Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 122, 1898

Lucas, Sister

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

December 13, 1898

Previously unpublished.

Dear Sister Lucas:

I write you a few lines this morning in response to your letter. If I thought it was the will of God for you to come to Cooranbong, I would do all my power to help you in the lines you desire. But I see no light in doing this. You had just as good an opportunity to learn in Stanmore as you will ever have in this world, but you had not the power to apply your mind. In the providence of God you were called to Queensland. This is another of the good opportunities granted you, if you will improve it, but you allow your mind to overlook the privileges close by you, and see something afar off. You think that if you could have such and such advantages, then you would acquire what you desire. But it is not the advantages that will do the work for you. You will carry yourself with you, wherever you go. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 1

Take up the work next you, and do the duties that you can do. You will not have any more advantages by coming to Cooranbong than you have right where you are. The trouble is with yourself. Your mind is taxed by the duties you have on hand. You have allowed your mind to run in a channel in which it should not, and now you are not able to fix in your mind that which would fit you for a Bible worker. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 2

If, with the chance you have now, you cannot learn, you would have no better chance when working for your board and attending school here in Cooranbong. My dear sister, take up sewing as your business. Do not attempt to fit yourself to give Bible readings. You see what you can do to apply your mind to the very things that lie before you to be done. But you dream all the time of doing something that you cannot do, and this is hurting your mind, and unfitting you spiritually for rest and enjoyment. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 3

When you bake bread, put your mind into the matter. And as you use the very best ingredients to make simple, healthful food palatable, so you are to give your mind the best thoughts. Be sure that you have injured your mind in a great measure by your constant thinking, dreaming, and castlebuilding, wishing to get married when at the present time no one asks you. You do not know what you want, and think that if you could go here or there or somewhere else, you could get just what you want. My sister, the Lord would have you cease thinking constantly of something afar off. Do what you have in hand. Put your mind into it. Force it to act on the very things you handle. Make it as perfect as possible. Give up the idea of studying to be a Bible worker, for if your mind could not grasp Bible subjects with the opportunities you have had, you would waste your time trying again. But I advise you to just put your mind into what you have in hand, and do it with your whole mind. Do not let your mind wander off to things you are not doing. Whatever you do, show that you can think of what you are doing. When you can do what you have in hand, then you can take the next thing. Keep your mind on what you are about. “Gird up the loins of your mind.” [1 Peter 1:13.] I sincerely hope you can do this. But while you are so unsettled, so uneasy, you are simply a burden to yourself and everybody round you. You waste material in the preparation [of] food. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 4

Stop just where you are, and consider that if you do dressmaking, you are to do it thoroughly. You do not do your work near as faithfully as you did when you first came to live with me. In your cooking, you improved in some ways while you were here. But your daydreaming and castlebuilding made you make many mistakes, because your body was in one place, and your mind somewhere afar off. You wasted a great deal. This is something you need to see and understand. We need economy in the preparation of food. When you have things cooking, be sure and keep your mind on that piece of work, and do it well. When you are sewing, be sure and do your very best. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 5

Put your mind on what you are doing. Do not allow your thoughts to wander. Make a success of these things first. When you can keep your mind on these things, you can have some courage that your mind is not a wreck. But your uneasiness is painful. Your work is to do what you can in the fear of God, and do your best. But I cannot encourage you to come to Cooranbong for the purpose of attending school. You would simply incur debt, and your learning would amount to nothing. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 6

God would have you discipline your mind, and cease daydreaming about the possibilities of doing a work by giving Bible readings. I write this that you may be relieved. When you cook, it is not merely the material that you put into the food that makes it a success; it is the tact, the thought. Learn your lesson in this line thoroughly, then you will be of use in the world. When sewing, do your work thoroughly, and the Lord will require no more of you than you can do well. I write you this because I love you, and I want you to succeed in something. Put your mind on God, and do not think of this man and that man. Just trust in God. Be willing to be in a humble place, and may God bless you is my prayer. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 7

P.S. The faculty exercised by fixing the thoughts upon the work you have in hand is the greatest and most beneficial education you can have. The mind needs to be active in the right direction. Teach yourself to know your present duty, socially and religiously. Learn these points before you make any change. Discharge your duties with thoughtful consideration. 13LtMs, Lt 122, 1898, par. 8