Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


Remarks by Ellen G. White at the Michigan Conference Meeting

September 3, 1891

Everything connected with God's work is to teach; everything during campmeeting is to do good. It is to present this people before the world as standing refined, with nicety of purpose, with wise plans, and for everything to be presented before them in such a way that it has a telling influence upon unbelievers. This people is a model people, and that is the way it ought to be. The truth is a sacred truth. Everything that is connected with the truth is to stand upon the highest elevation. Here are some things presented to me regarding our campmeetings, written about one year ago while I was at Petoskey, Michigan. 1SAT 162.1

We are never to graduate in this Word until Jesus shall change us to the future life, and then we shall learn through all eternity. You are ever to be a learner if you are to be a teacher, presenting things new and old. We shall be continually discovering rich veins of precious ore in this Word. It is a priceless treasure for God's people. There is not a moment of time that we are to spend in indolence, but we are to be all the time having our hearts open for the Spirit of God to rest upon us. 1SAT 162.2

You need at campmeetings to labor to teach in different lines, as Christ did. Few sermons were preached by Christ. He was the great Teacher, and crowds gathered wherever He went, to listen to His instruction, and He taught as one having authority, and knew that He was teaching the truth. He spake as never man spake. 1SAT 162.3

Ministers must be educated to work after the divine model. Many of you love to teach, but you have not taken up the work of teaching in the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. The people will listen to sermon after sermon, which are often double the length they should be, and they can retain but few points of the discourse because their minds have been all the time on temporal, earthly things. Therefore they hear with such earthly thoughts that the truth of God does not make any impression. It does not reach to the very depths of the soul, and the plowshare of truth does not go deep enough. Then they go from the meeting and fall back where they were before. The sermons being often double the length they ought to be, the words lose their force upon the minds of the hearers. Other things come in to choke the seeds of truth. The truth of God must be made impressive point by point. It is for their eternal interest to know. So deeply must the seed of truth be planted that it will become firm, and bear fruit to the glory of God....[Ellipses on pages 2 and 3 indicate where Mrs. White read extracts relating to the work in Michigan, which extracts were not reported.] 1SAT 163.1

Now, when the truth is being presented, there are applications that need to be made, and appeals to press it right home for a decision, for an important decision. Who is there when this truth is being presented? Somebody besides you. The devil and his angels are there to catch away the seeds of truth. Are these all? Angels of God and Jesus Christ are on the ground. Then what? When you seek to impress the truth upon the heart, you will be a co-laborer with Jesus Christ.... 1SAT 163.2

I want to tell you that God does not want us to go with a sad, morose countenance, gloomy and despondent. He does not want us to do any such thing. He wants us to look at the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness, and catch these bright beams that they may shine in all the chambers of the mind, that they may shine in the soul-temple, and therefore you can bring forth from the treasure-house of the heart the precious things of God, for out of it are the issues of life.... 1SAT 164.1

Now, brethren, I have read this much, but it is a small part of what I have in reference to Michigan. I sat here last Monday while in your conference the resolution was discussed. [The resolution recommended that the tithe of the Battle Creek church, which previously had been appropriated to the General Conference use, again all be given to the Michigan Conference.] I was too weak to open my lips at that time. I did not dare to do it. My heart was so weak and throbbing so painfully that I felt that it might be at the cost of my life if I attempted to speak, because I knew that if I spoke I would feel deeply over these points. As I went home and was adjusting some of my papers for Australia, I came across some messages which had been written, and I copied some of them. 1SAT 164.2

I see that the principle, not the money value, that was presented at that time before I left was not in accordance with the light that God had given me. It will not help your case any. It will only place you where you will not do the very things that God means shall be done. I did not understand that when the matter was presented here, that it was the tithes from the Battle Creek church, but that it included the whole of Michigan; but after I went home it presented itself clearly to my mind. 1SAT 164.3

Now, if that resolution is passed, that you shall in Michigan keep all your tithes, it is the heaviest weight that you have ever brought upon Michigan, and you will realize it the coming year. If you want that weight to be lifted from your souls, you had better rescind the action taken on that resolution, and let it stand where it was. I know there is a deficiency in all Michigan. It has been presented to me again and again. They are folding their arms and saying, There is an abundance of tithes. Here is the Battle Creek church which gives so much; they do not need my tithes; but I guess I will place my tithes here where they will serve self. There is not one-twentieth part being done that might be done. 1SAT 165.1

This matter was presented before me in 1888, and I was bearing a message to the Michigan Conference something of the very import I am bearing to you now; but I never act upon these things immediately unless the Spirit of God urges me, and now I feel urged by the Spirit of God to say that there is not a more liberal-hearted people in the world than in Michigan. They do not want anybody to help them out, but are selfish, covetous, and withholding from the cause and work of God. 1SAT 165.2

When I understood how the matter was, I had not a single question about the matter in my mind. I tell you, brethren, that in the place of withholding, you ought to give more liberally, for fields are opening everywhere. Souls are coming into the truth, and many of them never heard a discourse. I wish you could hear the pitiful appeals they are making to me. They say, I want your books. I want Patriarchs and Prophets; I have no money to buy. I want Vol. IV; I have no money to buy it. I want the Testimonies, but have nothing with which to purchase them. These appeals keep coming in continually. Can I forbear helping them? I have sent armfuls of books away without receiving a cent for them, because I know that they should have these things, and the truth of God is entering everywhere. 1SAT 165.3

There are missions that must be supported. I remember when I was in Switzerland, how oppressed they were for want of means. Ask a man how much he is receiving for his labor, and he says $150 a year. He had five in his family and labored for that amount. Now, that man was pressed for the necessaries of life. You would think you were starving if you were living on that much. You do not know how it is. I know how it is. It will do you good to tell you. One-half of the world do not know how the other half is living. While you have the comforts of life, you ought to do God's will in helping others. 1SAT 166.1

When over in Oregon, Elder Loughborough made an appeal to the conference in Upper Columbia that they should donate to that conference. The conference needed it very much. The power of the Spirit of God circulated through that meeting. It was all light in the Lord, and they were so lifted up that they said they would do it. After that meeting passed, I do not know how it came in, whether somebody proposed it to them or not, but they said, We need all this money in our conference. I do not know who put it into their minds, but it worked just like leaven. All they needed was to make them think that they were really martyrs, and that more was required than they could give. These men were in a position of backsliding from God. 1SAT 166.2

I went into Oregon when my husband was stricken with paralysis, and bore my testimony, and the power of God rested upon me. Next year I went into Upper Columbia. There were all these men of wealth. Those who had the most were complaining the most. Here they were with all their complaints, when I stepped into the desk and asked what they were complaining about. I knew what they were complaining about, and said to Brother Miller, “You invested so much money in the cause. What did you do after you pledged this much? You went and talked your disaffection, and God cut your crops down according to your withholding. According to this He has cut down your crops. We want to elevate this conference,” said I, and turned around to Brother Van Horn, and told him to put my name down in place of Brother Miller's. “I will stand where he stands. I will be responsible for him.” I called for another in the same way, and when I called for a third, they got ashamed and began to feel that they would not allow Sister White to pay their money. 1SAT 167.1

“Now,” said I, “Elder Van Horn told me how much money was paid by the General Conference to put the truth into Oregon. Now tell me how much money Oregon has paid to the General Conference?” It fell short something near $1,000 of what the General Conference had purely invested for them to bring the truth to them. That was a showing they had not looked at. They were ashamed of this. The light of heaven has not shone upon some of them since that time. 1SAT 167.2

It means something to trifle with God. Suppose God should stop letting His blessings come to us. True, Michigan may not have been able this year to pay some of her indebtedness to her ministers. What if they did carry it a year and did more to bring up the resources in general? This is the work to be done, and I tell you that if you expect the blessing of God to rest upon you, you must put into the treasury that which will support the interests of the cause in different places. Those who have been investing their means in order to bring the truth into the different places in Michigan will stand in the light of heaven as doing the very work they ought. 1SAT 168.1

You do not want this matter to stand just where it is. It will be the saddest experience in the life of those who have traveled over many places in Michigan; but do not let God's displeasure rest upon you. I do not believe that you mean it shall be so. I want to see this matter placed just where it was before. There is enough in Michigan to sustain every aggressive movement that shall be made in Michigan; but there are some who feel that if the cause can get along without it, they will invest it in their own special interests. God forbid that they should do this. Let us clear the King's highway. Let us make intelligent efforts to do everything in the sight of heaven we ought to do to bring His approbation and love upon us. I have more to bring before you, but I will say no more now. 1SAT 168.2

[Later.] I could not understand that resolution when Elder Corliss read it, but I returned home, and the Spirit of the Lord impressing me, I know in myself that that was a mistake. Then reading this which I have presented to you, I copied it from that which I had written. It is not because the means of the Battle Creek church go to the General Conference that you are in this condition. It lies right within yourselves. If you are for God, He will be for you, and if you set the work in order in the churches as it ought to be, and bring them up in finances as they ought to be, you would have a surplus in the treasury next year, and the amount that goes from the Battle Creek church to the General Conference will go for the universal wants of the cause in different places where the work must be built up. 1SAT 169.1

The Word of God has signified that people must be raised up to stand in the end. This matter, and much more I shall read you before I leave the ground, shows that there is an inward working right among yourselves and the churches that must take place, and then the finances will be brought up, if there is no robbery toward God. There is robbery toward God now. Now bring this up; let the conscience be touched; let God work upon your minds; and you will see salvation in your midst. 1SAT 169.2

There are ministers who have not fed the flock of God. While their salaries have been paid, they are not men who are converted to God. There must be a weeding out of ministers; for they are not converted. We want to have the talent right in among us that has worked up to be used in our conference. But if there is no spirituality to discern where that talent is, or to train and discipline it for the work, what then? Why if there is talent in other fields, do not say, “We are going to furnish our own talent here in Michigan, and we do not want anybody to work in Michigan unless they are Michigan men.” Who told you to prescribe for God? Who told you to say what men should be over you? This is contrary to all the light that God has given me. You have no right to pick and choose according to your plans. No, indeed. Ask God to send out the very men who will help you most; to send you the very men that are qualified to take and elevate and carry the churches in your place to a higher standard. That is what you are to do. When you do this, God will work with you. When we do this, He will lift what we are trying to lift. 1SAT 169.3

If you are going to lay your mark how God is to work, He will work in an entirely different way from your mark. Every man must be in that position so that when he wants God the worst, he can get Him. We want God to teach us and lead us, and we should yield ourselves to him as little children, to learn in His school. These strong minds, these iron wills, how they must break before Jesus Christ can pour His Spirit into their hearts! 1SAT 170.1

What we want is to be empty of self. We want Jesus Christ to work in us and by us and through us, and then we shall see the salvation of God. You say, “I am going to take just the men that are in Michigan.” Is that the way God works? Not at all. You say, “Lord, Thou knowest just the men that will help us the most; give them to us, and we will accept them and uphold them.” That is the way to do, and God will help you in doing it.—Ms. 11, 1891. (MR 900.27) 1SAT 170.2