Welfare Ministry


Chapter 38—Food Sales

Church-sponsored Food Sales Not Condemned—When the State fair was held in Battle Creek, our people took with them onto the grounds three or four cooking stoves and demonstrated how good meals might be prepared without the use of flesh meat. We were told that we set the best table on the ground. Whenever large gatherings are held, it is your privilege to devise plans whereby you can provide those who attend with wholesome food, and you are to make your efforts educational.—Manuscript 27, 1906. WM 284.1

A Unique Experience in Health Education—It was on the occasion of the visit of Barnum's great menagerie to this city on the 28th of June [1877], that the ladies of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union struck a telling blow for temperance and reform by organizing an immense temperance restaurant to accommodate the crowds of people who gathered in from the country to visit the menagerie, thus preventing them from visiting the saloons and groggeries, where they would be exposed to temptation. The mammoth tent, capable of holding five thousand people used by the Michigan Conference for camp meeting purposes, was tendered for the occasion. Beneath this immense canvas temple were erected fifteen or twenty tables for the accommodation of guests. WM 284.2

By invitation the sanitarium set a large table in the center of the great pavilion, bountifully supplied with delicious fruits, grains, and vegetables. This table formed the chief attraction and was more largely patronized than any other. Although it was more than thirty feet long, it became so crowded that it was necessary to set another about two thirds as long, which was also thronged.—Testimonies for the Church 4:275. WM 284.3

Planning for a Banquet—Yesterday I had a two hours’ conversation with A and his wife, who are working at the sanitarium here. I think that the interview was a profitable one. They spoke of a plan that they have in mind—to have a banquet at the sanitarium and to invite the prominent residents of St. Helena—lawyers, bankers, and ministers. They hope that thus they can do something to remove the impression that seems to be held by some in St. Helena—that this institution is a place where only imbeciles and decrepit people are cared for. Brother B, manager of the San Francisco Vegetarian Cafe, will come up to take charge of the preparation of the banquet. WM 285.1

I saw no objection to this plan. When the light of health reform first came to us we used, on holiday occasions, to take cooking stoves to the grounds where the people were assembled, and right there bake unleavened bread—gems and rolls. And I think that good was the result of our efforts, though, of course, we had not the health food preparations that we now have. At that time we were just beginning to learn how to live without using flesh meat. WM 285.2

Sometimes we gave entertainments, and we took great care that all that we prepared for the table was palatable and nicely served. In fruit season we would get blueberries and raspberries fresh from the bushes, and strawberries fresh from the vines. We made the table fare an object lesson which showed those present that our diet, even though it was in accordance with the principles of health reform, was far from being a meager one. WM 285.3

Sometimes a short temperance lecture was given in connection with these entertainments, and thus people became acquainted with our principles of living. As far as we knew, all were pleased and all were enlightened. We always had something to say about the necessity of providing wholesome food and of preparing it simply, and yet making it so palatable and appetizing that those eating it would be satisfied. The world is full of the temptation to indulge appetite, and words of warning, earnest and right to the point, have made wonderful changes in families and in individuals.—Letter 166, 1903. WM 286.1

Peril of Making Financial Gain in Sale of Food the Primary Objective—Light was also given that in the cities there would be opportunity to do a work similar to that which we did on the Battle Creek fair grounds. In harmony with this light, hygienic restaurants have been established. But there is grave danger that our restaurant workers will become so imbued with the spirit of commercialism that they will fail to impart the light which the people need. Our restaurants bring us in contact with many people, but if we allow our minds to be engrossed with the thought of financial profit, we shall fail to fulfill the purpose of God. He would have us take advantage of every opportunity to present the truth that is to save men and women from eternal death.—Manuscript 27, 1906. WM 286.2

Christ Reached the People at Their Dinners and Feasts—Christ is our Master. By definite instructions He prepared His followers for their work before leaving them. As soon as He could talk, Christ used the talent of speech, in the family circle and among friends and acquaintances, in a way that was without fault. Not one impure word escaped His lips. Never did He do a wrong action, for He was the Son of God. Although He possessed a human form, yet He was without a taint of sin. WM 286.3

When invited, as His work commenced, to a dinner or feast by Pharisee or publican He accepted the invitation. He was accused by the religious leaders of eating with publicans, and they cast the imputation upon Him that He was like them. But on such occasions Christ controlled the table talk, and gave many precious lessons. Those present listened to Him; for had He not healed their sick, comforted their sorrowing, taken their children in His arms and blessed them? Publicans and sinners were drawn to Him, and when He opened His lips to speak, their attention was riveted on Him. WM 287.1

Christ taught His disciples how to conduct themselves when in the company of those who were not religious and those who were. He taught them by example that when attending any public gathering, they need not want for something to say. But His conversation differed most decidedly from that which had been listened to at feasts in the past. Every word He uttered was a savor of life unto life to His hearers, and they listened with subdued attention, as though desirous of hearing to a purpose. WM 287.2

The respect shown to Christ at the feasts He attended was in marked contrast to the manner in which the scribes and Pharisees were treated, and this made them anxious. Christ gave lessons adapted to the needs of His hearers. It was when He was at a feast that He gave the parable of the great supper, and showed the way in which the invitation of the king was treated.... WM 287.3

The great teacher spoke as one having authority. He instructed His disciples in regard to the duties and regulations of true social life, which are the same as the laws of the kingdom of God. Christ spoke His words with great clearness and simplicity, and with no uncertain sound. His words were as apples of gold in pictures of silver.—Manuscript 19, 1899. WM 287.4

Opportunities in Large Gatherings—I was given instruction that as we approach the end there will be large gatherings in our cities, as there has recently been in St. Louis, and that preparations must be made to present the truth at these gatherings. When Christ was upon this earth He took advantage of such opportunities. Wherever a large number of people were gathered for any purpose, His voice was heard, clear and distinct, giving His message. And as a result, after His crucifixion and ascension, thousands were converted in a day. The seed sown by Christ sank deep into hearts, and germinated, and when the disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit, the harvest was gathered in.... WM 288.1

At every large gathering some of our ministers should be in attendance. They should work wisely to obtain a hearing and to get the light of the truth before as many as possible.... WM 288.2

We should improve every such opportunity as that presented by the St. Louis Fair. At all similar gatherings there should be present men whom God can use. Leaflets containing the light of present truth should be scattered among the people like the leaves of autumn. To many who attend these gatherings these leaflets would be as the leaves of the tree of life, which are for the healing of the nations.—Letter 296, 1904. WM 288.3