«Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all» (l Thessalonians 5:14).
PAUL USED the figure of the human body to illustrate the role of the church. In this spiritual body there are certain weaker members who need special support.
The idle ones.They are the ones who are out of the way, disorderly, undisciplined Ellen G. White warns us, «The mind, the heart, that is indolent, aimless, falls an easy prey to evil. It is on diseased, lifeless organisms that fungus roots. It is the idle mind that is Satan’s workshop» (Education, p. 190).
The discouraged. They are the ones who give up. They always look at the downside of things and give up when things get tough. They need to be encouraged, comforted, approaching them and telling them that the trials of life will help them grow and strengthen in faith.
The weak. They are those who have not grown in faith, did not nourish themselves, did not develop, stayed in the rudiments of the gospel.
On the first day as president of the Buenos Aires Conference, I asked a great leader and church administrator with years of experience to give me advice. He said, «Love. The church is a building under construction that is not yet finished. It is like a hospital that receives the sick. We cannot rule anyone out; we cannot leave anyone out.»
Therefore, give the idle an occupation, the discouraged encouragement so that they have a lot, and the weak strength, motivating them with patience and with love.
Ellen G. White tells us that God’s children must bring souls to the Lord, «And while doing this they will have the precious assurance that the Saviour is close beside them. They need not think that they are left to depend on their own feeble efforts. Christ will give them words to speak that will refresh and encourage and strengthen poor, struggling souls who are in darkness. Their own faith will be strengthened as they realize that the Redeemer’s promise is being fulfilled. Not only are they a blessing to others, but the work they do for Christ brings blessing to themselves» (Testimony Treasures, vol. 3, p. 304).
Two types of sheep should be at the center of our dreams, prayers, and efforts. Take care of the one inside the fold to make it stronger and more missionary, and find and rescue the one outside.