Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 156, 1902

Diary/Gather Up the Fragments That Remain, that Nothing Be Lost


December 3, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished. +Note

“Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 1

“After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased. And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 2

“When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove him: for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto Him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.” [Verses 1-11.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 3

After feeding the five thousand men besides the women and the children, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, gave a precious lesson on economy. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 4

“When they were filled, He said unto His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” [Verses 12, 13.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 5

The One who could in a moment create a supply of food sufficient to feed more than five thousand people regarded it as essential to give His disciples this lesson on economy, to show that the bounties of Providence are not given to be squandered, nor to be used in an aimless, wasteful manner. By His own example of industry and frugality He has taught us to use with care the gifts that we receive at His hand. We are dependent on God for life, for food, for health, and even for the very air that we breathe. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 6

This lesson on economy should be carefully studied. If Christ had not foreseen the need throughout the centuries of such a lesson, He would not have said so definitely, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [Verse 12.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 7

Christ desires the great men of the world to realize that they are dependent upon God for life. The possessions in which they pride themselves, as, for instance, their health, are not their own, to be used as they choose. They are living on borrowed capital—on the bounty of a beneficent Providence. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 8

Christ is the Creator and the Redeemer of man. He has redeemed him with an infinite price, even the sacrifice of His life. The apostle Paul declares, “Ye are not your own. 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.] Men who have been favored with wealth often become so elated over the possession of the Lord’s goods, that they do not carry themselves discreetly. They act as if they had a right to use with prodigality the gifts that God entrusts to them to be used wisely. They walk and talk as if riches entitle them to the highest honor. Sometimes the poor are favored by the wealthy; but more often the monied men waste their Lord’s goods in selfish indulgence. They forget that all their treasures are entrusted gifts, and that they must render to God a strict account of the use they have made of His property. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 9

No human ingenuity can prevent the Lord from laying in ruins the grand houses which the rich build for themselves and which are their pride. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 10

Those who now take pride in scheming to obtain money, by means of which they may exalt self and gain worldly honor, will sometime reach the limit of God’s mercy, when He will no longer bear with them in their lordly presumption. Such men are a curse to humanity. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 11

The rich are tested and proved by God. All that they have is lent them in trust by Him, as verily as the food that He created was distributed among the multitude. The rich are not to spend one dollar of their Lord’s goods in riotous living. Not one dollar should they expend for tobacco, for tea and coffee, or for intoxicating liquor. These things are fruits borne on the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everywhere Satan has his factories established in which are manufactured the preparations that help to destroy man’s moral sensibilities. God has not given life to men and women to squander by being so grossly intemperate that they become bestial. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 12

The Lord has pointed out ways in which men may use their entrusted goods to retain a clear mind, to keep themselves in health, and to preserve every faculty of mind and body in a pure, uplifted, healthy state, in order that they may be examples of what man can be to his fellow men. Men and women are to keep the Lord ever before them. Constantly they are to follow in His footsteps, manifesting gratitude for His mercies and blessings. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 13

Let those who profess to know God and claim to be Christians bear in mind that by their own choice they have placed themselves under obligation to keep God’s law. If they transgress, if they defy the Lord to His face, they will regret this when the Lord sends to them the message, “Give an account of thy stewardship.” [Luke 16:2.] With many, the time has come when the Lord says of them to His angels, “They are joined to their idols. Let them alone.” [See Hosea 4:17.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 14


It may be surprising to some that after feeding the multitude, Christ gave to His disciples the direction, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [John 6:12.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 15

The Lord values every gift that He bestows upon man, and His command on this occasion to gather up the fragments, that nothing might be lost, demonstrated to the whole multitude the value He places on His blessings. This miracle of creating the food and giving it to them was a parable enacted before their eyes, to show that the blessings imparted to them were to increase by wise handling and by impartation to others. Christ’s care of the fragments is a striking evidence of His divinity. It was as essential for Him to bid the disciples gather up the fragments, as it was for Him to create the food to feed the multitude. He desired to point the people to God’s standard of economy in the saving of food as well as of money. There was use for it all. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 16

In the days of Nehemiah, the book of the law, long lost sight of, had at last been found; and “all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose; ... and Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people; (for he was above all the people;) and when he opened it, all the people stood up: and Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.” [Nehemiah 8:1-6.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 17

The people did not indignantly turn from God’s law because they had been breaking it. They had been instructed that in the law there is life, and hence when the requirements of the law were read, they thanked the Lord for His revelation of the sins that He condemns. “So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense [the explanation], and caused them to understand the reading. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 18

“And Nehemiah,” the governor, “and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law,” because they had not been living in accordance with God’s commandments. [Verses 8, 9.] They were convicted of sin, and realized that they were under His displeasure. But they had sinned ignorantly. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 19

“Then He said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.” [Verses 10-12.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 20

The Lord designs that those who are brought from the darkness of sin into the marvelous light of His truth should be missionaries, bestowing upon others the spiritual blessings that they receive. As the Israelites after their return from the Babylonish captivity were to “send portions” of the blessings they received “unto them for whom nothing is prepared,” so we are to use our blessings, both spiritual and temporal, in such a way that we shall be heeding the words of Christ, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” [Verse 10; John 6:12.] 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 21

God’s gifts are not entrusted to man to be wasted, or used thoughtlessly, or in accordance with hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. His gifts are bestowed by Him to be used in such a way that He can commend His stewards as wise and faithful. In the judgment there will be a careful investigation of the use made of the gifts entrusted to all. The Master will expect returns proportionate to the talents bestowed. His servants will be rewarded according to their several ability. He will acknowledge every effort they have made to trade wisely upon the talents He has lent them, every effort they have made to be His helping hand by using their entrusted talents to help those who were in need. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 22


Let those who have made Christ their only hope, keep before them His words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” [Verse 32.] Moses was greatly honored in being chosen by God to be His missionary, His helping hand. But he was only the instrumentality through whom God worked; therefore the Israelites were not to look to him as the one to whom they were indebted. They were to look beyond the human agent to God. Even Moses, after having borne with rebellious Israel so long without being overcome by temptation, on one occasion spoke unadvisedly, placing himself where God should be. “Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” he exclaimed, as he smote the rock twice with his rod. [Numbers 20:10.] The water that flowed from the riven rock was not created by Moses. It was God that supplied His chosen people with food and drink. 17LtMs, Ms 156, 1902, par. 23