(Written February 2, 1905, from "Elmshaven," Sanitarium, California, to "Dear Brethren Ballenger and Palmer.")
We were very much pleased to receive a letter from Brother Ballenger, full of hope and telling of the good results of the work of our sanitarium in Paradise Valley. This is just as we have expected it would be, and we thank the Lord for such a good, encouraging record. The Lord be praised.
I am pleased, Brother Ballenger, that you and your wife are at the sanitarium. This is as it should be. If you possibly can, fit up more bathrooms without delay. As soon as you can, finish the bathrooms as they should be finished. Get this sanitarium in full running order as soon as possible.
Oh, how much we need experienced workers as matrons and helpers in our institutions! I cannot encourage you to employ as matron the one mentioned in your letter.
The Lord will have helpers prepared for the fulfillment of their duties, if the men and women who are thirsting for the knowledge that will qualify them to labor in our medical institutions will follow His directions, not going into such long preparations, but taking right hold, and putting the whole soul into their work in the fear of the Lord and with love for the souls for whom Christ has given His life.
We felt a little disappointed, Brother Ballenger, that you could not accompany Brother Palmer to the meeting at Mountain View. But you were in the place where the Lord wanted you to be. Good is the Lord, and greatly to be
praised. If only souls will be converted from the error of their ways, and seek the Lord, and learn the science of preserving the health of the body and the soul! And where can they learn these much needed lessons as well as at our sanitariums, which the Lord has said should be established in many places. Lectures might be given to the multitudes, but while the words spoken would enlighten many minds, how can people understand fully without a practical knowledge? One patient, successfully treated, will have a testimony to bear of the virtue of the simple methods of treatment--the simple, healthful remedies that nature has provided without the use of any drugs.
When Christ was upon this earth, He did not direct fishermen to leave their nets and boats and go to the Jewish teachers to gain a preparation for the gospel ministry. Walking by the Sea of Galilee, He "saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He said unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him" (Matt. 4:18-22). This prompt obedience, without any question, without one promise of wages, seems remarkable. But the words of Christ were an invitation that implied all that He meant it should. There was an impelling influence in His words. There was no long explanation, but what He said had a drawing power.
It was at the very beginning of His ministry that Christ began to gather in His helpers. This is a lesson to all ministers. They should constantly be looking for and training those who they think could help them in their work.
They should not stand alone , trying to do by themselves all that needs to be done.
Christ would make these humble fishermen, in connection with Himself, the means of talking men out of the service of Satan, and making them believers in Christ, teaching them in regard to the kingdom of God. In this work they would become His ministers, fishers of men. They were to be His prime ministers. But He did not tell them to go to worldly schools, to obtain the advantages of worldly cultivation. He did not tell them to go to the Jewish synagogues, to learn of the rabbis their customs and traditions, in order that they might be prepared for the work He had for them to do as His evangelists. He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Just as soon as Christ began to preach, He began to gather disciples, who were to hear all His words, and learn of Him, the great Teacher, and, afterward, preach the gospel. These disciples, supposed to be ignorant fishermen, were not to become teachers after the manner of the Jewish educators. They were to be Christ's witnesses, bearing to the world his truth, unmingled with the traditions and sophistries of men. By practicing His virtues, by walking and working with Him, they were to be qualified to be His representatives.
Christ's call, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men," and the power of His grace, manifested to them, was indeed their ordination, their appointment to the work of the gospel ministry. The Saviour's work as a teacher, His example, His opening of the Scriptures to the multitude, His works of healing, were preparing the disciples to carry on the work that He began. Through His words and through His sanctifying influence, He gave gifts unto men, preparing the members of this early church to be His messengers. His treasure of knowledge was put into earthen vessels. He did not advise His
disciples to learn of the Jewish teachers. By the simplicity of faith, by clean, pure, humble service, the disciples were being educated in His school, to carry responsibilities of the same kind that He was bearing.
Certainly Christ chose the foolish things of the world--those whom the world pronounced unlearned and ignorant--to confound the wise men of the world. The disciples were unlearned in the traditions of the rabbis, but with Christ as their example and teacher, they were gaining an education of the highest order; for they had before them a divine Example. Christ was presenting to them truths of the highest character.
Those whom God employs to do service for Him, He would have fitted in His way for that service. Those who preach Christ must learn of Christ daily, in order to understand the mystery of saving and serving the souls for whom He had died. They must bring with them nothing like spiritual pride or self-indulgence. In speech, in voice, in every phrase of character, they must reveal the spiritual refinement, the Christlike courtesy, that connection with the Saviour gives. His tender love and compassion must constantly be revealed.
"Follow Me," were the words of the great Teacher, "and I will make you fishers of men." They must do this work with hearts filled with Christ's love for souls. They must pattern after Him in all things, sharing His tender compassion and His sternness against all evil working. Christ is the great Example for all. We are to be workers together with Him. Those who are in His service need to separate from all business entanglements that would tarnish their Christlikeness of character. The fishermen that the Saviour called straightway left their nets. Those who give themselves to the work of the ministry must not entangle themselves in business lines that will bring a
coarseness into their lives, and will be a detriment to their spiritual advancement in the work the Lord has given them to do.
All through my Christian experience I have been presented with the neglect of our churches to show that care and wisdom that Christ would have them show in looking not only on their own things, but also on the things of others. We are to be kind and attentive to those around us, helping in every necessity, relieving the oppressed, and giving them every encouragement. To love God supremely and to love our neighbor as ourselves--these are the two great principles of the law of God. If the Lord has placed means in our hands so that we can relieve those who are in need, there should not be a question in our minds as to the part we should act toward these unfortunate ones.
But I am stretching out my letter lengthily. I shall now close by saying that I am of your mind regarding the well. Before any more money is expended on it, prove that which you have already obtained. Let the blessing of success lead all who are interested in this work to be thankful and praise the Lord. We desire that everything shall be done economically, but not in a niggardly way.
We feel grateful to God that Brother Palmer has been able to connect with the work for a time. He can now thank God that the efforts put forth have been a success. Those who have been interested in this institution, and have given of their means to set it in operation, should be encouraged.-- Letter 53, 1905. Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D.C. Dec. 17 1987. Entire Letter.