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A Choice to Love

Some people will not do it; some people tolerate it; some people love it. It has been rated as

one of the most trying and discouraging ministries. Yet those who do it become some of the most

cheerful and happy people you will ever meet. They passionately love it and try to get everyone to do it

too. They call it Colporteuring, Canvassing, Literature Evangelism, and assert that it is missionary

work of the highest order.1

What does the colporteur ministry hold that makes dedicated young men and women love it?

Why would they go door-to-door all day, facing frequent rejection, just to sell books? Are they a special

class of people who are simply not bothered by the emotional and physical strain associated with

colporteuring? Spoken or unspoken, these questions are ones that I have often faced since I dedicated

my life to this line of work.

I have met many people who are ex-colporteurs: elderly gentlemen who did it as an occupation

years ago; adults who did it to pay school expenses but now are employed in some other vocation; and

even youth in their teens who tried it once. I was among the latter group. I had fulfilled two

challenging summers of canvassing and decided that I would retire. I had been faced with several

particularly discouraging experiences and in general, was tired of rejection.

I tell you this because I want you to know that I do not belong to any special class of people

who can naturally love canvassing. I do not go out to knock on doors for the sheer enjoyment of it.

Rather, God has shown me that it is the work He would have me do. Today I will tell you without

hesitation that I love canvassing above any else.

Clear principles outlined in God's Word have given me reason to love it. I looked at Jesus'

experience, how “for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.”2

Jesus endured the shame of the cross for me, will I not endure rejection for Him? Or do I cling to my

1 Colporteur Ministry, p. 6
2 Hebrews 12:2
own feelings and desire an easier cross to bear?

I read a quote from Spirit of Prophecy that said, “Our duty to act as missionaries for God in the

very position where He has placed us has been greatly overlooked by us as a people. Many are eagerly

turning from present duties and opportunities to some wider field; many imagine that in some other

position they would find it less difficult to obey the truth.”3 I longed to become a missionary—to go

overseas and care for sick people in jungle villages—but my present duty was canvassing. There came

a point when I realized that until I learned to love the ministry (canvassing) that lay nearest me, I could

never make a good missionary in any other place.

During one colporteur worship, my leader shared her favorite quote from inspiration, “If you

will seek the Lord and be converted every day; if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and

joyous in God; if with gladsome consent of heart to His gracious call, you come wearing the yoke of

Christ,--the yoke of obedience and service,--all your murmurings will be stilled, all your difficulties

will be removed, all the perplexing problems that now confront you will be solved.”4 I recognized that

God wants me to be happy doing His work, but I found it hard to be happy when faced with

discouragement. Again I found counsel, “Never allow yourself to talk in a hopeless, discouraged way.

If you do, you will lose much. By looking at appearances, and complaining when difficulties and

pressure come, you give evidence of a sickly, enfeebled faith. Talk and act as if your faith was

invincible.”5 Talking and acting faith has become my motto. I have chosen through faith to love the

canvassing work. It is not special ability—but the grace of God that makes me a happy canvasser.

As the Lord has worked in my experience, I know He can in yours. Canvassing may not be

your favorite activity—it may be something you dislike—but I encourage you to consider: Is it the

work that lies nearest you? And if so, are you willing to endure it for the joy waiting for you in heaven?

It may not be what you are called to do for a lifetime (I still dream of going to a foreign mission field.)

3 Testimonies for the Church, Volume Five, p. 184


4 Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 150.
5 Colporteur Ministry, p. 115
but will you apply all your might to it while it is your present duty? While you canvass, will you allow

the joy of the Lord to become your strength?6 I promise you that by following these principles of faith

while in the canvassing work, you can become one of the happiest people.

6 Nehemiah 8:10