Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Lt 127, 1897

Wessels, John

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 1, 1897

Portions of this letter are published in 6MR 78-81.

Mr. John Wessels
Claremont, Cape Town, South Africa

Dear Brother:

I received your letter today, and was somewhat disappointed to learn that you could not come at once. We had a difficult time securing a building for a sanitarium. Those who had the renting of the places we wished to secure were Wesleyans, and were much prejudiced against Seventh-day Adventists because of the Sabbath. They utterly refused to rent the house, saying that it would injure the future renting of it when it was known that it had been used for a hospital. Two large buildings were thus held from us. But for some reason, their feelings underwent a change, and they became desirous to rent the buildings. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 1

The largest of these we dared not rent. The walls, we feared, had the house leprosy. It might be done up to make it look all right, but we dared not trust it. There were also many outside attachments that darkened the rooms of the house. The kitchen was small, and so enclosed as to make it disagreeable and dark. All who looked at it decided that it would not do. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 2

The next large building that had been refused us was offered for one hundred and thirty pounds per year, and they came down £10. This seemed a large sum, but the location was good, and within about five minutes’ walk of the railway station. Every room seemed sweet and wholesome. A large back yard runs through the whole block to the next street. Quite an amount of vegetables might be raised on this land. There are also a number of fruit trees on the place, full of fruit. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 3

Brother Semmens and family moved in at once. Brother and Sister Baker engaged two rooms, for which they pay ten shillings per week. In order to help them, I hired one room, which I can occupy when I go into the city. I pay four shillings per week for this. I need not now, as I have in the past, be perplexed to know where I shall be accommodated. I shall fit up this room for myself, and any of our ministering brethren who may be passing through and have need of a place to lodge. They can board with Brother Semmens. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 4

I have some thoughts of paying for still another room to accommodate any of our people who may be sick and in need of treatment, yet unable to pay the full price. Should I pay four shilling and furnish another room, that would help them. Brother Semmens himself will pay ten shillings for two rooms for his family. By thus sharing the expense all round, the rent will be considerably lessened. Yesterday I sent him a draft for £10 and £15 today to help him in this strait place. They have to furnish the house, and must have money on hand to watch for opportunities to buy when households are breaking up. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 5

We are glad to report that the first school building is getting along finely. We shall build still another school building, the lower part to be used for a meetinghouse until we shall have more means. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 6

Last night I met with the people to speak to them on some matters that were essential. I will send you copies of the matter I brought before them. It was so oppressive in the chamber above the mill that I dared not venture to meet there. We had seats brought and set outside the building. My phaeton was drawn up, the horse taken out, and I sat in my phaeton and read and spoke to the people. Sara McEnterfer held a lantern at my right hand, and Brother Herbert Lacey a lantern at my left. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 7

I felt urged by the Spirit of the Lord to say those things that you will read. I have been very ill for three weeks. I am now recovering, but not so that I can stand upon my feet to speak. We had a large number out for so short a notice. Several families, humble, earnest people, have embraced the truth, and have the spirit of the message. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 8

Our meeting was a very solemn one, for I felt the necessity of every soul dedicating themselves to God, and commencing the new year by making a covenant with God by sacrifice. If all would do to the very best of their ability, then we could trust to God to help us. But there must be no selfishness in the service of God. When engaged in His work, there must not be a stipulated period of eight hours. Jesus did not work in that way. When means are so limited, we should not measure off precisely our period for work by minutes and hours, but put in all the service possible. God will help the workers to put the work through with expedition if their whole heart is in the work. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 9

But I have seen that selfishness is brought into the work of preparing buildings for His service. The workers must avoid weaving in one thread of their selfish spirit. They should strive to work as faithfully as it is possible for them to do. Heavenly intelligences will co-operate with those who have a real sense that they are doing service for God. The Lord wants men who will be liberal with their time. He wants upright men, men who practice truth and integrity, and who, in their service for God show that they respect and honor Him. Those who do the work of the Lord negligently, without sincerity and willingness, the Lord will repay in just the way in which they treat Him. “Those that honor me,” He declares, “I will honor.” [1 Samuel 2:30.] The Lord will be liberal to the soul that practices liberality in all his service for the Master; the liberal soul shall live by liberal things. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 10

I see so much stingy practice with God, so much downright robbery of Him, I am amazed. I wonder what men and women are thinking of. They do not consider the words of Christ, “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] When we are so dependent upon God for every temporal and spiritual blessing, how can any who profess to be His sons and daughters fail to realize their obligations and their accountability to Him to do their very best? 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 11

The Lord’s work should be done with a nicety, bringing all the tact and firmness and capability possible into it. There should be a wide-awake interest on the part of all, as though they could see the whole universe of heaven watching how the work of God is being done, and what kind spirit is brought into it. One lesson we are to learn is the secret of how to use the mind to think strongly, to put life into the work. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 12

The present moment is ours to employ to the very best advantage, or to misuse by doing the work in a rough, heartless, coarse manner. What use is made of the time after the eight hours system is accomplished? And how will it be used when there is constant reference to the will of God? Let those who can, donate an extra hour or two, or even three, to work. Thus they would please the Lord by presenting to Him a thank offering, something for which they do not receive pay. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 13

Many suppose that they must have holidays and recreation; but if the time thus spent were devoted specially to doing good, making use of the faculties to advance the cause of God in the world, either in planting crops for Him, in building chapels of schoolhouses, or any institution that the Lord is in need of to carry on His work, these things would not cost so heavily. If there were a company formed, who were devoted to the service of God, who would donate extra time above the eight hours, and call it the recreation hour, I know that they would receive a blessing. Many do this conscientiously. They will not be restricted in their movements, or bound about by precise hours, when they are engaged in the King’s business. The work which the Lord designs shall be done in preparing facilities calls for unselfish and cheerful labor. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 14

I have heard men and women who have been engaged in the work in the publishing houses and sanitariums complain of having to work over hours. If they cannot stop work after eight hours labor, they become dissatisfied. But these very ones, when they enter business for their own private benefit, will work on fully ten hours as they do in America, and often extend their labor to twelve hours. They make no complaint because it is in their own personal interest. It makes every difference whether the time is to be employed to their own special advantage, or for the service of God or their neighbor. If the extra time could be called the recreation hours, working from a sense of duty to benefit the oppressed, poverty stricken cause of God, I believe those who are able would find more advantage from this than from the hard, trying, taxing labor they often engage in in order to amuse themselves. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 15

Willing service in saving the means that is so limited is more satisfactory than hoarding means. With the right motive in view, such time would be reckoned as devoted to the service of God. This definite work for God in building, in planting, in reaping harvest, or any line of work, will cost considerable thought and labor. But it pays. God will multiply the resources; He will help in producing the means. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 16

Many are already working in this line, and have always done so. The devotion of time to God in any line of work is a most important consideration. Some can use the pen to write a letter to some far off friend. By consecrated personal labor we may in many ways do personal service for God. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 17

Some think that if they give a portion of their money to the cause of God, this is all they are required to do, and the precious time given them of God, in which they could do hours of personal service for Him, passes by unimproved. It is the privilege and duty of all who have health and strength to render to God active service. The giving of donations in money cannot take the place of this. Those who have no money can substitute personal labor, and even money can be made in various ways in this work. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 18

Every one may be a laborer together with God. The hours which have usually been spent in recreation that has not rested or refreshed either body or soul, may be spent in seeking to help some poor soul who is in need of help, in visiting the poor, the sick, and the suffering. Your time is God’s, and as Christians, we must use it to the glory of God. God has graciously entrusted us with twenty four hours in each day and night. This is a precious treasure by which much good can be accomplished. How are we using God’s golden opportunities? We must, as Christians, set the Lord always before us, if we would not lose precious hours in uselessness, and have nothing to show for our time. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 19

Time is money. If a man refuses to work because he cannot obtain the highest wages, he is pronounced an idler. Far better would it be for him to work, even if he receives much less than he supposes his labors are worth. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 20

Time is a talent committed to our trust that may be shamefully misused. Every child of God, man, woman, youth or child, should consider and appreciate the value of the moments of time. If they do this, they will keep themselves employed, even if they do not receive as high wages as they have been able to command. They should show their appreciation of diligence, and work, receiving what wages they can get. The idea of a poor man with a family refusing to work for moderate wages, because it is not showing, as he supposes, sufficient dignity for his trade, is folly that is not to be encouraged. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 21

How little has been bestowed upon this subject. How much greater prosperity might have attended the missionary enterprises if this talent of time had been thoughtfully considered and faithfully used. We are each one answerable to God for the time that has been wantonly thrown away, and for the use of which we must give an account to God. This is a stewardship that has been but little appreciated; many think it not sin to waste hours and days in doing nothing to benefit themselves or to bless others. 12LtMs, Lt 127, 1897, par. 22