Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 95, 1898

Meat in Due Season


August 8, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in PM 222-224; 3BC 1144; 7BC 989.

I wish to present before our people the parables, so simple and yet so full of meaning, for their consideration. After Christ had given the parables of the foolish rich man and the lilies of the field, and had impressed upon His hearers the necessity of making the kingdom of heaven their first consideration, Peter came to Him, and said, “Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even unto all? And the Lord said. Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his Lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” [Luke 12:41, 42.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 1

The apostle Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians says, “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:2-7.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 2

It is not the business of any of God’s stewards to extol any human being, be he living or dead. God has given us no such message to bear. Let all who by pen or voice are brought before the public be sifted of all inclination to laud any human being, for in doing this work they are entirely out of their boundary. In giving expression to these sentiments, so easy to flow from human lips and pens, time is lost which is very precious now, and which should be used in appropriate speech, after much prayer to God and converse with Jesus Christ. Let every word be seasoned with grace, and thus reveal that you have been in communion with God and are imbued with His Spirit. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 3

Again, there are brought into our periodicals selections which can be found in other papers and books, and which need not be repeated. It costs money to issue these matters that have no bearing on the times or the spiritual interests of our people. The long accounts of the war can be obtained in any political or daily paper. It is not the business of the householder, whom God has appointed, to bring before the people subjects that may be found in the publications of the world, and the less these things are brought into our papers, and the more space given to that class of matter which is spiritual food—in living experience, in Bible studies, in plain, simple earnest appeals—the better will it be for the spiritual good and advancement of the work. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 4

The Lord has not laid the burden upon any to elevate, praise, and exalt men and women, even though their work may have been to turn the attention of the people to things of highest importance, to the things that concern the salvation of the soul, and shall our time and space be given to glorifying those who have been at work to raise false issues? The Lord has given to every man his work, and to those whom He has placed in positions of responsibility, either in writing or in speaking, He says, “Your work is to preach the Word.” 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 5

The work of keeping before the people the common things transpiring around us, the news of the day, is not the work of present truth. Our work is to fill every page of printed matter with spiritual food. What is the chaff to the wheat? All these common things are very cheap, and often are but stale food to those who are starving for the heavenly manna. Paul’s charge to Timothy rests upon every one who claims to be a householder: 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 6

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but will of their own lusts heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” [2 Timothy 4:1-4.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 7

What are the words of Christ? “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens which faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh, and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 8

“Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to broken through. Be ye therefore also ready; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” [Luke 12:32-40.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 9

“Who then is that faithful and wise servant, whom the lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidservant and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” [Verses 42-48.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 10

Here a description is given of the last events of this earth’s history, and Christ exhorts us to constant preparedness for those events. There can be no safety now in carelessness. We are not to neglect life’s duties, and live in idle contemplation. This is not devotion and piety. The duties of life are to be attended to faithfully. We are to be diligent in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The Word of God enjoins upon every soul, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.] We have something to do for the Lord, and we need to be on watch lest we prove unfaithful. We are to show our faith by our works. Even the devils believe and tremble, and should not those who have had great light prove their love for Him who gave His own life that they might show themselves diligent, true, and faithful? 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 11

God pronounces a curse against those who refuse to act their part. “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” [Judges 5:23.] Saving faith will be demonstrated by great activity. Those who do nothing to advance the cause and work of God, and build up His spiritual interests healthfully and soundly in every line, will receive according to their work. They are cumberers of the ground. They know their Master’s will, but do it not. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 12

The householder is engaged in a most solemn and important work and he should always be imbued with a zeal according to knowledge. By precept and example he is to give meat in due season. And in doing this work with faithfulness, he will not only impart blessings to others, but through his devoted labors he himself also will be blessed. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 13

There are many things done which do not advance the work of God in any of its various lines. Action is called for that will provide for the household—action that is harmonious. Time is short. We must turn aside from a thousand topics which invite the attention of our mind and talents, the co-operation of our pen and voice. These are matters which consume means and arouse inquiry that end in nothing. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 14

The householder is to feel his responsibility to give food that will nourish and stimulate spiritual life. We are not called upon to voice the world’s opinions of persons and things. The charge of God to us is, Feed the flock over the which the Lord hath made you overseers. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 15

What a waste of time and paper there is in repeating the sentiments of supposed great men, and which they have advanced as worth dwelling upon. As followers of Christ we are to bear in mind Paul’s charge to Timothy: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:2.] We are to bring from the Word things new and old, that those who are seeking for the truth may find it. Says the apostle: “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ: that in everything ye are enriched in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge: even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Corinthians 1:4-7.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 16

Let men preach and write the precious things of the Word of God. Let those who teach remember that they are working as God’s householders. If Christ’s worker will attend to God’s orders, he will depend upon God and not upon human intelligence—the great men whose wisdom is foolishness with God. Mind and heart will receive the things of God, and he will be persuaded that the message that God has sent He will direct. The things of nature will provide him subjects for consideration. The science of nature will be a treasure house of knowledge. As he contemplates the beauties of nature—the cultivation of soil, the trees, the water—a new perception of truth will come to him. These teachings of God’s great lesson book will bear testimony to the truth of God’s Word. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 17

While the servant of God remains meek and lowly in heart, he will receive the truths presented by Christ, “the bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” [John 6:33.] In the synagogue at Capernaum Christ declared: 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 18

“I am the bread of life; he that cometh unto me shall never hunger; and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.” “Verily, verily I say unto thee, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” “This is the bread that cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread which I will give him is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” [Verses 35, 47, 48, 50, 51.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 19

The Jews were full of unbelief and caviling. They were convicted, but like men in our own day, they were too proud and self-righteous to yield to conviction. With scornful unbelief they strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus read their thoughts and answered their questioning, “Verily, verily I say unto you,” He said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall love by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” [Verses 52-58.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 20

“Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” [Verses 60-63.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 21

Here Christ presented before the disciples, and before the people, truths of the highest importance. He was the tree of life to all who would pluck and eat. His words were truth. But their unbelieving, selfish minds could not grasp His meaning. “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” [Verse 66.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 22

Many today are passing over this very same ground as verily as were the Jews in the days of Christ. They believe not. Just as verily in 1898 Christ is speaking the words which He spoke to the unbelieving disciples: “There are some of you which believe not.” [Verse 64.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 23

“Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me except it were given him of my Father.” [Verses 64, 65.] Christ knows every heart. He knows who are striving for the immortal crown that will never fade away. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 24

Every phase of true righteousness affects and embraces the entire man in our day no less than in the day when the Great Teacher was in the world. If the follower of Christ will believe His Word and practice it, there is no science in the natural world but he will be able to grasp and appropriate, nothing but will furnish him means by which he can impart the truth to others. Natural science is God’s storehouse from which every student in the school of Christ may draw. The ways of God in natural philosophy, and the mysteries connected with His dealings with man, are a treasury from which we all may draw. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 25

The Bible is the Word of God, but in our day it is but poorly served out. It is not connected with God and given to the people with the fervor of earnest faith and love. The householder has a work, a solemn work, to do in dealing with human minds. To every man is given the work to feed the flock with meat in due season, food appropriate for the time in which we live. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 26

God’s children are not to strive for the highest place. Each must humble himself as a little child. The lack of unselfish love that is manifested in these times should make us all afraid. If self is allowed to strive for the mastery, we shall surely be left by God to strive alone. He who realizes that he has a work to do will not entertain the idea that he is supreme. He will divest himself of the idea that he is the only one to whom the Lord communicates His will. He will give respect to his brethren, just as earnestly and unselfishly as to himself. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 27

Speak kindly to your brethren, you that are householders. They are doing their work just as faithfully as you are doing yours. Give your brethren room to work, for God is teaching them in one line and you in another. He bids you help one another. Speak gently, for the spirit we weave into the work will testify of us. When the love of Jesus does not preside in the heart, difficulties will be created in every phase of the work. The lack of an abiding Christ is the cause of great unhappiness. Strife and differences of opinion and judgment would not exist if self were not so keenly alive. As true householders, we are to benefit the whole family of God, giving to every man meat in due season. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 28

In the sight of God a true man is a true minister. Self is not to discipline and set in order the mind of everybody else. Our safety lies in centering all in Christ. All our mercies, all our powers for the fulfillment of our appointed work are found in humbling the soul before God and striving for the mastery over self. And all who are striving for this mastery must strive lawfully. Practical godliness is a zealous following of the Lamb of God, and in this discipleship we have a Source of power and strength that the world can neither give nor take away. They believe the Word, they practice its teachings, not in a few particulars merely, but with a hearty faith in all its principles. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 29

They do not look to their own abilities, they do not exalt self. Every moment they are looking unto Jesus. They behold His glory in the cross of Calvary. They feel His inestimable worth, and pen and voice instinctively declare His glory. He is their righteousness and strength, and they live and abide and walk in Him. The transforming influence of the Spirit of God works its sanctification of character, and bears its testimony to the truth of God’s Word. With pen and with voice, His followers lift up the banner of truth, and show that they are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 30

We must have a deeper experience, in order to bring from the treasure house things new and old. The spirituality of our lives, our affections, our faith, testifies that Christ is to us the tree of life, bearing twelve manner of fruits. We shall testify that we have the love of Jesus in our hearts when we show unselfish love for those who are trying to act the part God has committed to them. The Lord would have those who write and speak receive their instruction from the great Teacher. They should eat and drink His words. They should possess a living, vigorous faith in God. They should understand that it is their duty to beat down the feelings that are striving for the mastery to consider their voice and influence and knowledge supreme. By learning of Christ they will have the full assurance of understanding. We are to give up the idea of controlling the minds, the words, and workings of God’s householders. No one man’s mind or one man’s judgment is perfect. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 31

Says the apostle: “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ... As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” [Colossians 2:1-3, 6, 7.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 32

Then the apostle cautions his brethren. He would point out their dangers. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” [Verses 8-10.] 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 33

I hope that those who read these words will not give them away to somebody else. The cautions given are greatly needed now. Satan will present every temptation to lead the feet from the solid rock onto sliding sand. If you want perfection of Christian character, do not, I beseech you, gather up the mass of matter which comes from those who you suppose have great wisdom, but who have not clearness of perception to understand that the commandments of God are of highest value to their own souls and to the souls who are brought within the sphere of their influence. Those who submit their intellect to the molding of the Holy Spirit will have that wisdom which comes from above. They will not only read about the commandments of God, but will have sanctified perception to discern that these commandments demand obedience from them if they would have the righteousness of Christ, and be reconciled to God through His blood. They will be one with the Father through Jesus Christ, and will walk in perfect obedience to God. Such will have genuine faith. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 34

We cannot be complete in Christ and yet be ready to grasp those things which come from the so-called great men of the earth, and place their wisdom before the wisdom of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. The knowledge gathered from such sources is represented in the Word by draughts from broken cisterns that can hold no water. Those who give so much attention to these things need to be converted, for they dishonor God, and place man where God should be. There are many who now stand on just such uncertain foundations. They have taken such deep draughts from the broken cisterns, that can hold no water that is heavenly and pure and unadulterated, that when the plain, decisive truth is proclaimed to them in warnings, reproofs, and councils, they find that they have lost their power to distinguish between the waters of the valley and the pure snow waters of Lebanon. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 35

It is because of our imperfect experience that the divine wisdom is not more apparent. There is a contradiction of terms. There are many who claim to be believers, but they are not. They have been handling strange and common fire, which is not the fire of God’s own kindling. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 36

The fruit of true faith will not be a strange fruit. It is the fruit of dissension, the root of bitterness that, springing up, defiles. The fruit will testify of the character of the tree. The fruit of a genuine faith will always lead to unity and oneness with Christ. Soon many who think they have become prodigies of wisdom will find that they have that wisdom which is foolishness with God. They will realize that they have wasted their opportunities; they have failed to provide themselves with the oil of grace of which they thought they had no need. Then think themselves rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 37

They have not learned what it means to be emptied of self that they might receive the true wisdom, an abiding, deep conviction of the great truths of the Word of God. They have not centered their whole being in Christ. They have not come into full assurance of faith by eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of the Son of God. Not until there is a humbling of self will there be any understanding of the will of God. 13LtMs, Ms 95, 1898, par. 38