Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 121b, 1898

Danger of Restricting the Work


October 1, 1898 [Recopied.]

Extracted from Lt 5, 1885. Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MR 19.

I have been made sorry, more than I can express, to learn of brethren occupying responsible positions giving advice to restrict the work in different places. Be careful how you repress advancing work in any locality. There is little enough being done in any place, and it certainly is not proper to seek to curtail operations in missionary lines. Your influence should ever be exerted in such a way as to cause the people to see the importance of the work, and to realize that it is their duty to rise to every emergency. If our brethren feel at liberty to stop the work when they cannot see where the money is coming from to sustain it, then the work will be contracted in many places. If our workers are going forward in any place, do not put up the bars and say, “Thus far shalt thou go and no farther.” [See Job 38:10, 11.] 13LtMs, Ms 121b, 1898, par. 1

Some have not taken measures to advance the work by soliciting donations from men who could give. There are rich men among us who have made complaints about the debts that have been incurred, who ought to have sustained work and workers. While reproach and discouragement have been cast upon the workers, the impression has been left upon those who have means that they have a perfect right to question every enterprise that calls for money. When the work is restricted on account of such reasons, men who have property and could have helped various enterprises will breathe more freely. These moneyed men will be encouraged, not to do more for the cause than they have done, but to do less. They will feel at liberty to complain concerning anything that calls for an outlay of means. 13LtMs, Ms 121b, 1898, par. 2

God does not require the president of the General Conference to take such a course that the workers anywhere shall not feel at liberty to make advance movements unless they can consult him, and ask what his judgment of the matter is before they advance. I cannot sanction the idea that he must have a personal oversight of all the details of the work. If I did, the result would be that no worker would dare to exercise his own judgment, in anything. The workers would have to rely upon one man’s brain and one man’s judgment, and the result would be that men would be left in inefficiency because of their inactivity. There are altogether too many of this class now, and they amount to next to nothing. I write this because I feel deeply on this point. We are not doing one-half that we ought to. 13LtMs, Ms 121b, 1898, par. 3

Never take action to narrow and circumscribe the work unless you know that you are moved to do so by the Spirit of the Lord. Our people are doing work for foreign missions. But there are home missions that need their help just as much as these foreign missions. We should make efforts to show our people the wants of the cause of God, and to open before them the need of using means that God has entrusted to them, to advance the work of the Master both at home and abroad. Unless those who can help are roused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. 13LtMs, Ms 121b, 1898, par. 4

There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. Those who are counted good workers will need to draw nigh to God. They will need the divine touch. They will need to drink more deeply and continuously at the fountain of living water, in order that they may discern God’s work at every point. Workers may make mistakes, but they should be given a chance to correct their errors, and an opportunity to learn caution by leaving the work in their hands. 13LtMs, Ms 121b, 1898, par. 5