Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 9 (1894)


Ms 47, 1894

Freely Ye Have Received, Freely Give


November 26, 1894

This manuscript is published in entirety in SSW 06/1895, 07/1895.

All day the people had pressed about Jesus, eager to hear His words and to see His wondrous works. As evening began to fall, the sympathies of the disciples were roused for this great multitude, now faint and weary after the long, exciting day. They came to Jesus for permission to send the crowds away—away from Jesus—to find refreshment. In amazement they hear the Saviour’s answer, “Give ye them to eat.” “Master,” they say, “we have here but five loaves and two fishes.” Yet at His command they bring their little store to Him, and “looking up to heaven He blessed and brake, and gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.” [Matthew 14:16-19.] 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 1

Christ did not Himself pass around among the hungry multitude and place in their hands the portion to supply their necessities. When He would feed the five thousand by the Sea of Galilee, He broke the bread, blessed it, and gave it to His disciples. They placed it in the hands of the hungry ones. These men were ministering for Christ. The people took the provision from Christ’s appointed agencies as if they were taking it from the hand of Christ. When they looked up with grateful response upon their lips, their expressions of gratitude were accepted by Christ as given to Himself. The various instrumentalities are to be used by the Lord Jesus; ministers, evangelists, teachers, friends, companions, all are workers together with God. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 2

The multitude was fed by the five barley loaves, and every one had a sufficiency; their hunger was perfectly satisfied. How surprised they were to hear the voice of the great Teacher say, “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost,” and there were twelve baskets full gathered up. [John 6:12, 13.] All this the people rehearsed over and over again to friends and relatives and acquaintances. There was in it a hidden meaning which they did not then discern; it had a lesson for His disciples. The Lord would place in the hands of His delegated servants the Bread of Life to be given to the multitude. The Jewish religion was one of exclusiveness; they built up the partition walls as high as possible between themselves and the world. They would not accept the words of Christ, that there is no respect of persons with God, although the prophets had borne to them this testimony for centuries. They thought that God loved the Jew only and hated the Gentile. This error Christ was seeking to correct. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 3

The Saviour’s act in breaking the bread and placing it in the hands of the disciples for them to distribute, returning to Jesus to receive again, represents the very work which is to be carried on in His spiritual kingdom. The treasures of the grace of God are open to His believing agents, and they are constantly receiving light and knowledge to impart to others. Those who freely receive are to freely give. Christ bids us give to all, high or low, bond or free, of whatever caste or nationality. Nothing is to exclude any from the privilege of receiving the precious gifts of heaven. As the loaves and fishes, multiplied by the power of Christ, were given by the disciples to the multitude, so the gift of the precious, saving truth is imparted in rich abundance to all who will pass it on to others and then expect fresh and new supplies from the Great Center to bestow upon all. “Freely ye have received, freely give.” [Matthew 10:8.] 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 4

The narrow conceptions of God’s grace and love, which had been propagated by the teachings of the rabbis and elders, were being swept away by the words and works of Christ. The operations of Providence in the work of Jesus were to impress upon the minds of the people the fact that in God is an inexhaustible treasure house for His church. Whatever is imparted by Christ to individual workers is to be passed on to those that need the light. Every ray of light emanating from Christ is to be faithfully put to use to bless others. Thus the divine agencies can co-operate with the human. As light is imparted, more light is given. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 5

“Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 6

Do you believe that the Lord still moves upon men to speak as the Holy Ghost gives them utterance? Appreciate the blessing; let thanksgiving be offered to God. Gather up the precious light, and impart it to others. Study to devise ways and means of spreading the light. Make use of the secular papers when these will report for you, but do not trust too much to this agency. The editors and publishers of these papers feel bound to cater to the popular taste, and they may exclude from their reports the most precious things that would make an impression and enlighten the understanding of those who are in the darkness of error. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 7

The important truth that is presented before the people by the living preacher should be published in as compact a form as possible and circulated widely. Thus the truth which was placed before a limited number may find access to many minds. But let no extravagant expressions be used; do not present the most startling points of truth before the people are prepared to receive them; for all this would give occasion for the enemies of truth to misconstrue and misrepresent it. Those who have become interested are compelled to meet sophistry and misrepresentation from popular ministers, and they know not how to answer these things. Satan is wide awake; he never gives himself a vacation, but is on the track of every soul who is convicted of the truth. We know that the Lord never slumbers nor sleeps, for this reason He gives to His beloved sleep, because they need it to revive their exhausted energies. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 8

The Lord requires that His servants shall manifest their faith by their works. “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” [Verse 12.] Let the reasons of our faith which have been presented to the people in clear lines, be furnished them in printed form, so that they can read what the minister has said and give it to their friends. Let these publications be widely scattered. Truth has been strangely perverted; all evil influences are at work, and we must work with persevering, determined effort, for “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:12.] Then “quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 9

After the five thousand had been fed, there were twelve baskets of food gathered up; the one basketful had increased to twelve. So when our means are wholly inadequate for the needs of the work, let none of the Lord’s workers become discouraged at the situation. To depend upon what we can see is not faith. Faith depends upon God’s promises. It is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” [Hebrews 11:1.] The precious things of God, if appreciated and imparted, will be more abundantly bestowed. The Lord is not pleased with our unbelief. If those upon whom rests the management of the great interests of the cause speak uncertainly, unbelievingly, the Lord is grieved, for they are robbing themselves of the rich treasures of His grace. When one refuses to move unless he can walk by sight, his faith amounts to nothing. If we were placed in a position [similar] to that of the disciples, with the great multitude and the five little barley loaves, would it be hard for us to believe, hard to trust in God? 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 10

The Lord expects His agents to do their best. The fragments are to be gathered up, all needless expenditures for selfish gratification are to be cut off. Let self-denial and the cross become a portion of our individual experience. The Lord Jesus would have us study His word faithfully. The unbelieving will not be quick to discern the movings of Providence, but we should cultivate faith and use every talent that can be employed in dispensing to others the Bread of life. We can never be better employed than in imparting the light received. By every wholehearted, earnest sacrifice we make for the Master’s service, our talents will be increased. But we are to be only the instruments for the Holy Spirit’s working. Thus the grace of God will work in us to form new habits, to overcome powerful propensities, and to deny old inclinations. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 11

Unbelief regards the precious light, the precious evidences which God gives, as a matter of no special importance. This is why the Lord can do nothing for those who have not faith; the Holy Spirit would be treated by them as a common thing. This unbelief will bind about the work of God. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 12

O, there is too much arguing on the side of unbelief. When a worker loses his faith, he needs to take a vacation, have little or nothing to do, until the Lord shall work in His behalf, and imbue him with the Holy Spirit. He needs to have his perceptive faculties sharpened that he may discern the works and ways of God. He has received an education of an objectionable character, and he needs reshaping. The light of heaven must shine upon him. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 13

Christ says to His disciples, “Cast the net on the right of the ship, and ye shall find.” [John 21:6.] We must work on the faith side. The proper enlargement of the work is an impossibility unless we dare to press our way against forbidding circumstances. Those who fear to risk something will never attain an experience of the greatness, value, and security of the unfailing resources of heaven. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 14

The Lord has thrown open before us the door of heavenly commerce. We are to trade on our Lord’s goods. He Himself is our security if we walk and work by faith. The humblest believer may trade upon the entrusted capital; he may employ all his powers to the glory of God; and the one talent, thus consecrated to the Master’s use, will increase unto precious treasures. 9LtMs, Ms 47, 1894, par. 15