All heaven takes an interest, not only in the lands that are nigh and that need our help, but in the lands that are afar off. The heavenly beings are watching and waiting for human agencies to be deeply moved by the needs of their fellow workmen who are in perplexity and trial, in sorrow and distress.
When one of the Lord’s institutions falls into decay, the more prosperous institutions should work to the utmost of their ability in assisting the crippled institution, that the name of God be not dishonored. Whenever the managers of God’s institutions close their hearts to the necessities of sister institutions, and neglect to make every effort possible for their relief, selfishly saying, “Let them suffer,” God marks their cruelty, and the time will come when they will have to pass through a similar experience of humiliation. But, my brethren, you do not mean to do this. I know that you do not.
Every facility we have in Europe for the advancement of the work is needed; every institution should stand in a healthy, flourishing condition before an ungodly world. Let not the angels of God who are ministering to those that bear the responsibilities see God’s workers disheartened. Already the difficulties have increased by our delay, so that the work of restoration will now require greater labor and expense. In the name of the Lord we ask His people who have means to prove themselves faithful stewards. Repair the machinery so essential to carry forward the work of God, that His people shall not become discouraged and His work be left to languish.
“And the word of the Lord came unto Zechariah, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and show mercy and compassions every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.” Zechariah 7:8-10. This is the word of the Lord to us also.
I cannot think that the closing part of this chapter will be your experience: “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: but I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.” Verses 11-14.
Brethren, in your dealings with the Lord’s household, “follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify [build up] another.” Romans 14:19. Speak no words of censure. Lay no blame on this one or that one. There is need now of the help that all can bring. Seek to heal the breach that has been made. Do it cheerfully. Do it nobly. Come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Redeem at once the institution that is in so great peril.
Let all who realize the nearness of the Lord’s coming act their faith. When we see one of God’s instrumentalities languishing, let those who have heart and soul in the work manifest their interest.
Let those in responsible positions set a right example. Every noble Christian instinct should lead them to plan and work with far greater earnestness for the relief of the Lord’s institution than they would for the saving of their own property. Let all try to do something. Look over your affairs, and see what you can do to co-operate with God in this work.
Since there is decided sympathy between heaven and earth, and since God commissions angels to minister unto all who are in need of help, we know that if we do our part, these heavenly representatives of omnipotent power will give help in this time of need. If we will become one in mind and heart with the heavenly intelligences, we can be worked by them. Men to whom God has entrusted capabilities and talents of means will be impressed by Him to take on the burden of responsibility, and help our Scandinavian brethren.
The cause of God in Europe is not to become a stone of stumbling or a rock of offense to unbelievers. The institutions there are not to be closed or given into the hands of worldlings. Let the Lord’s servants in Europe make every effort in their power to recover what has been lost, and the Lord will work with them. And I call upon our people in America to co-operate with their brethren in Europe. If all will act their part in His great plan, God’s purpose will be accomplished. The difficulty will soon be in the past, no more to harass the cause of God.
Let no hand become slack or palsied. You have the assurance that angels whose home is in the pavilion of the Eternal, and who see the glory of God, are your helpers. Will you co-operate with them in building up every institution that is doing God’s service under the supervision of the angelic ministration?
Who can understand the value of the souls for whose salvation their Prince, their King, the Son of the infinite God, gave His spotless life to a shameful death? If all understood this as they should, what a work would be accomplished! Through the Holy Spirit’s working they would by their influence, by their words and their talent of means, lead many souls to escape the chain of darkness and the hellish plottings of Satan, and be washed from their sins in the blood of the Lamb. Oh, let the work go deeper and still deeper! Angels of heaven rejoice to see sinners repent and turn to the living God.
If we will restrain the expression of unbelief, and by hopeful words and prompt movements strengthen our own faith and the faith of others, our vision will grow clearer. The pure atmosphere of heaven will surround our souls.
Be strong, and talk hope. Press your way through obstacles. You are in spiritual wedlock with Jesus Christ. The word is your assurance. Approach your Saviour with the full confidence of living faith, joining your hands with His. Go where He leads the way. Whatsoever He says to you, do. He will teach you just as willingly as He will teach someone else.
Chapter 58—Our Danish Sanitarium
At Skodsborg, a suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark, our brethren have established a sanitarium. In this they moved forward hopefully, under the conviction that they were doing the very work that God had enjoined upon His people. But our brethren generally have not taken as much interest in the establishment of sanitariums in the European countries as they ought, and our dear brethren having the Skodsborg Sanitarium in hand have moved forward faster than the means in hand warranted, and now they are in difficulty and distress.
I am greatly troubled in regard to the difficulties and dangers surrounding our institutions in Scandinavia. My mind is stirred to appeal to our people, not only in behalf of the Christiania publishing house, but also for the Danish sanitarium. The enemy has been represented to me as waiting eagerly for an opportunity to destroy these institutions, which are instrumentalities of God, used for the redemption of mankind. Shall Satan’s desire be gratified? Shall we allow these institutions to be wrested from our hands and their beneficent work to be stopped? Because our brethren have made mistakes, shall we leave them alone to bear the consequences of their miscalculations? Is this the way in which Christ has dealt with us?
When one burdened with a heavy load is at the foot of a difficult hill, surrounded with discouragements, and in need of strong, cheerful helpers, much time is often wasted in criticism, scolding, and fretting. But this does not move the load. The ones upon whom the pressure rests most heavily do not need or deserve the censure. This might more appropriately fall upon those who should have shared the burden earlier. But even then censure might be inappropriate, and it would certainly be useless. Our first thought should be, How can we help to lift the load? Time is precious. There is too much at stake to run the risk of delay.
To charge the managers of the Skodsborg Sanitarium with worldly ambition and a desire to glorify themselves would do them injustice. In the enlarging of the work they were seeking the glory of God, and a work has been accomplished which is far-reaching for good. But they have erred in making investment beyond their means, and have thus placed themselves in the bondage of debt. By this the future of the institution and the honor of the cause are imperiled. Now, instead of adding to the difficulties of the situation, shall we not courageously grapple with the work of lifting the debt?
I am stirred by the Spirit of God to sound an alarm. Oh, what a sight it would be for the angels to see the institutions established for the illustration and promulgation of the principles of reform and Christian living, passing out of the hands of those who can use them in God’s work, into the hands of the world! Brethren, it is time that we interested ourselves in behalf of these institutions in Europe that are now suffering for help. As Christ deals with us, so must we deal with our brethren who are in difficulty.
The Lord’s treasures are at hand, entrusted to us for just such emergencies. Let our people who love God and His cause come to the help of His imperiled institutions. Our American brethren should rally to the rescue. Our Scandinavian brethren in America should be specially aroused to take decided action. And our brethren in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden should understand that now is the time for them to come up to the help of the Lord. Let all who trust in God and believe His word study diligently to understand their privileges, their responsibilities, and their duty in this matter. If we fail now to do our work as God’s helping hand in relieving the Scandinavian publishing house and sanitarium, we shall lose a great blessing.
Who will now place themselves on the Lord’s side? Who will be as His helping hand, lifting wholeheartedly? Who will encourage the oppressed to trust in the Lord? Who will manifest that faith which will not fail nor falter, but which presses forward to victory? Who will now strive to build up that which Satan is striving to tear down, a work which should be going forward in strong lines? Who will now do for their brethren in Europe that which they would wish to have done for them in similar circumstances? Who will co-operate with the ministering angels?
The Lord calls upon His people to make offerings of self-denial. Let us give up something that we intended to purchase for personal comfort or pleasure. Let us teach our children to deny self and become the Lord’s helping hands in dispensing His blessings.
I plead with my Scandinavian brethren to do what they can. We will unite our efforts with your work of love and helpfulness. There is sufficient means in the hands of the Lord’s stewards to do this work if they will unite in tender sympathy to restore, to heal, and to bring health and prosperity to God’s instrumentalities.
The sums which you give may be small when compared with the necessities of the work, but be not discouraged. Have faith in God. Hold fast to the hand of Infinite Power, and that which seemed hopeless at first will look different. The feeding of the five thousand is an object lesson for us. He who with five loaves and two small fishes fed five thousand men besides women and children, can do great things for His people today.
Read the account of how the prophet Elisha fed one hundred men: “There came a man from Baalshalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. And his servitor said, What, should I set this before an hundred men? He said again, Give the people, that they may eat: for thus saith the Lord, They shall eat, and shall leave thereof. So he set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.” 2 Kings 4:42-44.
What condescension it was on the part of Christ to work this miracle to satisfy hunger! He relieved the hunger of one hundred sons of the prophets, and again and again since then, though not always in so marked and visible a way, He has worked to supply human need. If we had clearer spiritual discernment, so that we could recognize more readily God’s merciful, compassionate dealing with His people, we would gain a rich experience. We need to study more than we do into the wonderful working of God. Men who are not united with us in acknowledging the truth, He has moved to favor His people. The Lord has His men of opportunity, like the man who brought the food for the sons of the prophets.
When the Lord gives us a work to do, let us not stop to inquire into the reasonableness of the command or the probable result of our efforts to obey it. The supply in our hands may seem to fall far short of our needs; but in the hands of the Lord it will be more than sufficient. The servitor “set it before them, and they did eat, and left thereof, according to the word of the Lord.”
We need greater faith. We should have a fuller sense of God’s relationship to those whom He has purchased with the blood of His only-begotten Son. We should exercise faith in the onward progress of the work of the kingdom of God.
Let us waste no time in deploring the scantiness of our visible resources, but let us make the best use of what we have. Though the outward appearance may be unpromising, energy and trust in God will develop resources. Let us send in our offerings with thanksgiving and with prayer that the Lord will bless the gifts and multiply them as He did the food given to the five thousand. If we use the very best facilities we have, the power of God will enable us to reach the multitudes that are starving for the bread of life.
In this work of helping our brethren in Denmark and Norway, let us lift zealously and nobly, leaving the result with God. Let us have faith to believe that He will enlarge our offerings until they are sufficient to place His institutions on vantage ground.
Faith is the spiritual hand that touches infinity.
The simple prayers indited by the Holy Spirit will ascend through the gates ajar, the open door which Christ has declared: I have opened, and no man can shut. These prayers, mingled with the incense of the perfection of Christ, will ascend as fragrance to the Father, and answers will come.
Workers for Christ are never to think, much less to speak, of failure in their work. The Lord Jesus is our efficiency in all things; His Spirit is to be our inspiration; and as we place ourselves in His hands, to be channels of light, our means of doing good will never be exhausted. We may draw upon His fullness and receive of that grace which has no limit.
Chapter 59—The Relief of Our Schools
An Example of Liberality
When the Lord invited Israel to contribute for the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, there was a hearty response. The people “came, everyone whose heart stirred him up, and everyone whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.” They came, both men and women, as many as were willinghearted. Men came with their gifts of gold and silver, choice fabrics, and valuable wood. The rulers brought precious stones, costly spices, and oil for the lights. “And all the women that were wisehearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun.” They brought “free offerings every morning,” until the report was given to Moses: “The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work, which the Lord commanded to make.” Exodus 35:21-25; 36:3, 5. This generous-hearted, willing service was pleasing to God; and when the tabernacle was completed, He signified His acceptance of the offering. “A cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” Exodus 40:34.
Akin to this example of willing service has been the work done in behalf of our schools in the publication and sale of Christ’s Object Lessons. We rejoice that so large a number of our people have given themselves to this work and that their efforts are proving so successful. We rejoice that our conference and tract society officers have given their influence and energy to this grand enterprise and that ministers, Bible workers, colporteurs, and church members have engaged so heartily in the special effort for the speedy relief of our schools. The generous, wholehearted way in which our publishing houses and our brethren and sisters in general have taken hold of this enterprise is well pleasing to the Lord. It is in accordance with His plan.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 459-468