Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back, as we continue learning about the science of soul winning…
The Apprenticeship Method
Now, another very practical application of this principle is that Jesus, Who trained those twelve, caused them to train others and those still others, and those still others, and those still others. And there are in this world, my friends, men who have been trained, by men who were trained, by men who were trained, by men who were trained, by those men that Jesus trained.
There is a line. Just as you can take your physical genealogy and say – “Well, so and so was my father. So and so was his father. His father’s name was so and so. And my great, great grandfather’s name was so and so.” And those all converge back to Adam, don’t they? – so in this spiritual training, somebody, my friends, that Jesus trained, trained somebody else, and that one somebody else, and finally it comes down to our time.
It seems to me that one of the greatest opportunities in life is the opportunity of being with somebody who knows the trade of soul winning, that they learned from somebody. It’s passed down, my friends. Reading books about soul winning is good. You may gather ideas. But my dear friends, I would hate to eat a dinner cooked by somebody who had only read books about cooking, wouldn’t you? Yes. The place to learn cooking is in the kitchen with a good cook. You remember what the Lord’s messenger said?
If she didn’t know how to cook, and she were a mother, she would go to the best cook that she could find in the area, and stay with that woman until she’d learned to cook. And she would do that even if she were 40 years old. Did you ever read that? The apprenticeship method is the greatest method of learning things.
Let’s read something that a dear minister, a successful medical evangelist, read to me when I was a young man just finishing my teens:
Many young men who have had the right kind of education at home are to be trained for service and encouraged to lift the standard of truth in new places by well-planned and faithful work. By associating with our ministers and experienced workers in city work, they will gain the best kind of training. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, pg. 119
And he pointed out to me from this reference, that the best kind of training in soul winning is in associating with our ministers and experienced workers in city work, in evangelistic endeavors. As I’ve said, the best place to learn cooking is in the kitchen. The best place to learn nursing is where nursing is going on. The best place to learn agriculture is on the farm, in the garden. The best place to learn soul winning is in evangelistic endeavor, my friends – associating with men and women who know the trade. And the closer your association the better, and the faster you can learn.
As they unite their labors with those of the older workers, using their youthful energies to the very best account, they will have the companionship of heavenly angels. – Ibid
This is a wonderful page. It’s in a wonderful chapter called “Methods of Labor”. So, we should cherish every opportunity we have to learn from those who know how to win souls, more about the trade. This is the way Peter learned it. This is the way you and I can learn it.
But now did you notice something in that sentence I read from Volume 9? Watch, as we go over it.
Many young men who have had the right kind of education at home … – Ibid
They are to have this experience of fellowship with evangelistic workers. “Oh, does that make any difference, what kind of training we’ve had at home?” Yes, my dear friends. The training in the home is the foundation. The training in the evangelistic field is built upon that foundation. But somebody may say, “But, I didn’t have the right kind of training at home. Maybe I didn’t have any home at all.” Well, friends, there’s good news for you. You can get it in some other home, if you want it bad enough. But do you know what that training in the home is designed to develop? It is designed to develop obedience, dependability, responsibility. And whether you’re three years old when you start learning some of those things, or six or sixteen, or twenty or thirty or forty years old, those are the things that you must learn as a foundation.
Somebody who can’t be depended upon to milk the cow, couldn’t be depended upon to give a Bible study. Somebody who can’t see that the lawn is cared for, might forget some soul whose spiritual destiny he was entrusted with.
We are to learn in dealing with material things, the attention to details, the spirit to carry a job through and not lag. Dependability, reliability, cooperation, obedience – all these lessons are to be learned in the home. And when a young man or a young woman has learned these lessons in the home, then some Elijah may throw his mantle on an Elisha, who is plowing, and say, “Come with me and learn the trade of soul winning.”
But, if you haven’t learned it in the home, friends, then learn it where God’s providence places you. And if you didn’t learn it when you were a boy, learn it when you are a man. If when you were a little girl somebody failed, or didn’t know how to teach you to obey, learn it when you’re a grown woman. Learn to obey, to cooperate, to be dependable. And this is not learned in a moment, my friends.
Now, what about Peter and those who were with him? Were they just a group of people that Jesus just happened to see? No, my friends, they were handpicked. And in choosing them, Jesus showed that He considered these lessons learned in the home and in the discipline of life, far more important than anything that can be learned in a classroom or from a textbook.
Notice as I read here in the book Education:
The first pupils of Jesus were chosen from the ranks of the common people. They were humble, unlettered men, these fishers of Galilee; men unschooled in the learning and customs of the rabbis, but trained by the stern discipline of toil and hardship. – Education, pg. 85
Oh, how much is wrapped up in those few words:
“… trained by the stern discipline of toil and hardship.” – Ibid
Did they come up the easy way or the hard way? The hard way. Was life to them soft? No.
Oh, friends, the devil has stolen the march on many people today. Many parents think that the way to show love for their children is to make everything soft and easy – give them plenty of money to spend, cars to run around in, radios, all sorts of things.
The point is not that some of those things may be bad. They might be. That isn’t the point. The young person who gets everything he wants, or even always everything he thinks he needs, is not developing those traits of pushing the way through difficulties, of putting up with inconveniences: those lessons that are essential in one who would be a successful soul winner.
Look at the difference between David and Solomon. David was trained in hard work as a boy out in the country. Solomon grew up in a royal home. Was there a difference in the character that the two men developed? Oh, yes. Seldom does one come from luxury, or even from places where everything is convenient, and develop a strong character and become a mighty soul winner. I won’t say it’s impossible. I’ll say it’s very difficult and seldom.
But look how God trains His men. Look how He trains Joseph to become a saviour of a nation. Look how He trains Peter, taking him from a life of hardship and stern discipline. Look how He gets Elisha ready. Look at the beginnings of this movement. Look how God developed Bro. Joseph Bates, Bro. James White, Sis. Ellen Harmon, Bro. John Loughborough, and many an other.
Would you be a soul winner? Jesus said follow Me and I will make you. And oh, friends, in this part of the preparation, we have the glorious privilege of following Jesus. For what did He do when He came down here to demonstrate how to be a successful evangelist? He spent most of His life in a humble home, and as a hard-working carpenter at Nazareth. He helped to make the family living from the time He was old enough to handle tools.
Was this a part of getting ready to win souls? Oh, yes. Is this a part of following Him? Amen. So wherever you are in the divine sequence of training, put all you have into it. If your job now is to handle tools and work with your hands as Jesus did in the carpenter shop, as Elisha did in the farm at Abelmeholah, do your best. Remember, you are following Jesus.
But Jesus, at Nazareth, while He was working in the carpenter shop, watched for opportunities to witness by word, by song. Not only in the shop, but out in the community He visited, He spoke the words of life. Quietly, humbly, He ministered to the needs. He was a medical missionary, not working miracles, but doing the same simple, humble things that you and I can do. He was improving His opportunities.
And He’s promised to turn out a product that will bring joy to the universe, as they see the remnant gathering in the last souls before the storm breaks. Oh, friends, let’s give Him all we have today. What do you say?
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.