October 6, 2018

Ellen’s Final Plea

Ellen White had her final vision on March 3, 1915. She died on July 16, 1915, just four and a half months later.

She wrote of this vision in the April 15, 1915, edition of The Review and Herald. The description of that vision was simply titled “A Message for Our Young People.” The content is still relevant and crucially important. I’ve taken the liberty of including what I feel are some of the most important statements:

“There are books that are of vital importance that are not looked at by our young people. They are neglected because they are not so interesting to them as some lighter reading.

“We should advise the young to take hold of such reading matter as recommends itself for the upbuilding of Christian character. The most essential points of our faith should be stamped upon the memory of the young. Our youth should read that which will have a healthful, sanctifying effect upon the mind. . . .

“Now is our time and opportunity to labor for the young people. Tell them that we are now in a perilous crisis, and we want to know how to discern true godliness. Our young people need to be helped, uplifted, and encouraged, but in the right manner; not, perhaps, as they would desire it, but in a way that will help them to have sanctified minds. . . .

“We could begin a course of reading so intensely interesting that it would attract and influence many minds. . . .

“There is a work to be done for the young by which their minds will be impressed and molded by the sanctifying truth of God. It is my sincere wish for our young people that they find the true meaning of justification by faith, and the perfection of character that will prepare them for eternal life. . . .

“Encourage the young ever to keep the preciousness and grace of God highly exalted. Work and pray constantly for a sense of the preciousness of true religion. Bring in the blessedness and the attractiveness of holiness and the grace of God.”

I’ve done a lot of research about how people responded to this vision, but I haven’t been able to find much. The real question is how will we respond? What will we do with this information?

Here are several more important things Ellen White had to say about youth, the publishing ministry, and evangelism:

1. We need to publish resources that will help people understand how to better know, love, and live Jesus. “We are now altogether too near the close of this earth’s history to keep before the attention of the people a class of books which do not contain the message which our people need. Draw their attention to books treating on practical faith and godliness.”

2. Many of our youth are not truly converted, but need to be. “From what has been shown me, there are not more than half of the young who profess religion and the truth, who have been truly converted. If they had been converted, they would bear fruit to the glory of God.”

3. In order to effectively do God’s last-day work and optimize their skills, gifts, and talents for God, youth need to be solely focused on God. “God calls for youthful vigor, zeal, and courage. He has chosen the youth to aid in the advancement of His cause. . . . Young men and women are invited to give God the strength of their youth, that . . . they may bring glory to Him and salvation to their fellow men.”

4. Youth are the most effective evangelists of other youth. “Preachers, or layman advanced in years, cannot have one half the influence upon the young that the youth, devoted to God, can have upon their associates.”

5. Our youth, properly trained, can finish the work of proclaiming God’s last-day message. “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!”

Given all the prophetic information about the future, and the changes and challenges looming for Seventh-day Adventist publishing, how will we respond? Will we earnestly and daily pray for: (1) Youth and those who work with them. (2) Those who develop and publish resources for our youth.

Ellen White felt strongly that our youth deserve our first and best creative energies. And, not to put too fine a point on it, apparently God thought so as well.

Omar Miranda, a counselor and writer, lives with his family in unplain Plainville, Georgia.