Progressive Patterns

Family first

Why make family first

Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God,--subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death, --it is said that "His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel." "In all their affliction He was afflicted: . . . and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old." Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9. {Ed 263.1}

His Spirit "maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." As the "whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together" (Romans 8:26, 22), the heart of the infinite Father is pained in sympathy. Our world is a vast lazar house, a scene of misery that we dare not allow even our thoughts to dwell upon. Did we realize it as it is, the burden would be too terrible. Yet God feels it all. In order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our power, through co-operation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14. {Ed 263.2}

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15), is Christ's command to His followers. Not that all are called to be ministers or missionaries in the ordinary sense of the term; but all may be workers with Him in giving the "glad tidings" to their fellow men. To all, great or small, learned or ignorant, old or young, the command is given. {Ed 264.1}

In view of this command, can we educate our sons and daughters for a life of respectable conventionality, a life professedly Christian, but lacking His self-sacrifice, a life on which the verdict of Him who is truth must be, "I know you not"? {Ed 264.2}

Thousands are doing this. They think to secure for their children the benefits of the gospel while they deny its spirit. But this cannot be. Those who reject the privilege of fellowship with Christ in service, reject the only training that imparts a fitness for participation with Him in His glory. They reject the training that in this life gives strength and nobility of character. Many a father and mother, denying their children to the cross of Christ, have learned too late that they were thus giving them over to the enemy of God and man. They sealed their ruin, not alone for the future but for the present life. Temptation overcame them. They grew up a curse to the world, a grief and shame to those who gave them being. {Ed 264.3}

Best prepared at home

Missionaries for the Master are best prepared for work abroad in the Christian household, where God is feared, where God is loved, where God is worshiped, where faithfulness has become second nature, where haphazard, careless inattention to home duties is not permitted, where quiet communion with God is looked upon as essential to the faithful performance of daily duties. {AH 35.1}

Home duties should be performed with the consciousness that if they are done in the right spirit, they give an experience that will enable us to work for Christ in the most permanent and thorough manner. Oh, what might not a living Christian do in missionary lines by performing faithfully the daily duties, cheerfully lifting the cross, not neglecting any work, however disagreeable to the natural feelings! {AH 35.2}

Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home. . . . There is no missionary field more important than this. . . . {AH 35.3}

By many this home field has been shamefully neglected, and it is time that divine resources and remedies were presented, that this state of evil may be corrected. {AH 35.4}

The highest duty that devolves upon youth is in their own homes, blessing father and mother, brothers and sisters, by affection and true interest. Here they can show self-denial and self-forgetfulness in caring and doing for others. . . . What an influence a sister may have over brothers! If she is right, she may determine the character of her brothers. Her prayers, her gentleness, and her affection may do much in a household. {AH 35.5}

In the home those who have received Christ are to show what grace has done for them. "As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." A conscious authority pervades the true believer in Christ, that makes its influence felt throughout the home. This is favorable for the perfection of the characters of all in the home. {AH 36.1}

An Argument That the Infidel Cannot Gainsay.-- A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion--an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. If the homes of professed Christians had a right religious mold, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be the "light of the world." {AH 36.2}

Children to Extend Knowledge of Bible Principles.-- Children who have been properly educated, who love to be useful, to help father and mother, will extend a knowledge of correct ideas and Bible principles to all with whom they associate. {AH 36.3}

When our own homes are what they should be, our children will not be allowed to grow up in idleness and indifference to the claims of God in behalf of the needy all about them. As the Lord's heritage, they will be qualified to take up the work where they are. A light will shine from such homes which will reveal itself in behalf of the ignorant, leading them to the source of all knowledge. An influence will be exerted that will be a power for God and for His truth. {AH 36.4}

Parents who can be approached in no other way are frequently reached through their children. {AH 36.5}

Cheerful Homes Will Be a Light to Neighbors.-- We need more sunshiny parents and more sunshiny Christians. We are too much shut up within ourselves. Too often the kindly, encouraging word, the cheery smile, are withheld from our children and from the oppressed and discouraged. {AH 37.1}

Parents, upon you rests the responsibility of being light-bearers and light-givers. Shine as lights in the home, brightening the path that your children must travel. As you do this, your light will shine to those without. {AH 37.2}

From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy. There are homes where this principle is carried out--homes where God is worshiped and truest love reigns. From these homes morning and evening prayer ascends to God as sweet incense, and His mercies and blessings descend upon the suppliants like the morning dew. {AH 37.3}

Results of Family Unity.--The first work of Christians is to be united in the family. Then the work is to extend to their neighbors nigh and afar off. Those who have received light are to let the light shine forth in clear rays. Their words, fragrant with the love of Christ, are to be a savor of life unto life. {AH 37.4}

The more closely the members of a family are united in their work in the home, the more uplifting and helpful will be the influence that father and mother and sons and daughters will exert outside the home. {AH 37.5}

Begin in the home

The home is the child's first school, and it is here that the foundation should be laid for a life of service.--The Ministry of Healing, p. 400. {ChS 206.1}

You give considerable time to those who have no special claims upon you, and in so doing you neglect the sacred duties of a mother. God has not laid upon you many of the burdens which you have assumed. You have visited and helped those who did not need your time and care half so much as your own children, who are now forming characters for heaven or perdition. God will not sustain you in ministering to many who are really suffering under the curse of God for their dissolute and wicked lives. {4T 138.1}

The first great business of your life is to be a missionary at home. Clothe yourself with humility and patience, forbearance and love, and go about the work that God has ordained you should do, which no other one can do for you. It is a work for which you will be held responsible in the day of retribution. God's blessing cannot rest upon an ill-disciplined household. Kindness and patience must rule in the home to make it happy. {4T 138.2}

The restoration and uplifting of humanity begins in the home. The work of parents underlies every other. . . . The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.-- The Ministry of Healing, p. 349. {ChS 206.3}

The more fully the spirit of true ministry pervades the home the more fully it will be developed in the lives of the children. They will learn to find joy in service and sacrifice for the good of others.--The Ministry of Healing, p. 401. {ChS 206.4}

Let not parents forget the great mission field that lies before them in the home. In the children committed to her every mother has a sacred charge from God. "Take this son, this daughter," God says. "and train it for Me. Give it a character polished after the similitude of a palace, that it may shine in the courts of the Lord forever." The light and glory that shine from the throne of God rest upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil.--Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 37. {ChS 206.5}

Our work for Christ is to begin with the family, in the home. . . . There is no missionary field more important than this. By precept and example parents are to teach their children to labor for the unconverted. The children should be so educated that they will sympathize with the aged and afflicted, and will seek to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and distressed. They should be taught to be diligent in missionary work; and from their earliest years, self-denial and sacrifice for the good of others and the advancement of Christ's cause should be inculcated, that they may be laborers together with God. But if they ever learn to do genuine missionary work for others, they must first learn to labor for those at home, who have a natural right to their offices of love.--Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 429. {ChS 206.6}

Our households must be set in order, and earnest efforts must be made to interest every member of the family in missionary enterprises. We must seek to engage the sympathies of our children in earnest work for the unsaved, that they may do their best at all times and in all places to represent Christ.--Review and Herald, July 4, 1893. {ChS 207.1}

School supplements home

The school is to supplement the home training, and both at home and at school, simplicity of dress, diet, and amusement must be maintained. An atmosphere must be created that will not be deleterious to the moral nature. Line upon line, precept upon precept, our children and households must be educated to keep the way of the Lord, to stand firmly for truth and righteousness. We must maintain a position against every species of sophistry that bewilders in this degenerate age, when error is glossed over, and so mingled with truth that it is almost impossible for those who are not familiar with the distinctions that the Scriptures make between the traditions of men and the word of God, to distinguish truth from error. It has been plainly stated that in this age "some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." {FE 288.1}

First mission field

Parents, why do you neglect the work waiting for you in the little church in your own family? The home is your first field of missionary effort. The most important work you can do is to place your children on the Lord's side. When they err, deal with them tenderly, yet firmly. Let them unite with you in opposing the evil by which Satan seeks to destroy the souls and bodies of human beings. As you take them with you into the service of the Lord, what a victory you gain! Share with them the secret of the cross, the secret that to you means sanctification, redemption, and eternal victory. {AUCR, August 15, 1902 par. 14}

If the families around you are opposed to the truth, strive to lead them to yield to the claims of Christ. Work patiently, wisely, considerately, winning your way by the tender ministry of love. Present the truth in such a way that it will be seen in all its beauty, exerting an influence that cannot be resisted. Thus the walls of prejudice will be broken down. {AUCR, August 15, 1902 par. 15}

If this work were faithfully done, if fathers and mothers worked for the members of their own families, and then for those around them, uplifting Christ by a godly life, thousands of souls would be saved. When God's people are truly converted, when they realize the obligation resting on them to labor for those within their reach, when they leave no means untried to rescue sinners from the power of the enemy, the reproach will be removed from our churches. {AUCR, August 15, 1902 par. 16}

Our question is to be, How can I best glorify Him whose I am by creation and redemption? With anxious solicitude the truly converted soul seeks to rescue those who are still in Satan's power. The one aim and object of his life is the saving of souls. He refuses to do anything that would hinder him in this work. If he has children, he realizes that his work must begin in his own family. The souls of his children are exceedingly precious to Him. Remembering that they are the younger members of the Lord's family, he strives with all his power to place them where they will stand on the Lord's side. He has pledged himself to serve, honor, and obey Christ, and he puts forth patient, untiring efforts so to train his children that they will never be hostile to the Saviour. {PUR, October 9, 1902 par. 4}

God has placed on fathers and mothers the responsibility of saving their children from the power of the enemy. This is their work,--a work that they should on no account neglect. Those who have a living connection with Christ will labor for their children. They will not rest until they see them safely in the fold. They will make this the burden of their life. {PUR, October 9, 1902 par. 5}

Parents, why do you neglect the work waiting for you in the little church in your own family? The home is your first field of missionary effort. The most important work you can do is to place your children on the Lord's side. When they err, deal with them tenderly, but always decidedly. Take them with you into the work of opposing the evil by which Satan seeks to destroy the souls and bodies of human beings. As you take them with you into the service of the Lord, what a victory you gain! Share with them the secret of the cross, the secret that to you means sanctification, redemption, and eternal victory. {PUR, October 9, 1902 par. 6}

Mother's work unequalled

No work can equal that of the Christian mother. She takes up her work with a sense of what it is to bring up her children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. How often will she feel her burden's weight heavier than she can bear; and then how precious the privilege of taking it all to her sympathizing Saviour in prayer! She may lay her burden at His feet and find in His presence a strength that will sustain her and give her cheerfulness, hope, courage, and wisdom in the most trying hours. How sweet to the careworn mother is the consciousness of such a friend in all her difficulties! If mothers would go to Christ more frequently and trust Him more fully, their burdens would be easier, and they would find rest to their souls. {AH 204.3}

The whole future life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian mother. There is no other work that can equal this. {PP 244.2}

There is a God above, and the light and glory from His throne rests upon the faithful mother as she tries to educate her children to resist the influence of evil. No other work can equal hers in importance. She has not, like the artist, to paint a form of beauty upon canvas, nor, like the sculptor, to chisel it from marble. She has not, like the author, to embody a noble thought in words of power, nor, like the musician, to express a beautiful sentiment in melody. It is hers, with the help of God, to develop in a human soul the likeness of the divine. {MH 377.1}