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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 86, 1901

    The Need of Medical Missionary Work


    September 12, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in RH 03/04/1902; CH 575-579. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    The Lord will have a people who are as true as steel to principle. He has pointed out the work devolving on every church. He declares that the church members are faithfully to do their duty to those within their own borders. They are generously to support their own poor. They are to engage in systematic missionary work, teaching their children to keep the way of the Lord and to do justice and judgment.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 1

    But the light, which for years has been before the churches, has been disregarded. The work which ought to have been done for suffering humanity in every church has not been done. Church members have failed to heed the Word of the Lord, and this has deprived them of an experience they should have gained in gospel work.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 2

    The Lord gave Dr. Kellogg a special work to do—the work of reaching the higher classes, the people represented in the Word as those in the highways. Under divine supervision he was to carry forward this work. But it was not to be expected that Dr. Kellogg should carry all the burdens. He is to have the hearty co-operation of his brethren. When he saw such a lack of missionary effort, he placed himself where increased burdens came upon him. He took responsibilities which brought too heavy a strain upon him. He did this because he was filled with an intense desire to do the work which he saw needed to be done. He knew that many of his ministering brethren were not following the counsel of God, and he had little confidence in their discernment and judgment. Had not the Lord worked in his behalf, he would ere this have succumbed to the pressure of the work which he thought it his duty to do. He would have become confused, and this is what the enemy desired. But He who reads every heart did not leave His servant to fall into infidelity because of the defective course of persons whose spiritual eyesight was not clear, who did not do the work they should have done to plant the standard of truth in new places.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 3

    There is a great work to be done in the cities throughout the States, and especially in the cities of the Southern States, so many of which are unworked. In this work there are many difficulties to meet, and the Lord calls for wise and understanding workers who will surmount these difficulties.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 4

    The cause of God has been in great need of new blood, fresh talent. There are many who have stood off to criticize and condemn; but what have they done to help in the great necessity? Had those claiming to believe the truth taken up the work of health reform and gone forth to do missionary work in the cities of the South, a harvest of souls would have been gathered for the Lord. Men and women ought to be working in this field, preparing colored workers to labor for the colored people. This work must be done with the greatest caution. No careless, headstrong movements should be made. Little can be done in large cities unless the workers are humble and teachable, daily looking to the Lord for guidance.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 5

    Medical missionary work—Christlike ministry for the suffering—this is the work that will remove the mist of ignorance and superstition which for so long has hung over the Southern field.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 6

    If God’s workers had labored in new fields as they should, if they had done medical missionary work as they should, much fruit would now be seen in places where as yet nothing has been done. Had they sought the Lord diligently, He would have given them places in which to work.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 7

    The instruction the Lord has given me is that a field should not be shunned because it has objectionable features. This world was seared and marred by the curse, but still Christ came to it. He, the Son of the Most High God, was made flesh, and dwelt among us. He willingly left His high command to take His place at the head of a fallen race, becoming poor that through His poverty we might be made rich. He is the greatest medical missionary who has ever blessed the world. He gave His disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way as to make souls glad in the truth. He sympathized with the weary, the heavy laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Constantly He went about doing good. By the good He accomplished, by His loving words and kindly deeds, He interpreted the gospel. Intelligence and virtue marked His work. Benevolence, compassion, and love were revealed wherever He went. He gave His life to save the world. His example rebukes our half-hearted efforts. How can He acknowledge us as laborers together with Him?16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 8

    We read of Christ, “And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. ... And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people, that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” [Matthew 4:13-16, 23, 24.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 9

    The Lord continually carried on evangelistic work, and this every minister of the gospel should do. He has appointed us His ambassadors, to carry forward His work in the world. To every true, self-sacrificing worker is given the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 10

    Read carefully the instruction given in the New Testament. The work that the great Teacher did in connection with His disciples is the example we are to follow in our medical missionary work. But have we followed this example? The glad tidings of salvation are to be proclaimed in every village, town, and city. But where are the missionaries? In the name of the Lord I ask, Where are the laborers together with God?16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 11

    By an unselfish interest in those in need of help we are to give a practical demonstration of the truth of the gospel. “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace; be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [James 2:15-17.] “And now abideth faith, hope, and charity; but the greatest of these is charity.” [1 Corinthians 13:13.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 12

    Much more than mere sermonizing is included in the preaching of the gospel. The ignorant are to be enlightened. The youth are to be instructed. Children are to be taught by means of object lessons. The human voice is to act its part in God’s work. Words of tenderness, sympathy, and love are to witness to the truth. Earnest, heartfelt prayers are to bring the angels nearer.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 13

    The evangelization of the world is the work God has given to those who go forth in His name. They are to be co-laborers with Christ, revealing to those ready to perish His tender, pitying love. God calls for thousands to work for Him, not by preaching to those who know the truth, but by warning those who have never heard the last message of mercy. Work with a heart filled with an earnest longing for souls. Do medical missionary work. Thus you will gain access to the hearts of the people. The way will be prepared for a more decided proclamation of the truth. You will find that relieving physical suffering gives you opportunity to minister to the needs of the soul. The union of Christlike work for the body and Christlike work for the soul is a true interpretation of the gospel. To hold forth the Word of life is to preach and practice the gospel message.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 14

    Those who minister in word and doctrine should pray in faith for the sick, at the same time doing what they can by the use of the facilities which God has provided to heal suffering. The Lord will give them success in this work. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation when it is interwoven with the practical life, when it is lived and practiced.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 15

    Christ’s power was always manifested to heal physical suffering. And then He said, “Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing happen unto thee.” [John 5:14.] Those who do not accept the light God has given in regard to the proper care of the body, who do not do their best to prevent sickness and disease, are not the proper ones to engage in medical missionary work.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 16

    A Reform Needed

    Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Should Seventh-day Adventists practice what they profess to believe, what a surprise it would be to the world! If they were sincere health-reformers, they would indeed be a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. They would show a far greater zeal for the salvation of those who are ignorant of the truth.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 17

    Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat-eating, but who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half-converted on the question of meat-eating will go from God’s people and walk no more with them.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 18

    In our work we must obey the laws which God has given for the preservation of health, that the physical and spiritual energies may work in harmony. Those who preach the gospel should be strictly temperate in their eating and drinking, lest they make crooked paths for their feet, turning the lame—those weak in the faith—out of the way. If while proclaiming the most solemn and important message that God has ever given, men war against the truth by indulgence in eating and drinking, they take all the force from the message they bear. If ministers eat beef, they will preach beef; for animal food has an unfavorable influence upon the perceptive faculties. Men may have a form of godliness, they may even preach the gospel, and yet be unpurified and unsanctified.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 19

    Those who indulge in meat-eating, tea-drinking, and habits of gluttony are sowing seeds for a harvest of pain and death. The meat, condiments, spices, and pickles which are introduced into the stomach strengthen the appetites which war against the soul, developing the lower propensities. A diet of flesh meat develops animalism. A development of animalism lessens spirituality, rendering the mind incapable of understanding practical truth.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 20

    The Word of God plainly warns us that unless we abstain from fleshly lusts, the physical nature will be brought into conflict with the spiritual nature. A warfare is instituted between the higher and the lower attributes of the man. The quarrel is kept up. Every appetite indulged that is at enmity with the laws of the being becomes a warring lust. Lustful eating wars against health and peace. The highest interests of the soul are imperilled by the indulgence of appetites which heaven has not sanctioned. The lower propensities, strong and active, oppress the soul.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 21

    Many who are afflicted with bodily ailments are themselves responsible for their sufferings. When sickness comes to the one who has pursued a course of self-indulgence, he requests prayers for his recovery. But should he be spared, would he forsake his wrong habits and seek for sanctification? If, before disease had taken firm hold upon his system, he had seen and practiced the truth, the outlook would be more hopeful. The Lord cannot work a miracle, He cannot change the course of His physical laws, in order to prevent the consequence of wrongdoing. God requires us, by being temperate in eating and drinking, to act our part toward keeping ourselves in health. He cannot enlighten the mind of a man who makes a cesspool of his stomach. He does not hear the prayers of those who are walking in the light of the sparks of their own kindling.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 22

    Great care should be taken to form right habits of eating and drinking. The food eaten should be that which will make the best blood. The delicate organs of digestion should be respected. Intemperance is seen in the quantity of food eaten. The general practice is to over-load the stomach. Daily abused, the digestive organs cannot do their work well. A poor quality of blood is made, and thus, through improper eating, the whole machinery is crippled. Give the stomach less to do. It will recover if care is shown with regard to the quantity and quality of food eaten.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 23

    Eating has much to do with religion. Eating and drinking in accordance with the laws of health will produce virtuous actions. But if improper food is eaten, if the stomach is abused by habits which have no foundation in nature, the powers of discernment are enfeebled. Sacred things are not appreciated. Spiritual zeal diminishes. Peace of mind is lost. Taking advantage of the wrong which has been done, Satan uses the stomach as an enemy of righteousness, creating a disturbance which involves the entire being. The spiritual experience is greatly affected by the way in which the stomach is treated.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 24

    To eat on the Sabbath the same amount of food eaten on a working day is entirely out of place. The Sabbath is the day set apart for the worship of God, and on it we are to be especially careful in regard to our diet. A clogged stomach means a clogged brain. Too often so large an amount of food is eaten on the Sabbath that the mind is rendered dull and stupid, incapable of appreciating spiritual things. The habits of eating have much to do with the many dull religious exercises of the Sabbath. The diet for the Sabbath should be selected with reference to the religious exercises of this day, on which the purest and holiest service is to be offered to God.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 25

    The time has come when it is essential that the house we live in—the body—be carefully guarded. God calls for a decided reformation. There has been a continual backsliding in health reform, and as a result God is dishonored by a great lack of spirituality. Barriers have been erected which would never have been manifested had God’s people walked in the light. All creation is groaning under the curse, and God’s people should place themselves where they will grow in grace, being sanctified, body, soul, and spirit, by the truth. When they break away from all health-destroying indulgences, they will have a clearer perception of what constitutes true godliness. A wonderful change will be seen in the religious experience.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 26

    The Lord has instructed me to bear a decided testimony against making an idol of food. The apostle plainly states that those who reach a high standard of righteousness must be temperate in all things. The Lord sends this message to His people: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [1 Corinthians 9:24-27.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 27

    “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” [Romans 13:11-14.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 28


    Our Talents

    God uses in His work men of varied capabilities. Some present the truth in such a persuasive manner that they are selected to minister in word and doctrine. Others are entrusted with talents which enable them to do business in various lines, while others are entrusted with the gift of teaching. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 29

    Christ likens the kingdom of heaven to a man who, when about to take a long journey, called to him his servants, and delivered to them his goods, giving to one five talents, to another two, and to another one, bidding them trade upon them. After a long time he returned and reckoned with them. The servant who had received five talents and the servant who had received two brought to their lord the talents entrusted to them, with the increase they had gained by trading. And in terms of the highest approval their lord commended their diligence and skill, saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” [Matthew 25:21.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 30

    “Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine.” [Verses 24, 25.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 31

    This is the reflection all unfaithful servants cast upon God, saying that He desires to take from them that which He has not given them. But it is impossible to give to God anything that is not already His. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.]16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 32

    God’s claims have been plainly set forth. No one need to be in doubt as to where he should use his time, his influence, his money. To each one of us comes the question, “Have you a proper appreciation of your God-given talents? Are you in their use co-operating with God?” You may have only one talent, but if this one talent is faithfully used in God’s service, it will be increased. God will accept your purposes and will co-operate with you in your efforts.16LtMs, Ms 86, 1901, par. 33

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