Ellen G. White: The Australian Years: 1891-1900 (vol. 4)


Running a Free Hotel

With the interest developing at Cooranbong, the White home was a sort of stopping-off place, rather like a free hotel, a situation to which they tried hard to adjust. 4BIO 157.1

She wrote of the heavy burden of entertaining. As preparations were being made to send off Jimmy Gregory and Mr. Collins with the horse and cart to Cooranbong, Ellen White wrote to Willie: 4BIO 157.2

We are supplying them with provisions for a three-day journey. We are expected to entertain all the saints who come and go, to shelter and feed all the horses, to provide provisions for all who go out, and to lunch all who come in. 4BIO 157.3

This would be all very well if it were only an occasional thing, but when it is continual, it is a great wear upon the housekeeper and upon those who do the work. They are continually tired and cannot get rested, and besides this, our purse will not always hold out so that we can keep a free hotel. 4BIO 157.4

She asked: 4BIO 157.5

But what can we do? We do not wish to say No, and yet the work of entertaining all who come is no light matter. Few understand or appreciate how taxing it can be; but if this is our way to help, we will do it cheerfully, and say Amen.

But it is essential that we donate large sums of money to the work and that we lead out in benevolent enterprises.... Is it our duty also to keep a free hotel, and to carry these other burdens? May the Lord give us His wisdom and His blessing, is our most earnest prayer.—Letter 85, 1894. 4BIO 157.6

Within a few days Ellen White caught herself. She felt remorse and self-condemnation for complaining. Repenting, she bravely wrote: 4BIO 157.7

I begrudge nothing in the line of food or anything to make guests comfortable, and should there be a change made in the matter of entertaining, I should certainly feel the loss and regret it so much. So I lay that burden down as wholly unnecessary, and will entertain the children of God whenever it seems to be necessary.... I would not have it otherwise in entertaining, if I could. The Lord has made us stewards of His grace and of His blessings in temporal things, and while writing to Elder Loughborough a letter on this subject, my mind cleared wonderfully on these matters. No! I want not to hoard anything, and, God helping me, those who have embraced the truth and love God and keep His commandments shall not go hungry for food or naked for clothing if I know it.—Letter 135, 1894. 4BIO 157.8