Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 34, 1902

The Waste Places in the Lord’s Vineyard


March 4, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished.

Wise plans should be laid, more decided efforts should be made, to win souls to Christ. Those who, imbued with a true missionary spirit, strive to do all that they possibly can do in the Master’s service, will find open doors through which they can reach hearts and impart truth. The Christian who watches for openings, through which, as God’s helping hand, he may lead others into the light of truth, will never be at a loss for lack of opportunities to give his message. We should ever be ready to take advantage of every opening providence. How many times we let slip precious opportunities for helping sin-burdened souls! By using aright the talent of speech, we shall be a help and a blessing to thousands of the aged, the youth, and the children who are unacquainted with God. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 1

There are some who visit many places, scattering seed here and there as they hasten from place to place. Such workers obtain a very defective experience. The real results of this method of saving souls ready to perish cannot be ascertained. Some seed may spring up, but often little good is accomplished. God does not desire His people to follow the gospel-wagon plan of work, passing hurriedly through city after city. To make a business of traveling hither and thither and yon is to do haphazard work. It is not the best plan. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 2

All should labor in some way for the salvation of souls. To every man is given his work. It is best not to specify definitely the location in which a man should labor. But there are many who should choose some unworked field. Especially is it well for those who have received some training in medical missionary lines to select for their field of labor an unworked territory. And when men choose such a portion of the vineyard, let them ask wisdom of God and do their best. But they should never be left to strive alone, without words of sympathy and encouragement. Yet this has been done over and over again. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 3

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” [Ecclesiastes 9:10.] Some of our most successful laborers began by taking up their God-given work in a destitute field. Thus they have become diligent missionaries for God. Losing sight of self, they find happiness only in the faithful discharge of duty. This kind of labor must be done in all parts of our world. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 4

God desires His servants to select as their field of labor the barren portions of His vineyard. In places where the message has not been proclaimed, they should strive to establish and develop the work. The waste places of the earth are to be cultivated. In humble dependence upon God, families are to go forth and settle in the unworked portions of His vineyard. As the reward of their self-sacrifice in order to sow seeds of truth, they shall reap a harvest. As they visit family after family, giving Bible studies, and opening the Scriptures to the understanding of those in spiritual darkness, many hearts will be touched. Some will begin to inquire, “What shall I do to be saved?” 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 5

In canvassing for our publications, the medical missionary worker will find many openings to present the truth. This will be so in America, in Europe, and in Australia. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 6

Consecrated men and women are especially needed to stand as fruit-bearing trees of righteousness in the desert places of the earth. In fields where the conditions are so objectionable and disheartening that many workers refuse to go to them, most remarkable changes in the morals of the people are brought about by self-sacrificing lay members. These humble workers accomplish much, because they put forth patient, persevering effort, relying upon no human power, but upon God, who gives them His favor. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 7

Those who in humility engage in this work often do more than could the most fluent speaker. The Lord will use many men and women of ordinary abilities. Working in a humble way, they will reach the hearts of the people. Many such workers will not depend on any Conference for assistance, unless it be positively necessary to ask for help in the building of meetinghouses. The amount of good that these light-bearers actually accomplish can never be estimated in this world. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 8


For one hundred and twenty years Noah gave God’s message of warning to the inhabitants of the antediluvian world. But they would not heed the message. Christ has given to us the warning: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.] 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 9

It is not sinful to eat or to drink. God has provided food for the sustenance of man and beast. It is the carrying of lawful things to excess that is sinful. In the days of Noah, men used to excess not only good foods, but the foods that undermine physical soundness and animalize the nature. By their habits the antediluvians strengthened the lower propensities, weakened the mind, and destroyed spirituality. Their imaginations and their ways became evil. Violence filled the land. Men and women, uncontrolled by heavenly principles, became ungovernable. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 10

Today our world is in a similar state. Violence, crime, and wickedness of every description are increasing. Nothing seems to restrain man from the indulgences so debasing to both body and mind. The indulgence of unlawful, uncontrollable passion by men in high places is becoming proverbial. We are rapidly approaching the time when the world will be purified by fire. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 11

Many have unconsciously been selling their birthright for a mess of pottage. Not much longer will God be trifled with. He calls upon those who have formed intemperate habits to reform without delay. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 12

Virtue—holiness—is the only bond between heaven and this earth. Envy, evil-surmising, and the circulation of false reports have been doing their baneful work, even in our churches, until very many church members are in the condition of those described in the message to the Laodicean church: “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” [Revelation 3:14-16.] They are represented as being a disgusting morsel to His taste. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he will Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 17-22.] 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 13

God calls upon the men and women upon whom the light of His truth has been shining for so many years, to put away their self-sufficiency, heeding the Laodicean message before it is too late for them to find repentance, even though they may then seek for it with tears. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 14

God sees the lack of Christian love, true confidence, and persevering faith among professing Christians. Before Him is a record of the envy, the evil-speaking, the misrepresentations of His professed followers. He observes those who are watching for defects in others. He hears the false, scandalous statements that are passed from lip to lip—statements that make the work given me of God tenfold harder than it would be if human agencies did not interpose between me and those whom I desire to help. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 15

Satan is eagerly watching for opportunities to sow tares of dissension. All the strife that he is creating to cause alienation must be expelled from the heart. Those who cherish strife will be destroyed. Brethren and sisters, sweeten your fellowship by right words and right actions. The Lord calls for the practice of pure and undefiled religion. 17LtMs, Ms 34, 1902, par. 16