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

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    MR No. 1280—The Work in Nashville, Including the Health Food Business; Spiritual Interests To Be Paramount

    I have a question to ask of those who are engaged in the health food work in Nashville. You have put your energies into this work, and have planned to get means for it. Was it not your duty, before doing this, to use all your powers in an effort to put on a proper basis the work already started in Nashville? You have lost the opportunity of showing by a wise example how other places are to be worked. Money that should have been used to place on a firm foundation the work already begun in Nashville has been invested in an enterprise which should have received more consideration before being started.17MR 276.1

    As our people come to understand how these things have been managed, will they be encouraged to invest means in the work in Nashville? Those who have put money into the health food work there should have reasoned from cause to effect. They should have asked the Lord for power to see clearly what was most needed to be done. With the present showing, it will be three times more difficult to raise means for the work in Nashville than it would otherwise have been.17MR 276.2

    Angels were hovering about Nashville to lend the human workers power to rise higher in the work of self-sacrifice and to become indeed laborers together with God. The Lord desired these workers to use every jot of their influence to make the work in Nashville an example of the work that may be done in other cities of the South. He desired the work done in the South to be an object lesson for the instruction of those who are building up the work in new places. Had the workers realized this, how carefully they would have weighed every plan and method. How earnestly they would have striven to honor and glorify God by Christlike work. Had they given their first attention to that which was of first importance, had they been filled with a heaven-born missionary spirit, their zeal for God's work would have been communicated to other souls.17MR 276.3

    My brethren, in the work in the South all should make religious interests their burden. Let no one become so bound up in large speculations that his time and strength are consumed in carrying the burdens of worldly business. Let not all the means available be absorbed in the health food work. The religious lines of our work are to be kept in the foreground.17MR 277.1

    We need a knowledge of our personal powers, and we need to realize that these powers have been bought with a price, that they belong to God and are to be used in His service. God desires us to go forth weighted with the thought of the many places needing to be worked. This is the burden that Christ desires us to carry. The workers in the South must reach the highest spiritual attainments in order for their work in this field to be a success. Private prayer, family prayer, prayer in public gatherings for the worship of God—all are essential. And we are to live our prayers. We are to cooperate with Christ in His work.17MR 277.2

    Every extravagance should be restrained. You cannot afford to spend God's money needlessly, for His cause is suffering for means. Christ left His high command in the heavenly courts, and came to our world in the guise of humanity, to live a life of self-denial. His followers are not to live in accordance with the world's selfish ideas or practices. Look at the life lived by the Majesty of heaven while on this earth. How untiringly and self-sacrificingly He labored for the salvation of the bodies and souls of men and women. He knew the best way in which to influence aright the minds of those with whom He was brought in contact.17MR 277.3

    Into all your business transactions bring Christ's grace. As you press to the throne of God, you receive power that enables you to see distinctly the needs of the world; and, led by Him, your good works testify to your Christlikeness.17MR 278.1

    Let those who are laboring as God's workmen in the South make decided changes. Appeals have been made for the work in Nashville, and money has come in for this work. Have you used this money wisely? There was aggressive work to be done in many places. Money was greatly needed in New York. There are those who have stinted themselves of food and clothing in order to respond to the call for help. Have you who have entered into the food business done all that you could to make the publishing work a success?17MR 278.2

    There is a time for everything. When the publishing work in Nashville was started, the one purpose of the workers should have been to carry this work forward in straightforward lines. They should have given evidence to their brethren and to the Lord that they understood His work, and that they were trying with all their power to work out His purposes.17MR 278.3

    The buildings erected in Nashville will be needed. But some parts of them were erected before the time, and the promise not to go into debt was not kept. Steps have been taken that have made the opening of the work in Nashville an example that we cannot afford to follow, at any time or in any place. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? God's work is not to bear the mold of the world.17MR 278.4

    Venturesome investments must be strictly avoided. Those that have been made in the past should never have been made. Let the workers in Nashville bind about the edges. Let them guard themselves as with a fence of barbed wire from the inclination to go into debt. Let them say firmly, “Henceforth we will not advance any faster than the Lord shall indicate and the means in hand will allow, even though the good work has to wait for a while. In beginning the work in new places, we will do our work in narrow quarters rather than involve the Lord's work in debt.”17MR 279.1

    But let those who took no part in the building up of the work in Nashville, who did not wrestle with the difficulties in the way of its advancement, be very careful how they find fault with the workers there. Let them ask themselves whether, under similar circumstances, they would have done any better. As they have not gone over the ground step by step, they cannot tell what mistakes they would have made. The mistakes that their brethren may have made may appear very grievous in their eyes, but let them remember that from these mistakes wisdom may be learned.17MR 279.2

    Let all do their best to adjust the difficulties in the work at Nashville, and to place this work on a solid basis. Let them refuse to incur needless debt. Let the workers learn from their mistakes to move carefully, following in the footsteps of the self-denying Redeemer.17MR 279.3

    The work in Nashville is important. If the workers labor earnestly and judiciously, there will be conversions to the truth in the schools of learning that have been established in Nashville for the colored people. Let every worker be sure that he has on the gospel shoes, that his feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.—Manuscript 128, 1902.17MR 279.4

    Ellen G. White Estate

    Washington, D. C.,

    August 6, 1987.

    Entire Manuscript.