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Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve : Page 160

34. Wages for Women Doing Gospel Work

The Laborer Is Worthy of His (or Her) Hire --I was solicited to visit Melbourne before the tent would have to be taken down, but on account of the severe heat they dared not make the request too urgent. Elder Robinson thought my testimony must be given, as it was greatly needed. He and his wife were left to bear the responsibility of the work, giving Bible readings, conducting the mission, and training several young men and women as workers. The work has rested heavily upon them. Sister Robinson has hired a girl to do her housework and is doing work every way as taxing as that of a minister. The women workers have not received pay, but this will be changed in due time. The cause is now hemmed in for want of means. . . .

There are ministers' wives--Sisters Starr, Haskell, Wilson, and Robinson--who have been devoted, earnest, whole-souled workers, giving Bible readings and praying with families, helping along by personal efforts just as successfully as their husbands. These women give their whole time, and are told that they receive nothing for their labors because their husbands receive wages. I tell them to go forward and all such decisions will be revised. The Word says, "The labourer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7). When any such decision as this is made, I will in the name of the Lord, protest. I will feel it my duty to create a fund from my tithe money to pay these women who are accomplishing just as essential work as the ministers are doing, and this tithe I will reserve for work in the same line as that


of the ministers, hunting for souls, fishing for souls. I know that the faithful women should be paid wages as it is considered proportionate to the pay received by ministers. They carry the burden of souls and should not be treated unjustly. These sisters are giving their time to educating those newly come to the faith and hire their own work done and pay those who work for them. All these things must be adjusted and set in order and justice be done to all. Proof-readers in the office receive their wages; those who are working at housework receive their wages, two dollars-and-a-half and three dollars a week. This I have had to pay and others have to pay. But ministers' wives, who carry a tremendous responsibility, devoting their entire time, have nothing for their labor.

This will give you an idea of how matters are in this conference. There are seventy-five souls organized into a church, who are paying their tithe into the conference, and as a saving plan it has been deemed essential to let these poor souls labor for nothing. But this does not trouble me, for I will not allow it to go thus.--Letter 137, 1898, pp. 1, 9, 10. (To Brethren Irwin, Evans, Smith, and Jones, April 21, 1898.)

Women Who Carry Responsibilities Should Receive Wages --Neither Brother nor Sister Hughes[* ELDER C. B. HUGHES WAS THE PRINCIPAL OF AVONDALE COLLEGE IN 1898.] have the physical ability that Herbert [Lacey] and his wife have, yet they have been hard toilers. All through the vacation Sister Hughes has carried a heavy burden. Sister Hughes is not a strong woman, but she will carry the burdens that lie in her pathway. Her labors during the vacation are of as much value as is her work during the school session, and she should receive according to her work. She has shouldered the care, the


the burden, the inconveniences, and the responsibility of the school, and for this she should receive proportionate wages. . . .

Discouragement has been brought upon Brother and Sister Hughes, and the impressions made upon their minds must be effaced by their associate workers. Those who have held the fort, bearing responsibilities, are to receive just and equal remuneration. They have a love for the cause of God, and a conscientious regard for the work in all its phases, and the work needs their talents and influence. They will not leave upon the work a wrong impress. The door of temptation should not be opened to them by the inattention of their brethren.

The ways of the Lord are just and equal. The workers in the school should receive according to the hours they give to the school in honest, hard labor. Injustice must not be done to any worker. If one man or woman gives to the school full time, he is to receive from the school according to the time which the school receives from him. If one gives mind, toil, and strength in bearing the burdens, he is to receive according to the value he gives to the school. Justice and truth are to be maintained, not only for the present and future standing of the school, but for our own individual benefit in righteousness. The Lord will not be a party to the least injustice.--Ms. 69, 1898, pp. 2-4. ("Teachers and Wages," June, 1898.)

Ministers' Wives Who Do Bible Work Should Be Paid a Salary --A house has been hired for the ministers and their wives and those whom they are educating to give Bible studies from house to house. The people are invited to ask their friends and neighbors to these meetings, and opportunity is given


for them to ask questions on the lessons given. These are occasions of deep interest. I have great confidence in this method of labor. The workers who are hunting and fishing for the souls of men and women labor hard from morning till night. Often their appointments are not over till ten o'clock.

Work has now been begun in Wallsend, a suburb of Newcastle, ten miles from Newcastle, and in Maitland, a town twenty miles from Newcastle. This is a large field, and we shall employ workers who will give their whole time to the work. Elder Haskell and his wife are now laboring in Newcastle. They have tact and skill and teach the truth both in public and from house to house. There will be other ministers there besides Elder Haskell and the Bible readers. No less then twelve workers are needed in this place, for it is a large field.

In the past I have appropriated the means to sustain this kind of work, but my fund is now exhausted, for in this field the calls have been continual. Missionary work has been done in many cities. The ministers' wives join their husbands in this work, and accomplish that which their husbands could not possibly do. In order to do this work, these sisters have to hire someone to do their housekeeping. It takes the very best talent to do this class of missionary work, and the women who do it should receive a suitable amount for their work. Because of the dearth of means, our sisters have received very little pay, yet they have faithfully worked on, without any definite provision being made for them. Less qualified workers, who are receiving instruction by precept and example, are paid one pound a week, out of which they pay their board. But as yet the ministers' wives have been paid nothing.


I wish to create a fund for the payment of these devoted women who are the most useful workers in giving Bible readings. I am also led to say that we must educate more workers to give Bible readings, and I come right to the point: Will you consent to make me your steward, entrusting me with a certain amount to be invested in educating and sustaining workers, and also in helping to erect the humble meetinghouses we have to build? I have invested means in every house of worship save one which has been built by our people in Australia.

I think I have made the case plain. If you desire, I will send you a monthly statement of how your money has been invested.--Letter 83, 1899, pp. 4,5. (Written May 4, 1899.)

Women Missionaries to Be Financially Supported --When I see the great desire shown by men and women to hear the truth, I long earnestly for means to open up the work where the third angel's message has never been heard. We have had some very interesting experiences in Maitland. Our women workers, in giving Bible readings, find families, not always poor, who cannot read. They have taught several persons to read. By the blessing of God these can now read the Word of God for themselves.

Every soul is precious in God's sight, and I am wondering what can be done for the destitute fields where the flock of God is without a shepherd. I have thought that if every Seventh-day Adventist family would, during the year 1900, cut off every needless indulgence, and place the money thus saved in the Lord's treasury, there would be meat in His house. A rich blessing would rest upon those thus practicing self-denial. The Lord would give them


more to give. We need so much just now these fruits of self-denial, to support women missionaries in the field.--Letter 24, 1900, p. 3. (To Sister Wessels, Feb. 15, 1900.)

When Ministers and Their Wives Work Together, Both Should Receive Remuneration --Again and again I have repeated the instruction the Lord has given me concerning the opening of new fields, that our large cities might hear the truths of the third angel's message. Yet with all the urgent calls that have been made our brethren are not yet turning their attention to this work with the determination and earnestness that the importance of the case demands. A great work will be done in our cities when more earnest plans are laid for the furtherance of the cause of present truth in these places.

We should release some of the workers that are now tied up in those places where many interests are centering, that they may go out as missionaries to communicate the truth to others. Not only should the workers in these centers be devoting their energies and means to the sending out of our publications, but they should also feel the importance of spending a portion of their money in supporting the living preacher in the cities where labor wisely expended will be very effective.

The printed page cannot accomplish alone the work that the living minister can do. He can explain the Scriptures to the people, praying with them and appealing to them, and making effective the truths of the Bible. Not merely one or two men are called to do this work, but many men and women who have ability to preach and teach the Word.


As the messengers of God teach the Word, and live themselves by its truths, heavenly angels will set home the words to minds and hearts. One living discourse to a congregation of hearers may do a work that many publications could not accomplish. The minister's words, spoken under the Holy Spirit's guidance, his example in his association with the people, will accomplish a work that our publications of themselves cannot do.

If necessary, let us limit the number of our periodical publications, and let us send forth men and women to labor in faith and consecration for the giving of this last message of mercy to the world. When it is possible let the minister and his wife go forth together. The wife can often labor by the side of her husband, accomplishing a noble work. She can visit the homes of the people and help the women in these families in a way that her husband cannot.

Some will offer themselves for service who are not adapted to this line of work. Direct these to a work that they can do, and encourage them to study the first chapter of 2 Peter. Here is a representation of the experiences that will fit men and women to become efficient workers of God.

Select women who will act an earnest part. The Lord will use intelligent women in the work of teaching. And let none feel that these women, who understand the Word, and who have ability to teach, should not receive remuneration for their labors. They should be paid as verily as are their husbands. There is a great work for women to do in the cause of present truth. Through the exercise of womanly tact and wise use of their knowledge of Bible truth, they can remove difficulties that our brethren cannot meet. We need women workers to labor in connection with their husbands, and we should encourage those who wish to engage in this line of missionary effort.


Elder Haskell and his wife have united their labors in the California Conference. Conditions here demanded the capabilities of both. Let none question the right of Sister Haskell to receive remuneration for her work. Dr. Kress and his wife are likewise capable of uniting in missionary effort. None would question the right of Sister Kress to receive a salary. Laboring thus, Brother and Sister Kress can accomplish more than if they labored separately.

Study the Scriptures for further light on this point. Women were among Christ's devoted followers in the days of His ministry, and Paul makes mention of certain women who were helpers together with him in the gospel (see Phil. 4:2,3).--Letter 142, 1909, pp. 4-6. (To A. G. Daniells, Oct. 27,


White Estate Washington, D. C. Dec. 2, 1982