Love, Light, and Joy
A heaven-like home
By Ellen G. White
O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nation are idols; but the Lord made the heavens. Honour and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. . . . Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” (Ps. 96).
I think we have something to be thankful for. We ought to be glad, and rejoice in God; for He has given us many mercies. . . . But I fear too many of us encourage the habit of looking always upon the dark side of life, and that at a time when God has crowned us with His goodness and mercy. This is wrong. . . .
When God pours His blessings into our hearts, we should not shut them up as we would precious ointment, lest the perfume escape; we should bestow them upon those around us, that they also may be glad and rejoice. In my experience I have found that when I brought joy to the hearts of others, my own soul rejoiced, and was filled with the melting Spirit of
God. In the morning and all through the day, a sense of God’s goodness filled my heart, and it awakened such feelings of gratitude as I cannot express. . . .
We should individually aim for a higher and holier standard. The mind will surely become dwarfed if it is continually occupied with earthly things. But if trained to dwell upon heavenly, eternal themes, it will be expanded, elevated, and strengthened. The mind should take hold of things unseen, and meditate thereon; then things of eternal interest will be so exalted above the earthly, that temporal affairs will sink into insignificance in comparison.
We do not regard divine things as of high value; and by neglecting to train the mind to prize eternal things more than earthly, we lose a valuable experience. We fail to obtain the wisdom God has brought within our reach. Suppose we change this order of things, and begin from today to train the thoughts to dwell upon the great plan of salvation, devoting less time to self-serving. Suppose you try to count all your blessings. . . .
Look away from your own trials and difficulties. Cease to magnify your little grievances. Put all thoughts of self out of your heart. Cease self-service, and serve the only true and living God. Let His melody be in your heart, and His praises on your lips. The blessings of God are more than the hairs of our head, more than the sands of the seashore. Meditate upon His love and care for us, and may it inspire you with love that trials cannot interrupt nor afflictions quench. . . .
Parents, do not neglect to impart to your children the very education they should have. . . . The children should be educated to look to God as the giver of life, their protector and their preserver, and to come to Him with an offering for all His favors. Every opportunity should be employed to implant in their hearts right views of God and His love for us. Nothing should be done to foster in them vanity, self-esteem, or pride. Teach them to review the past year of their life, to consider whether they would be glad to meet its record just as it stands in the books of heaven. Encourage in them serious thoughts, whether their deportment, their words, their works, are of a character pleasing to God. Have they been making their lives more like Jesus, beautiful and lovely in the sight of God? Teach them the knowledge of the Lord, His ways, His precepts. “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” We want the children to learn to look away from self to heavenly things. . . .
There are a great many who seem to have a great burden to do missionary work; but I have thought that if such would only begin in their own households, it would be the very best thing they could do. Whenever you take up the duty that lies nearest you, then God will bless you, and hear your prayers. There are too many doing outside missionary work, while their own households are left destitute of any such efforts, going to ruin through neglect. They do not seem to understand that it should be their first work to take heed to home duties.
The first missionary work is to see that love, light, and joy come into the home circle. Let us not be looking for some great temperance or missionary work to do until we have first done the duties at home. Every morning we should think, What kind act can I do today? What tender word can I speak? Kind words at home are blessed sunshine. The husband needs them, the wife needs them, the children need them. . . .
"The first missionary work is to see that LOVE, LIGHT, and JOY come into the home circle."
How easy it might be for us to bring sunshine, mellow and beautiful, right into our homes, if our hearts were filled with the grace of God! This may be done by kind words and loving ministrations. If there had been more of them in the past, I believe that more of us would have come into this house with the praise of God in their hearts for His loving-kindness unto us and ours.
It ought to be the desire of every heart to make as much heaven below as possible. We ought to be just before we are generous. There needs to be a home religion, a home thanksgiving. There needs to be the very soul of a pure life right at home. Then when you come to such a place as this, you will make melody to God in your hearts. They would be full of the tenderness of love. You could speak of the mercy and love and goodness of Christ in your soul. Your hearts would be full of melody all the day. Your song would be, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” This kind of piety is of some value.
There is a great deal of meetinghouse religion; but there is little home religion. Cultivate it, that when you come into the house of God, you will love to talk of Jesus. You cannot make your tongue be silent. The love of Jesus will be like fire shut up in your bones.
This article is a selection taken from a “Thanksgiving Sermon,” delivered by Ellen G. White at the Dime Tabernacle in Battle Creek, Michigan, U.S.A., on November 27, 1884, and published in the December 23, 1884, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.