The Southern Work


The Field Becoming Difficult

(A second letter)

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong,

July 2, 1899.

Dear Brother__________,

In the South there are some places where work can be done. But the neglect of our people to respond to the light God has given has closed some openings which it will now be very difficult for them to enter. I inquire, What do our people mean by this neglect to work the Southern field? True, it is not a desirable field; and unless the Lord shall inspire with His love the hearts of His people, they will not succeed. They are not to begin by publishing the great and wonderful things they are going to do. Cannot they see that if they do this, the gate will be closed against them? That which might have been done years ago in the South cannot now be done. SWk 88.1

When the children of Israel were encamped on the other side of the Jordan, “the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel.” Read this history, contained in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Numbers. When the evil report brought back by the spies was received, God was displeased, and declared His determination concerning the people. For forty years they were to wander in the wilderness. After He had said this, the people decided to go up. But the favorable time had passed. The news of their coming had been circulated, and their enemies were prepared to resist them. And Moses said, “Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.” But they presumptuously went to the hilltop to be defeated by their enemies. SWk 88.2

Thus it is now with some places in the South. The doors are closed. Yet there are other places where prejudice has not been excited, and where work may be done. I write this to our people that they may see that it is not knowledge that they need, but new hearts, cleansed from all selfishness and covetousness. Those who have had every facility and convenience have shown their neglect for fields which have had so little. In some parts of the Lord's vineyard nothing has been done. Money has been raised and appropriated, although not for personal advantage, yet in distinct disobedience to the Lord's requirements. Those parts of His great vineyard where the least has been done were to be worked; but methods were used to divert the means for this purpose into other channels. Through misrepresentation and misinterpretation the Southern field has been robbed. That field has not received from the Lord's treasury its meat in due season. SWk 88.3

The men whose influence cut off every advantage in the publication of books the profits of which were to be used in the Southern field, might better examine themselves and see what they have done in working out false theories and principles, which have brought upon the workers in our institutions the frown of God. O I beg of every soul who has connived in these matters, to repent and confess and be converted, sending their sins beforehand to judgment. SWk 89.1

My brother, I will send you that which I have in regard to the Southern field. The plans and efforts that could have been made years ago will not now succeed in some places. It is best to move when the Lord sends word to move, and not study human minds, human methods, human plans, human convenience. The Lord is wearied with the unbelief, selfishness, and covetousness of His people. This has stood in the way of the advancement of His work. SWk 89.2

Eighty thousand dollars, I understand, were invested in the sanitarium in Boulder, pressing upon the heart of the work a heavier load of debt than was already there. Did the Lord devise that work? No; that amount of money was needed in India, in Australia, in the Southern field, in foreign fields, that the Lord's ministers might carry the message of truth to places nigh which have never been worked, and to places afar off. SWk 89.3

The Lord is displeased with His people, because they have worked at cross-purposes with Him. Money has been invested in various conveniences and facilities which the Lord never directed. There is earnest work to be done, but the money is consumed, so that the will of God is not done. My heart is sick and sore and distressed beyond measure. May the Lord awaken His people, who are not yet half awake. SWk 89.4

I have thought of Paul, the great minister who was sent to preach Christ and Him crucified to the Gentiles. On one occasion he was in a strait betwixt two. He was so weighed down with responsibilities that he knew not whether he would rather die or live, whether he would choose for the good of others to abide in the flesh or give up the conflict. “Brethren,” he writes, “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” SWk 89.5

My brother, walk humbly with God. I wish that the work could have been done in the Southern field which God designed should be done; but men have proved untrustworthy stewards. May the Lord give His people hearts of flesh, and not hearts of steel, is my prayer.—Letter 100, 1899. SWk 90.1

Ellen G. White