"I will whistle for them and gather them, for I will redeem them; and they shall increase as they once increased." (Zech. 10:8, NKJV).

Ellen White:

“As you stand here today, and see the defects of your characters in the light of God’s great moral standard, will you not say, ‘I will redeem the past; I will go to work in the Lord’s vineyard’?” (go to https://whiteestate.org/devotional/yrp/04_30/).

God will do—and has done—everything and anything to reach and save people. God will even “whistle” (Isa. 5:26; Zech.10:8) if that will bring people to Him. A whistle is remarkable since it is shrill and travels over a long distance. A whistle gets people’s attention and makes them look toward the sound. We sometimes whistle for our pets to call them back to us, because we care for them. God is willing to whistle to humanity if that will get their attention and bring them back to Him. One of my favorite stories in the New Testament about God going to great lengths to seek and reach people who are unreached is found in John 4. This story tells how Jesus heard the whistle of God to go through Samaria.

Woman of Samaria

Jesus is in Jerusalem when He hears some news about the church leaders that is disturbing. He leaves Jerusalem with the intent to go to Galilee. Rather than taking the normal route that every Jew would take, Jesus took an unusual route that went through the cities of Samaria. Scripture tells us: “But He needed to go through Samaria” (John 4:4, NKJV).

Why did Jesus need to go the direct route to Galilee through the country of Samaria? Did He like the scenery? Was He in a hurry? Did He want to avoid the Jews? The last reason may have been valid, but I do not think any of the other three reasons explained the real motive for Jesus “to go through Samaria.” There was a whole town of people who needed to learn of God’s love for them. There was a specific outcast woman who needed to learn that God loved her. 

Even today, if you wish to travel from Jerusalem to Capernaum, there is no direct route. You have to go through either the Jordan River Valley route that most of the Jews in Jesus’ day took, or a route that parallels the Mediterranean coast. The coastal route (today’s Highway 6) is 121 miles (195 km, a 2- to 3-hour drive). To walk the same distance, for people who are used to walking everywhere, it would take 40 hours or two to three days.

There is another reason that the highways today do not go directly from Jerusalem to Capernaum, which was also true in the time of Jesus. To go directly north from Jerusalem to Capernaum you must travel through mountainous terrain about two-thirds of the way. It is almost impossible to get Google Maps to show the route on the current highway 60. Highway 60 follows the same route that Jesus took since He “needed to go through Samaria.” The route that Jesus had to go was very strenuous, as well as politically incorrect.

God guided Jesus to the city of Sychar and to this outcast woman. How is it that Jesus, who was used to walking days at a time, became tired and had to stop at this well in the heat of the day? Jesus was willing to say I WILL GO the hardest, most inconvenient way to Galilee to meet with this woman at a well in the middle of a hot day, not only to reach the woman but also the town where she lived. Jesus knew that this outcast woman of Sychar was interested in Scripture. Jesus was seeking to bring her thinking from the present to the future, and the temporal to the spiritual. Their contrasting conversation included:

Physical water/Spiritual Water.

Temporal worship/Spiritual worship.

Once Jesus had her interest, and her heart was becoming convicted that who she was speaking with was Someone very special, Jesus confirmed that fact.

Jesus answered, “I am he, I who am talking with you” (John 4:26, GNB).

Jesus Went

Jesus said, "I WILL GO!" Jesus at no other time while on Planet Earth so directly and clearly revealed who He really was. Jesus was willing to GO to Earth from heaven. Jesus was willing to GO the most difficult route from Jerusalem to Galilee. Jesus was willing to GO to Jacob’s well to reach the most unlikely person to be a missionary for God. All because Jesus was willing to say, "I WILL GO!"

If Jesus was willing to GO to reach out to this solitary outcast woman of Samaria . . .

If Jesus was willing to GO the hardest route on His way to Galilee to reach the residents of the city of Sychar . . .

. . . then Jesus is willing to reach each one of us at our well of decision. When we choose to be Christ-followers, Jesus will then enlist our help in this outreach and ask each one of us to GO to those within our sphere of influence. Are you willing to tell Jesus, "I WILL GO"? When God whistles, I WILL GO!

General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Planned Giving & Trust Services strategic initiatives for Quinquennium 2020 to 2025:


Objective #1

1.1 As members become more involved (TMI) with participating in personal and public outreach, they become more vested in the success of the outreach. We will encourage members to give gifts during life and at the end of life by including evangelism in their estate plans.

Objective #2

2.8 As people move around the globe, they need to know how to plan for their families in their new countries of residence. We will help these people to provide for and protect their families and provide support for the mission of the church by planning their estates.

Objective #3

3.1 As dialog takes place in the community, we can share with the public how the Seventh-day Adventist Church benefits the community. As a result, friends are made for the church, and gifts from the community will be received to support the mission of the church.

Objective #4

4.1 We will encourage support for initiatives in the 10/40 window and large urban areas by encouraging partnering of institutions to fulfill the mission around the world.

Objective #5

5.1 As members become more familiar with Scripture and the writings of Ellen White in their daily devotional lives, they will want to put God first and plan to provide for their families and for the support of the mission of the church. We will provide information on how to accomplish these gifts.

Objective #6

6.1 We will involve every member and all of our leaders in creating a plan to provide for their families and to support the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to reach their communities during life and at the end of life.

6.3 As part of the discipleship of new members, we will educate them about their responsibility to provide a plan for their families and for the possessions that God has entrusted them to manage during life and at the end of life. Support for the mission of the church is included in this discipleship education.

6.5 We will teach all members and those who are yet to be baptized in the principles of biblical personal finance and estate planning and encourage each member to create a plan to provide for their families and support the mission of the church.

Objective #7

7.1 We will provide classes to teach biblical and Spirit of Prophecy principles of personal finance and estate planning to our church members and those who are friends of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Objective #8

8.1 We will encourage every leader of the church to have a plan for their families and their possessions and provide classes for leaders so they will know how to plan in their local area.

Objective #9

9.1 We will prioritize all promotion for planned gifts to the stated mission objectives, and KPIs for this quinquennium.

9.2 General Conference PGTS will seek to provide availability and resources for those areas of the world that are located in the 10/40 window and urban centers.

9.3 We will encourage and promote more gifts to support the outreach in the 10/40 window, even though there may not be public sharing of the results because of the security risks of providing this information.

9.5 We will complete the General Conference Planned Giving & Trust Services Global website project that will make the Planned Giving & Trust Services information available on computers, tablets, and smartphones of every member and friend of the church in their local area.

9.6 We will increase the number of planned gifts received to support the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide from both members and friends of the church.

Objective #10

10.2 We will provide resources to acquaint officers and executive committee members with their responsibility to lead by example, including in the planning for their families and the support of the mission of the church.

10.3 We will educate leaders in the concept that having a plan for one’s finances is part of living a Christian life with integrity. We will encourage pastors and church leaders to lead by example by having a plan for their families.

I commit the General Conference PGTS to seek to accomplish the objectives and key performance indicators (KPI) during this next five years. It is my prayer that God will use every PGTS leader in the world to be a part of REACHING THE WORLD so Jesus can come quickly.

Will you be alert to God’s whistle? When God whistles, I WILL GO when and where God wants me to GO! When

Dennis R. Carlson

Dennis R. Carlson is the director of Planned Giving & Trust Services at the General Conference.