“The work of John the Baptist represents the work for these times. His work, and the work of those who go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to arouse the people from their apathy, are the same in many respects.” Youth’s Instructor, May 17, 1900.
When the disciples came to Jesus with the question, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus responded by saying, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already. . . . Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.” Matthew 17:10–13, NKJV.
One aspect of Elijah’s message to Israel stands out. Before Elijah repaired the ancient, broken-down altar of God, he called rebellious Israel to “Come near” to him. 1 Kings 18:30. These words are full of significance!
If God’s people are called to be the “Elijahs” of the last days, should we not be inviting people to “come near” us? If we want to win people to the Lord, we must not keep them at arm’s length. We must become friends with those we meet, entering into their difficulties and trials. We must help them navigate out of the challenging situations they may have gotten themselves into.
“A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins. The revelation of Christ in your own character will have a transforming power upon all with whom you come in contact. Let Christ be daily made manifest in you, and He will reveal through you the creative energy of His word—a gentle, persuasive, yet mighty influence to re-create other souls in the beauty of the Lord our God.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 129.