Alone Means Alone
You've heard the expression, "What part of 'no' don't you understand?" I would like us to consider another word. The word is "alone."
I don't mean alone in the sense of "lonely"; rather, alone in the sense of "only." If we are told that the only way to make it out of this world alive is through the merits of Jesus' life and His death in our place on the cross, could we assume there is not a second or third way that just might work? Seems pretty clear doesn't it? "There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12, KJV). There is just one and only one way: Jesus.
What about the method for fulfilling the mission that Jesus gave us in reaching the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) territory for Him? Are there many ways to succeed in this area, or is there an "only" way that we have somehow missed or relegated to a back burner? No question that many different methods have been tried. Some seem to have a certain degree of success, while others fall flat. How do we know the best way?
Many of us are familiar with a powerful and thought-provoking quote from the pen of Ellen White. Please consider the critical word "alone" as you read: "Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, 'Follow Me'" (Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
It is easy to read this quote and miss or minimize that one word. Alone. It means only or one and only. True success in reaching our neighbors in the NPUC for Jesus can happen only by using the methods He used when on this earth. If we are His body, won't we look and act like He acted? Won't we do the things that He did in the way that He did them?
I believe that if we use "Christ's method" we will get results. It is true that they may be slower in coming initially and harder to quantify, but should that stop us from following His method? Things didn't look very hopeful at the cross for all of Christ's 33 years of mingling, sympathizing, ministering and winning people's confidence. During His last night before the cross, His disciples bickered over position, forsook Him and denied Him, and one even betrayed Him! Yet after Pentecost the fruit of His life was seen when 3,000 were baptized in a day and, shortly after, 5,000 men alone were counted as believers (Acts 2:41, 4:4). On crucifixion Friday, some would have called His ministry a failure, but a few weeks later it was seen to be what it always had been from heaven's perspective ... a tremendous success.
What part of "alone" don't we understand? Isn't it about time we listen and learn from the Master? There is just one and only one method for true success — Jesus' method.