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.