In the second to last chapter of The Desire of Ages—Go Teach All Nations–Ellen White returns to themes of compassion and action. In addition to the following excerpts, there are also beautiful accounts of Jesus’ mercy offered to those who had worked to kill him and also teachings on physical health.
Scope of Ministry: “Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the desponding and those of little faith” (p. 822).
One Humanity: “Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies” (p. 823).
Empathy: “Christ feels the woes of every sufferer” (p. 823).
Restoration: “The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength” (p. 824-825).
Wrath of the Lamb: “The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God’s child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb. To those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare in the great Judgment day, ‘I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.’ Luke 13:27” (p. 825).
- In what ways is this dichotomy dangerous: preaching = ministry, taking care of people = social action?
- Do I believe in one humanity? What partitions or valuations do I still hold that divide humanity into different levels of importance?
- What builds empathy? What destroys it? How can we avoid empathy exhaustion or “compassion fatigue”?
- In what ways is restoration at the center of the gospel? What are the various dimensions of this? How far does this reality extend? How does this affect our ministry?
- Indifference to others results from love that grows cold. Does my prayer time include asking for God’s love to grow deep inside me? Do my actions encourage this development or squelch it?