Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 122, 1902

Our Restaurant Work


October 16, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript were used in 7T 115-120. +Note


I was once asked whether it would be wrong for our restaurants to furnish a limited number with meals on the Sabbath. It was urged that since it was necessary to prepare something for the helpers, why would it be wrong for a few regular boarders to share with the helpers the food prepared, and then go quietly away. At the time when the question was asked me, I said, “I have no special light on this subject. It might be best for you to make the trial. You should yourselves be able to reason from cause to effect. But to provide for these few will certainly increase the work of the helpers.” 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 1

Since that time light has been given me that to provide a few with meals on the Sabbath is a snare. Those who keep one of our restaurants open on the Sabbath are doing an injustice to the helpers, confusing their minds in regard to the claims of the fourth commandment. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 2

True, the helpers must be fed on the Sabbath. But the food is to be prepared the day before, and is to be served with as little work as possible. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 3

Our restaurants are not to be opened on the Sabbath. This day is to be kept holy unto the Lord. The helpers should not be asked to provide the public with meals on this day. They are by all means to be given the privileges of the Sabbath. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 4


When the one thing needful has been placed in the background, when the Lord’s commands have been made a secondary consideration, a change must be made at any cost. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 5


Our Restaurants to Proclaim the Truth

In our restaurants there is to be no neglect of the work of soul-saving. If nothing is done by them to proclaim the message of present truth, of what help are they to the cause of God? If some way cannot be devised to let the light of truth shine forth from them to those who come to them day after day for their meals, how is God glorified by their work? 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 6

As in our restaurants people are supplied with temporal food, let not the workers forget that they themselves and those whom they serve need to be constantly supplied with the bread of heaven. Let them watch constantly for opportunities to speak of the truth to those who know it not. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 7

Unless some better way of managing our restaurant work can be devised, it might better be given up. When this work was started, we thought that it would be the means of reaching people with the message of present truth. But has it done this? 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 8

I heard the question asked by the One in authority, “To how many have you spoken regarding their salvation? How many have heard from your lips earnest appeals to accept Christ as a personal Saviour? How many have been led by your words to turn from sin to the service of the living God?” 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 9

Care of Workers

It is time that plans were laid for the care of the helpers in our restaurants. Good helpers should be secured, and every advantage should be provided that will help them to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ. They are not to be left to the mercy of haphazard circumstances with no regular time for prayer, nor any time at all. When left thus, they become heedless and careless, indifferent to eternal realities. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 10

With every restaurant there should be connected a man and his wife who can act as guardians of the helpers, a man and women who love the Saviour and the souls for whom He died, and who keep the way of the Lord. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 11

The helpers should be under the care of a wise, judicious matron, a woman who is thoroughly converted, who will carefully guard the workers, especially the younger ones. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 12

Our restaurants may be managed in such a way as to be a snare to the workers. Satan will try to insinuate himself into this line of work, to spoil the faith and purity of the workers. These youth are brought in daily contact with the people of the world, and are constantly tempted to swerve from their allegiance. They are in danger of losing their love for the truth. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 13

A most solemn responsibility rests upon those in charge of our restaurant work. They are to exercise a Christlike guardianship over the workers. They must seek earnestly to do their duty to the helpers, receiving grace from God to impart to them. These youth are a part of the Lord’s great firm. They have their place to fill in the work of soul-saving. In no wise are their spiritual interests to be neglected. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 14

My soul is so weighed down as I think of the dangers that threaten the youth in our restaurants, and of the temptations to which they are exposed, that I cannot sleep. Certainly, they are “serving tables,” but what is gained thereby? [Acts 6:2.] Are there not in our restaurants Sabbath-keeping youth who are becoming less and less interested in the truth? May the Lord anoint the eyes of His servants with heavenly eyesalve, that they may see all things clearly. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 15

As our Instructor spoke of the youth in our restaurants who have already lost their love for the truth, His voice was filled with anguish. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 16

Let our restaurant work be carefully looked into. The warning has been given me in a most decided manner, and I give it to our people. I entreat them to take heed to what they do. On every hand there is pollution and iniquity. Let us not in our work follow plans that will tempt our youth to step over the boundary into the world. 17LtMs, Ms 122, 1902, par. 17