Manuscript Releases, vol. 17 [Nos. 1236-1300]


MR No. 1275—Christ Understands Humanity's Need for Food; Health Food Business Has Potential for Helping God's Cause

(Written January 29, 1902, from St. Helena, California, to J. E. White.)

Read carefully the sixth chapter of John. Today Christ is the same compassionate Saviour. He did not overlook the physical needs of the hungry multitude that had followed Him in their eagerness to hear from His lips words of life. How wonderful is this record of the Saviour's ministry! After every one of the multitude had been fed, the Lord Jesus said to the 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.” 17MR 252.1

By this the Lord shows us the importance of exercising care not to allow anything to go to waste. By His creative power He increased the five barley loaves and two small fishes so that there was sufficient food for all on that occasion. But although He could provide any quantity of food necessary for His people, yet He gave direction that every fragment should be gathered up. 17MR 252.2

If the Lord Jesus could by increasing the supply of food meet the necessities of five thousand hungry men, besides women and children, on that occasion, He will at the present time impart knowledge to His people in different places, whereby in various ways they will be provided with food. His hand of benevolence is not stayed. 17MR 252.3

By this miracle the Lord Jesus desired to give the people a spiritual lesson. The next morning many who had heard of the miracle went out to search for Christ. Going to the place where the miracle had been performed, they found neither Jesus nor His disciples. 17MR 252.4

“When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither His disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus. And when they had found Him on the other side of the sea they said unto Him, Rabbi, when camest Thou hither? Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labor not [that is, bestow not your chief labor; make it not a matter of anxiety] for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed. 17MR 253.1

“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent. They said therefore unto Him, What sign showest Thou then, that we may see, and believe Thee? what dost Thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” 17MR 253.2

Those who had followed Christ referred to the standing miracle of the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness during the time when, as the psalmist states, “Man did eat angels’ food.” They are desirous of knowing whether Christ would continue to provide His followers with plenty of palatable food, as He had provided food for the children of Israel in the wilderness. 17MR 253.3

From Christ's answer we may draw a lesson that we should learn. He is not unmindful of the physical wants of His followers. He will provide food to satisfy bodily necessities. But He teaches us that the spiritual food which He provides is of far more consequence to us than is temporal food. He teaches us to have far more anxiety to secure the living bread that endureth unto eternal life, than to secure perishable bread for physical sustenance. He teaches us that the bread from heaven can be obtained from no human agent. Through the gift of Christ, God Himself gives to man this living bread. “For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.” 17MR 254.1

To emphasize this lesson, Christ declared: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” 17MR 254.2

All the gifts of God come to us through Jesus Christ. In giving His Son to our world, God gave all heaven. And in everything connected with the health food business, God is the One who is to be honored and glorified. The Lord Jesus Christ desires all to understand His declaration, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” 17MR 254.3

Concerning the food question in the Southern field: If the committee of the Southern Union Conference desire to handle the manufacturing of health foods for the benefit of the cause in the Southern field, and thus help that field; and if they have the proper men to undertake this work, let the whole union conference take hold of this work with unselfish interest, and let Edson and Brother Palmer keep to the work of publishing the truth. If these brethren can successfully carry forward the work in the publishing line, that is all that it is well for them to attempt to accomplish, taking into consideration their state of health. Both have been under a great strain. 17MR 254.4

In this movement on the part of the Southern Union Conference to take hold of the manufacture and sale of health foods, I can see the possibility of establishing an industry that would help the cause in the Southern field. I hope that no ill feelings will be created over this matter. All that men as missionaries for God can do for the Southern field, should be done. 17MR 255.1

There must be no misunderstanding, my son, in regard to the words I spoke to you just as I was leaving Nashville. My remarks were in reference to the way the work has been carried on heretofore. I have no special light with reference to particulars in detail, or concerning the point of who should carry the responsibility of manufacturing health foods in the Southern field. But the light given me is that it should not be, and must not be, carried on in the Southern field in the way in which it is now being done. The light I have had is that in every effort made to manufacture health foods in the Southern field, the business should be conducted not as a speculation for personal benefits, but as a business that God has devised whereby a door of hope may be opened for the people. 17MR 255.2

If in connection with providing the common foods, the health foods that Dr. Kellogg is selling could be supplied without the objections I tried to specify in a letter to him, of which you have a copy, then let the Southern field have the benefit of the profits on these productions to sustain the work there. But you will not be able to carry both of these responsibilities—the publishing work, and the manufacture and sale of health foods. Brother Palmer has a feeble hold on life. It is necessary for him to be most careful in regard to his diet, and he is often in need of special treatment. You yourself are in danger. Your nervous system needs careful guarding. Emma needs great care. But the Lord will be with you, if you will be with Him.—Letter 9, 1902. 17MR 255.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Washington, D. C.,

August 6, 1987.

Entire Letter.