because our testimony is pointed and earnest, condemning those who choose to pass along with the popular current and violate the law of God, some are disturbed, and with feelings of retaliation, falsely charge us. It is not our work to test, condemn, and denounce, the people. It is not in our hearts to unnecessarily injure the feelings of any. But with our present convictions of truth and duty, we should do great violence to our own consciences, and sin against God, should we cease to declare to the people the purpose of God in testing the world by His law, just before the day of wrath. …

But if the Sabbath is not a test, it is not worth our while to go to the trouble of teaching and observing it in the face of decided opposition. If we can be as good Christians while breaking the fourth commandment, as while keeping it, should we not at once seek to be in harmony with the rest of the Christian world? Why be so odd as to obey the commandment of God, if one can be as good a Christian while living in violation of it? And there are frequent inconveniences, and pecuniary sacrifices, to be suffered by those who are so particular concerning the observance of the fourth commandment. If the Sabbath is of so little importance as not to be a test of Christian fellowship and eternal salvation; if men who break the Sabbath should be embraced in our fellowship the same as if they observed it; and if they can reach Heaven as surely in violating the fourth commandment as in keeping it; why not abandon it at once, and cease to agitate the public mind with a question of no real importance which is so unpleasant and annoying.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that in the restoration of the Bible Sabbath, under the last message of mercy, God designs to make it a test to the people. Hence many of them labor with earnestness to teach it, and are ready to make any sacrifices in order to observe it, and do their duty in teaching it to others. Convince them that it is not a test, and they will not trouble the people nor themselves longer with it. But should they give the people to understand that they regard the Sabbath of so little importance as not to be a test, “the sword of the Spirit,” on that subject at least, would become in their hands as powerless as a straw. They could not then convict the people upon this subject. Indeed their position before the people, in earnestly calling their attention to a subject that is of so little importance as not to constitute a test of Christian character, and which would subject them to a heavy cross, much inconvenience, sacrifice, and reproach, would be but little less than solemn mockery. With our present view of the importance of the subject, we have a sufficient reason for earnestly urging the claims of the fourth commandment upon our fellow-men.

The remarks of Elder J. N. Andrews in reference to the Sabbatarians of England in the seventeenth century, have so direct a bearing upon this subject that I give the following from his History of the Sabbath, pp. 335, 336:

“The laws of England during that century were very oppressive to all dissenters from the established church, and bore exceedingly hard upon the Sabbath-keepers. Yet fine, imprisonment, and even capital punishment, would not have proved sufficient to suppress the Sabbath. It was in the house of its own friends that the Sabbath was wounded. In the seventeenth century eleven churches of Sabbatarians flourished in England, while many scattered Sabbath-keepers were to be found in various parts of that kingdom. Now but three of those churches are in existence. It was not the lack of able men among the Sabbath-keepers to defend the truth, not the fierce assaults of their persecutors, that has thus reduced them to a handful. The fault is their own, not indeed for any disgraceful conduct on their part, but simply because they made the Sabbath of no practical importance, and lowered the standard of divine truth on this thing to the dust. The Sabbath-keeping ministers assumed the pastoral care of first-day churches, in some cases as their sole charge, in others they did this in connection with the oversight of Sabbatarian churches. The result need surprise no one; as both ministers and people said to all men, in thus acting, that the fourth commandment might be broken with impunity, the people took them at their word.”

Seventh-day Adventists have nothing to boast of. God has often reproved and chastised us for unfaithfulness. And when we have returned to Him, and humbly and faithfully battled for the truth, amid reproaches and persecutions, He has greatly blessed us. Nothing is so much to be dreaded as that calm which is the result of tempering unpopular, testing truth to the ears of the people so as not to offend. Rather let the reproach come, and the storm rage, if it be the result of speaking the truth of God in love.

As a people we have had our difficulties to surmount, our trials to bear, and our victories to gain. We are gathered from Methodists, Regular Baptists, Freewill Baptists, Seventh-day Baptists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Dutch Reform, Disciples, Christians, Lutherans, United Brethren, Catholics, Universalists, Worldlings, and Infidels. We are composed of native Americans, English, Welsh, Scotch, Irish, French, Germans, Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, Poles, and others. To bring together a body composed of such material, affected more or less by the religious sentiments, and forms of the several denominations, with all their national peculiarities, has called for much patient, and persevering toil. And it is by the grace of God that we are what we are. And let His name be praised that in our darkest hours, when we have humbled ourselves, He has ever come to our aid.

From their past brief history Seventh-day Adventists may learn much as to their present work and future prospects. When in humility they have borne a decided testimony in the fear of God, their labors have been signally blessed. When they have been willing to bear the cross of present truth, and sacrifice time, convenience and means to advance the work, they have shared the approving smiles of Heaven. They have seen that nothing can keep the body in a healthy condition but the plain and pointed testimony. This will do the work of purification, either by purging their sins, or separating from them the unconsecrated and rebellious. Let the result be what it may, such testimony must be borne, or this people will fall as others have fallen. And terrible would be their fall, after having so clear light, and having had committed to them so sacred a trust as the last message of mercy to sinners.

From the past we may also learn what to expect in the future, in the line of persecution. Satan has been angry because this people have been seeking for the “old paths,” that they might walk therein. He has been especially disturbed as they have plead for the restoration of the Sabbath, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. If the people be taught that God is testing them upon the Sabbath, and that they should listen to the testimony of Jesus, in the spirit of prophecy, which reproves their sins, and calls on them to consecrate themselves and what they possess to the Lord, we may depend upon it, the ire of the dragon will be stirred. This we have witnessed and suffered in proportion to our faithfulness in the work. When we have borne a pointed testimony, we have been the especial objects of the wrath of the dragon; but with it have also shared largely the blessing of God. When we have been unfaithful, the dragon has been comparatively quiet, but we have suffered leanness of soul. And thus we may expect it will be for time to come.

The position of suspense is not the most happy one. Those who wait for the return of the Lord in uncertainty as to the definite period of His second advent, are in danger of becoming restless. Hence the application of certain texts to this time, and to the people who are waiting for their Lord. “Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10:36). “Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh” (James 5:8). “Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).

In such a position, how natural the often-repeated inquiry, “How long before the Lord will come?” But no definite answer can be given to this inquiry. And it is best that this question cannot be definitely answered. Definite time has answered the purpose of God. It brought the Advent people to the waiting time, requiring great patience. Throughout this entire period of the patience of the saints, the only safe position is to keep the coming of Christ ever before us, and to regulate all our acts in full view of the terrible realities of the Judgment. To put off the coming of the Lord, and view that event in the distance, and enter into the spirit of the world, would be dangerous in the extreme. It is true that there are prophecies to be fulfilled, just prior to the coming of the Lord; but their fulfillment is of such a nature that it can be realized in a short time. Unbelief may suggest that as the time has continued longer than the waiting ones expected, it may still continue many years. But saving faith takes the safe position, and views the event at the door. This fact should ever be borne in mind, that while we have no means of showing that the Lord will come at an immediate definite point, no one can prove that He may not very soon come. And while it cannot be proved that the Lord will not very soon come, I will call attention to the following facts which show that the second advent cannot be a distant event.

  1. The three messages constitute a solemn warning to the world to prepare for the coming of Christ. The closing division of this great warning is a test to the world and ripens the harvest of the earth. Those who receive the warning and prepare for the coming of the Lord, are ripened by it for immortality. Those who reject it, are ripened for the day of slaughter.
  2. The warning given by Noah, the manner his message was treated, and the wrath of God in a flood of water, illustrate the closing events of the present state of things (Matthew 24:37). God did not call this preacher of righteousness to warn the next to the last generation before the flood, but the very last. The very generation which drank the waters of the flood, saw Noah build the ark, and heard his warning voice. How absurd the supposition that Noah built the ark, and gave his warning message in the time of next to the last generation, so that those who heard his message and saw his work, passed into the grave, and the ark went to decay, and their children came upon the stage of action to witness unwarned terrors of the flood.
  3. The last great warning was to be given to the last generation of men. The very ones who hear it, receive it, obey it, and are waiting for the Lord, will exclaim, as the Son of man shall return with His angels down the blazing vault of heaven, “Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us” (Isaiah 25:9). And the very men who reject the warning, and justly merit the wrath of God, will also witness the second advent in flaming fire with terror and anguish. This warning is not given to next to the last generation, but to the very last. Then, as certain as the great warning, illustrated by the three messages of Revelation 14 has been, and is being given in our day, just so certain the generation that has heard the warning will witness the day of wrath, and the revelation of the Son of God from Heaven. One of two things is certain; either Seventh-day Adventists are wrong in the application of the messages, or Christ is very soon coming. If they are correct in their application of the great warning, then the very men who hear it will witness its terrible realities.


“Verily I say unto you,” says Christ, “this generation shall not pass away, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:34, 35). We do not believe that the word generation marks any definite number of years. The Lord designed to teach that the people who should live at the time of the fulfillment of the last sign mentioned (falling stars of 1833), and should hear the proclamation of the coming of Christ, based partly upon the fulfilled signs, should witness the scenes connected with His coming. God has raised up men to give the solemn warning to the world at the right time. The signs were fulfilled at the right time to give force to the warning. And the very generation of men that live after the three great signs are fulfilled, and who hear and reject the warning message, will drink the unmingled cup of the wrath of God. And those of this very generation who receive the message, suffer disappointment and endure the trails of the waiting position, will witness the coming of Christ, and exclaim, “Lo! this is our God, we have waited for Him.”

Dear reader, if watchful and faithful to duty, we shall very soon enter the harbor of eternal rest. Keep a good look-out. Oh, be not deceived, and overcome by the world, the flesh, and the Devil. True faith forbids your looking into the future, and laying plans for the benefit of the next generation. It shuts you up to the present. But it is to be feared that those who are employing their physical and mental forces to accumulate wealth for their children, while they are neglecting their duty to the cause of present truth, and do not give themselves and families time to seek and serve God, are making a terrible mistake. They not only fail to help the cause, and fail to walk with God, and fail to exert the best influence in their own families, but their influence in professing so solemn and definite a position as that the present is the period for the third and last solemn warning, while in works they deny their faith, is decidedly against the cause.

The world exhibits madness in grasping for wealth. A spirit of insanity has taken hold of men upon the subject of worldly gain; and many who profess present truth are more or less imbued with it. With those who do not fear God and keep His commandments, and are not looking for the soon coming of His Son, this is what might be expected. But with Seventh-day Adventists there is no excuse. With them it is insanity and madness. Why should they accumulate wealth for their children? Should the Lord remain away a hundred years, wealth handed down to them would be their almost certain ruin. Look to the history of truly good and great men. Have they sprung up amid wealth? Or have they come from families trained in the school of poverty and want? Read the histories of the early lives of Martin Luther and Abraham Lincoln. Both were poor boys. But they both became great men, by facing want, grappling with poverty, and overcoming those obstacles ever lying in the path of want. Such a struggle in early life gave them experience, and was the safeguard of their purity. While the names of these good men are embalmed in the memory and affection of the people, those of hundreds, who received riches from their parents, have rotted, because money was in the way of their doing what they should have done, and being what they might have been. Setting aside the coming of the Lord, there is no more certain ruin to the children than for them to look to, and lean upon, their parents’ wealth.

But what can be said of the influence of those brethren who profess to believe that the last great warning to the world is being given, yet devote their entire energies to accumulating wealth for their children? What can be the influence upon their children? Is it not to lead them to love this world? to put off the coming of the Lord? to neglect the necessary preparation? Are they not taking a course directly to shut them out of the kingdom of Heaven? And is there any hope of the salvation of either parents or children while pursuing such an inconsistent course? Without the faith of the soon coming of the Lord, they are pursuing a course to secure their ruin. With this faith, while pursuing a course to deny it in work, they are making that ruin certain.

The short period of probation remaining should be improved in laying up treasure in Heaven, and seeking that preparation necessary to its enjoyment in the next life. Parents, I entreat you, live out the precious Advent faith before your children. Lead them to Jesus, and teach them by your faith and works to secure a preparation for His coming. Let your influence in favor of truth and holiness extend to all around, that it may be said of you, “Well done, good and faithful servant; … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:23).

Life Incidents in Connection with the Great Advent Movement, 332–342.

Where Your Treasure Is

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:19–24.

One of my favorite songs is entitled “With My Whole Heart.” The lyrics say so much:

With my whole heart I trust You.
With my whole heart I seek You.
With my whole heart I rest in You my Lord,
Loving Lord of all my heart.
With Your whole heart You love me.
With Your whole heart You forgive me.
With Your whole heart You lift me up my Lord,
Loving Lord of all my heart.
With my whole heart I love You.
With my whole heart I adore You.
With my whole heart I’ll lift you up, my Lord,
Loving Lord of all my heart.

A while ago as I was staying at the hospital with my mother, I was reading a missionary book by Jean Carter Cochran, The Bells of the Blue Pagoda, Teach Services, Brushton NY, previewing it for my granddaughter. Something in that book really caught my attention. As I thought about it, several other similar incidents from the Bible came to mind and caused me to think seriously about my life, my priorities, and how I act based on those priorities. Do my actions prove that what I think in my own mind and claim are my priorities, truly are my priorities?

The mission story that first instigated my thinking on this topic took place in China quite some time ago. This story concerns a Chinese pastor by the name of Pastor Meng. At the time of this incident, he was working at a clinic with two foreign missionaries, a husband and wife, and a young Chinese woman doctor, Little Small Feet, and a few native assistants.

Little Small Feet had just recently returned from completing her education in the United States. She, along with the two foreigners, chose to set up their clinic in a remote city called The City of the Blue Pagoda. Unbeknown to them all, this was the very city where years before Little Small Feet had been kidnapped by an evil woman for the handsome ransom she expected to extract from Little Small Feet’s wealthy father, Lord Chang. Sadly, Lord Chang had never wanted this daughter, as she was the last of several girls and he had desperately wanted a boy. Therefore he refused to even consider paying the ransom.

Though it may seem irrational to us, Little Small Feet’s captors never forgave her for not bringing them the ransom they had expected. Though Little Small Feet had been rescued by the two foreign missionaries mentioned above, who were at that point in time working in a different hospital and a different city, throughout her lifetime her evil captors plotted and pursued, seeking to kidnap her again in order to wreak their revenge on this innocent girl. So when naively Little Small Feet and her dedicated Christian friends set up their clinic in her native city, the wicked kidnappers were ecstatic. Carefully they made their plans. Silently and patiently they waited and plotted. They wanted no chance of failure as had happened time and again before. Nor did they wish to be found the guilty ones in the carrying out of their wicked scheme.

Finally the time was ripe. An epidemic had recently swept through the city, and though the workers from the clinic had nearly worn out their lives in caring for the sick and dying, the evil ones had slyly insinuated that it was these very ones who had brought the plague upon the city.

Needless to say, this little rumor, this wicked scheming, easily turned the tide of public opinion against these true servants of the Lord. Signs of brooding trouble began trickling to their ears. And soon, it was no longer trickling and brooding, but breaking out into open danger. One afternoon as they were returning to the compound, a mob began following them, and it was only with great difficulty that they succeeded in arriving home.

As the day progressed, Little Small Feet and her colleagues realized the absolute necessity of leaving the city for a time until the disturbances should subside. Given the unrest of the unruly elements, they decided they would escape over a wall in the back of the compound late in the evening, when they hoped things would be more peaceful. Calmly, as though nothing were brewing beyond the compound walls, they each pursued their various tasks, caring for the sick and suffering ones within. However, as evening approached, the unrest in the city grew heated, and they realized waiting was useless; there would be no quiet in the city that night. As they made their preparations to depart over the wall into and through the gardens of loyal and friendly neighbors, the foreign missionaries and Little Small Feet pled with Pastor Meng to leave with them for the sake of his own safety, but he staunchly refused. And soon, it was too late; he could not have left if he had wanted. As he was speaking his refusal, a loud commotion began closing in on the front gate.

Pastor Meng urged his friends to hurry. Taking a rope ladder he quickly assisted each one up and over the wall to the other side. Then, being the only one left, rather than climbing it himself to escape, he took the ladder down and hid it. Then he went to meet the seething mob who had burst through the gate. Boldly he confronted the intruders, questioning them as to why they were attacking the very ones who had saved the lives of so many of them. But rather than listen, they only became more inflamed. The mob, intent on looting, on finding the foreigners, and especially Little Small Feet, swarmed the buildings. But Pastor Meng, rather than escaping in the confusion, stayed. His only thought was that each moment he could delay the mob increased the chances of his friends’ successful escape. Not finding their quarry, the rabble turned on Pastor Meng, demanding that he tell them where his friends had gone.

“An exalted look swept over the pastor’s face; it verily seemed to shine. His lips moved as if in prayer and with a ringing voice he exclaimed: ‘I will not tell you where the foreigners are because they are the best friends I have ever had, and the best friends this city has! Years ago when I was dying of cholera, they took me into their hospital and nursed me back to life. Should I be false to them now? That is not the idea of gratitude the ancients taught us. I am not afraid for’—and his voice took on a note of triumph—‘I believe in God, the Father Almighty, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord!’ At the first words the rioters listened breathless, astonished at the man’s courage; then someone moved and the spell was broken. A hand threw a stone that caught the pastor on the forehead and he fell headlong. A soldier near, as if to complete the mischief, stabbed him with a knife. One of the crowd, with more feeling than the rest, saw the lips of the dying man move and stooping over caught his last words: ‘Oh, I see Jesus, I see Jesus,’ he whispered, and then the brave heart stopped beating.” The Bells of the Blue Pagoda, 212.

It is this scene, the stone, the shining face, the words, “Oh, I see Jesus, I see Jesus” that drew my attention. I thought about another time, another place, another mob, long, long ago; another man, another testimony, another witness for the Saviour, giving his life through stoning for His Lord, and that others might know His God. Then my mind was drawn to the stories of other men whose faces shone with the glory of God in spite of, or maybe because of, the trying situations they were in, and I began thinking; serious thinking. If I am ever in that kind of a situation would I have the courage of the Lord to stand against a mob? Do I have the faith in and the connection with my God that Pastor Meng had or that Stephen had [Acts 7:51–60]? And lastly, I asked myself, have I lived my life with the dedication and doing the deeds of Jesus such that in my dying moments I will see my Jesus? The honest answer to these questions is imperative if we want to know where our hearts really are, where our treasure actually is.

We live in very serious times. We have been blessed with peace and abundance and physical safety. But we are on the very verge of “a time of trouble such as never was” [Daniel 12:1]. And I ask myself and you, where is my treasure, and yours? Where is my heart, and yours? If our hearts and our treasures are not with God in heaven, we will not be able to answer in the affirmative any of the questions above. And if we cannot answer the above questions in the affirmative, we will not be able to say at any point in time, “I see Jesus, I see Jesus.” We will not have the courage necessary to stand. We will not have the faith or the connection that will be essential. And rather than a face shining with the love of God, our face will be one of the faces in the mob, darkened and distorted by the sentiments of Satan, and when the dying moment comes, we will be alone, without a Saviour.

This may sound extreme, but there is no middle ground. There is no middle of the road where there is no commitment one way or the other. Pastor Meng could not protect himself and confront the mob. He could not do both. He had to do one or the other. And so must we choose. To not actively choose one side is to actively select the other. We cannot sit passively on the sidelines. As I read this story of Pastor Meng, as I thought about Stephen being stoned, even as I thought of Moses with his face shining from being in the presence of God (remember God offered to eradicate the rebellious Israelites who continually blamed and mistreated Moses, and make of Moses a great nation, but Moses, rather than finding relief in this offer, interceded and begged the Lord to have mercy on them, but if not to blot his name from the book of life [Exodus 32:30–32]), I realized I have an intense desire to have that faith, that connection with God that these people had. And I realized that it won’t just happen. I have to make a choice. If I want to be able to stand alone in the face of a mob, if I want my face to shine, I must have the same self-renouncing, self-sacrificing love they had. Do I show by my actions that I want to be able to say “I see Jesus, I see Jesus,” when I am faced with death?

Each one of these people made a choice. Each one had chosen to “lay up their treasure in heaven” [Matthew 6:20]. In so doing, each one also chose to forgo the pleasures and treasures of this earth. And I too, if I wish to have the experience these people had, must be willing to suffer and to sacrifice, willing to commit and to take a stand. This desire must be the driving force of my life. This desire must control my choices each and every day.

So I ask you, today, where is your treasure? What is the driving force in your life? What truly controls your choices and your actions? Is it an intense desire to see Jesus? Is it to live your life in such a way that your face will shine with the light of God [Matthew 5:6]? Is it a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” [Matthew 5:6]? Is the driving and controlling motive of your life to have the faith and courage of the Lord, and are your actions proving that this is indeed the case? Is it to have the preparation necessary to stand during the rapidly approaching time of trouble such has never been?

We have all the information necessary to prepare. We have the promise of God that He will be with us. But we must make the choice. And we must act on that choice. Today we must choose to “lay up treasure in heaven.” Remember, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” [Matthew 6:24].

Today, while probation lingers, “Choose you this day whom you will serve” [Joshua 24:15].

Brenda Douay is a member of the Steps to Life staff. She may be contacted by email at: