Alex Mitchell - Workers' Meeting - October 20, 1958

Song 199 in old book:

There are those here in the East who remember us this hour, those who know we are going to be gathered for this little meeting and they are thinking of us and praying for us. Tho’ we are so few, yet we are part of the whole and have fellowship as a result. I remember how we felt when in prison during the war, and the pressure and the suffering, the feeling of the loss of time, and we used to pray together and it was a great help. One night in the darkness, the four of us had a time of prayer together and when we looked up into the sky above the prison walls, we could see the Southern Cross shining in the sky, and we remembered our friends in Australia and New Zealand and the fellowship we have in His Family; that they were remembering and praying for us, and this was a wonderful help and encouragement to us, I don’t think I will ever forget it.

The fellowship of His servants is a wonderful thing, there is a sacrifice for each one. Much or little, all have given all, and it has brought us into the great fellowship with His servants; into this great circle. Sacrifice brings us fellowship and provision. All have the same fellowship and provision, it doesn’t vary to the different ones, one getting more than the other; the only differences is in experience and this is gained through years of service. Some have more ‘authority’ in His Family (a word I don’t like) for they have more responsibility in His Family. The love that exists in His Family: “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Love in our hearts and unity and oneness with all.

We need to view with great suspicion anything that would destroy the unity and fellowship, the oneness in His Family, that which would cause separation. Think of the small nations of the world who are going to pieces today, fighting, selfishness prevailing. We are not fighting for anything, we are not seeking for place, glory, honour, but we are just laying down our lives for the gospel’s sake. We do nothing to bring us popularity.

Those who have come to the East, I was counting up this morning those who have come to the different countries. The gospel has been brought to these countries at a tremendous cost and there have been many losses. I counted up around 40 who have gone to India, and of that number, 17 are not there now. India has had its Gethsemane. I remember Syd Maynard saying, “Perhaps someone will have to die for India to put it on its feet.” He was the first to die there, a great sorrow and loss. Syd told me of the time two of them were in the heart of India and one day he found a note lying on the table from his young companion saying, “I’m going to Calcutta, and on to Australia.” Going off leaving Syd alone there in the heart of India, when they should have been sharing their sorrows and joys together. Syd was a wonderful man to be with, a real joy. Here he was left alone and he said, “What could I do all by myself in India?” Perhaps the other man should never have been in the work, one who could do such a thing.

I remember one time when young in the work, we were riding bicycles, and getting bogged down in the mud, my older companion was wiser and he avoided much of it by picking his path, but here was I and my bicycle was all bogged down, and he called out, “It’s all in the bargain, Alex.” We all must struggle and put in out best. Reminds me of the words of that song, “You can find those souls of greatness where the walls are weak and low, where the burdens are the greatest and the tears most often flow; and though worn and tried and tested, heaven’s lessons always glow in the patient loyal bearers of the cross.”

India and Indonesia are hard countries, it has been very difficult. 17 or 18 or those who went to India no longer there, died, returned home, etc. There are 10 now in Ceylon, four who went, no longer there. In Burma, 13 went and 13 returned, none there now. I can remember being there when the first workers were to go to Burma, and they went in great joy, they were going in high hope to a new country. Adam Hutchinson died there in Burma, in Rangoen, from smallpox, a great loss to the Kingdom.

We must build these things up, must find true, loyal souls who will be left to carry on this work, to have it so if we must leave, there will be those left to carry on. Of the 14 or 15 who went to China, 8 remain. Malaya, of the 42 workers who went, 10 have returned.. Indonesia, 20 went, and lots of losses, 8 remain; 12 have returned to South Africa. You know yourselves what there has been here. I will not speak of that. We cannot rely on numbers, we need to build on the true, loyal souls who can carry on. While we were in prison, one young man, Lucian Garth, a Ceylonese Burma, carried on, and it was a great comfort to us. He solidly carried on and watched after the sheep. Wherever God’s work is, His servants are the same, for God is the one who works in every life.

Zechariah II, “Beauty and bands broken.” Sometimes saints are wrong and then sometimes the servants are wrong. Not God’s desire that Israel and Judah were separated, but the covenant was broken. We need to keep united, from sea to sea, to keep us from destruction. Beauty was broken because the finding together was broken, and they were carried away to Babylon. Ezekiel by Chebar was restored and given a message of God, in the place of bondage. He was given a vision of Son of God was to come, and he saw that four-faced creature which speaks of the four sides of the life of Jesus: dependability, constancy, rising up to God and the face of man (weakness). No man can rest on past achievements, nor on our laurels, but we must keep fighting until the end against the desire to take it easy, for it would be letting so many down, bring sorrow to many by not keeping true.

The beauty of God’s true spirit and the bands of God’s true love: 11:17, “Woe to the ‘idol’ shepherds" and this is hard to understand, but another version says, “worthless shepherds.” Those who have not stood by the flock of God, and they cannot detect wrong through their own slackness. They have lost this while in the work and have become worthless while in the work; their eye cannot see the wrong and they cannot use the sword.

Chapter 4:11, I love this chapter, this is the place we all as servants of God should fill. The two olive trees, the two anointed servants and God standing by; if we stand by God, He will stand by us. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts, verse 6. Thinking of the two brothers here in the south and of the golden oil going through them to the people, and those souls getting help from God. It is a wonderful thing when the golden oil goes out to souls, getting this right spirit from the Lord. The candle sticks were made out of gold, out of one piece, all coming from the same place. The candlestick here and candlestick in the tabernacle, and candlestick in Revelations. All the same except for location. John saw Jesus in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. We are putting into souls that which comes from God. “I have truly planted the right seed,” Ezekiel. Sometimes the care of the churches is great, this care for the saints, even as Paul mentioned, things will happen and we must have our eves open and sword in hand for we are all God has to use, we must be on our guard. God trusts us and we are all He has here in the Islands. We have the truth that sets people free, to win souls from the darkness to the light. Take heart because a work so noble, so grand has been started. I’ve been amazed to see the commendable work here in the P.I. Holy oil has gone through golden pipes to the lamps. I would encourage any young life to come here and sacrifice. Anything that is of the past, forget it, it’s over. The cloudy and dark day passed. If the clouds come over and prayers don’t get through, keep the light burning and don’t let a cloud come between you and God, nor between you and your companion.

Consecration in the Old Testament. The consecration of the servants of God, of His priests of old. Our first start is very necessary as we see what we are in for, and being willing to abide by it. Some workers in India were wanting to marry, and a meeting was held to talk it over, and all decided it was a backward step, a lack of the consecration they had at the beginning. They were advised to return to their homeland and to work with their hands which they did, and they have never gone forth again but have been faithful as saints. Drawing back is a loss of heat a weakening of the standard. They were anointed of old, on the ear, on the thumb and on the great toe. Eli would never have stumbled and died if he had kept his heart right and not lost his vision. Eli and his sons died and Samuel a lad took his place, Samuel was faithful from the first. Some prayed for us that we be in the work of God, I know others prayed for me, they have prayed for each one of us, let us keep that ear in touch with God and hear his voice.

We encourage our workers to pray together, to read together in the morning. It helps in the work of the day, to be consecrated for that day, to keep the standard before us each day. These vows of consecration and our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Remember the priest’s garment that had the bell and the pomegranate and the ‘holiness to the Lord,’ Exodus 28:33-36. Perhaps you have this fruit here, it is shock full of seeds, we counted once and there were ever 600 seeds in one fruit, the flesh is on the seed. This speaks of the precious gospel seed going out. A good farmer does not skimp on seed, he lets the seed go, uses plenty. We too must do this with the precious gospel seed. I’ve been told that I have too many gospel meetings in a week. When just the two of us are together in a camp, I like to remember what Bill Carroll told us years ago, he was a wonderful man of wisdom. He said, “Ask, seek, knock–ask God in the morning for guidance, help, to be united in purpose, strength for the day, wisdom, plan your day. Seek, in the afternoon go out and seek the sinner, seek for souls. In the evening, knock on their heart’s door." Good to keep the morning free, to be stronger in spirit and body to devote more time to souls. We would all last better if we kept our morning free. You can visit and talk in the afternoon. There is that which binds us together as brothers and sisters, remember our consecration to God. Sometimes difficulties arise, but always remember your consecration.

The tabernacle in the wilderness: Rams’ and Badgers’ skins dyed red on the outside - that is what God had in the wilderness, the inside tho’ was great, all those boards joined together with silver sockets and rings. Boards held together are like the servants of God. I remember down in Australia, a lay preacher for the Methodist, he prayed for us and for our mission in his town, and he likened the gospel tent to ‘the tent of God in the wilderness of sin.’ He got help and his three children are out in the gospel now. The tent didn’t look like much and some saying that we didn’t have much of a church, but that is not our church! The tent very poor, insecure. The tabernacle had all the beauty inside, there was the altar showbread on the table, oil for light, but behind the veil the holiest of all. This prayer together, I love it but the holiest of all, our own private prayer, we must make time to pray. Often in the night when I cannot sleep, pray. In the Japanese time, we had long dark hours in the prison, no lights and we spent the time praying. Used to pray for all I had known, by name, all we had ever met. These things put quality in us. This private prayer is the holiest of all. A young sister worker in Australia, dying of cancer, asked for the song “Alone with God” at her funeral. Her companions’ testimony of her was, she loved the place of prayer. Jesus valued this above all else. Think of David fleeing, rejected, with his little band, When Absalom took his place, and he climbed that mount weeping, worshiping, leaving it all in God’s hand, he was not fighting for himself.

When Syd was dying, the matron of the hospital wanting him to call his friends to pray around his bed, and he could say, “All the praying has been done.” If there ever was a man that loved the place of prayer, it was Syd. Nice to see this developing in young workers, and this mark in old workers, giving more time to private prayer.

One old worker too hard, was advised to give his younger companion more time. The younger ones must know that the older ones have work to do the younger cannot do and often he cannot explain. Good when the younger one feels, "I’ll help him all I can, I’ll do the chores," leaving him free to do the things he must do. We realize if we do this now, we’ll get the same treatment when we get older and have more responsibility. One young man offered for and wanted to go in the work, but he puts all he has on his motor bike, he has never sacrificed for the work. He wouldn’t know how to live, we must know what it is to help. He could never get help when he has never given help. We accepted his offer, but let him wait. We must see and know, “We are our brother’s keeper.” We must be a help to one another.

We get to the climax of what God wants in Ephesians 5:27, for this is His plan. A glorious church, washed, cleansed, present it; the Lamb is all the glory in Emmanuel’s land, the bride does not eye her garments, her eyes are on her bridegroom’s face. This is the object of our work, sanctified, pure in God’s sight. Wrong starting amongst saints, can be helped but wrong amongst servants, hard to help. Lovely souls here, a privilege to lay down our lives for them. It’s hard to get wrinkles out, to get the spots off, but what isn’t done, God will have mercy on, if we do our best. If we are heated to the same heat of Jesus’ love, all will be well. With two kinds of steel, can only be welded together as they are heated to the same heat. We are not all the same, but are all sharers of God’s love, and united together in Him. We have all been purchased by the blood of His own Son. Song 329.