You ask what the Spirit of prophecy counsel means to me as a sanitarium manager. This question comes straight from the shoulder, and I believe it to be not only a fair question, but also one that should provoke some serious concern and possibly a few changes in the program of the managers connected with our Seventh-day Adventist sanitariums.
Shortly after taking over the duties as manager of the St. Helena Sanitarium a number of years ago, I discovered how utterly I would fail in my work if I were left to my own limited wisdom in making decisions where important and sacred matters were concerned. I realized the need of counsel from above, and I feel that I made the right decision and pursued the right course when I decided to study page after page of the "Testimonies," and other Spirit of prophecy volumes, copying into a notebook the counsel that would be a lamp to the feet and a light to the pathway of a sanitarium manager. I can now personally testify that no man, or body of men, can ever give me the help or meet my needs as does this book of notes taken from the Spirit of prophecy. By this I do not mean in any way to discount the importance and value of the counsel of my brethren. I do appreciate and profit by their counsel, but the best of human beings err in judgment at times.
One of the most encouraging statements I found in beginning my study was from "Testimonies," Volume V, page 80: "In the last solemn work few great men will be engaged. . . . The Lord has faithful servants, who in the shaking, testing time will be disclosed to view." How I prayed, that although lacking in worldly greatness, I might be counted among the faithful! Naturally, I could not doubt this bit of counsel, as it made room for such as I in the work.
In meeting the everyday problems of sanitarium life, I found myself frequently referring more and more to the instruction gleaned from the writings of the Spirit of prophecy. I sincerely believe that when God speaks through His messenger, it is time to set aside all doubts and fears and proceed according to His instruction. I have yet to meet with failure or disappointment in so doing. How important it is that a business manager keep close to the Master when in business for Him.
How different he is to be from the ordinary businessman of the world. Note the following: "A businessman is not necessarily a scheming, policy man. He may be a man instructed of God at every step."—"Testimonies," Vol. VII, p. 248. For example, a manager meets with a bit of difficulty in making a business transaction; he casts about for help and counsel, but he may be disappointed in not finding it. In order that no mistake be made, he resorts to counsel which is 100 percent sure and to the point, such as is found in "Ministry of Healing," page 187:
"God's word sanctions no policy that will enrich one class by the oppression and suffering of another. In all our business transactions it teaches us to put ourselves in the place of those with whom we are dealing, to look not only on our own things, but also on the things of others. He who would take advantage of another's misfortunes in order to benefit himself, or who seeks to profit himself through another's weakness or incompetence, is a transgressor both of the principles and of the precepts of the word of God."
Such passages can be read and reread, and the principles carried out with profit. Oh, how thankful we should be that God has anticipated our need and given just the counsel which meets the need at the right time. To us, who have been especially favored in receiving this special and timely instruction, comes a tremendous responsibility to use and abide by it. Many honesthearted ministers and leaders of other denominations recognize that a special blessing is ours as a people. From time to time we have invited these men to be guests of the St. Helena Sanitarium for a few days, and many of them have expressed their wonder that Seventh-day Adventist standards are higher, our offerings per capita greater, and our general deportment better than those of the majority. However, I think some of them believe that there must be some divine help that comes to us through the writings of Mrs. E. G. White.
A Need and Its Supply
Upon entering the room of a distinguished clergyman, a guest of the sanitarium, shortly after he had been shown to his room for the first time, I found him reading the book "Ministry of Healing." I introduced myself and asked, him if all was well. He seemed to be little concerned about the service or meeting the manager, but his reply, as I remember it, was: "I never took much stock in your Mrs. White, but no human being could have written this book."
I want to appeal especially to the younger men who are now charged with the business responsibilities in God's cause, and to those preparing for such duties, that they first recognize their need of help in carrying the burden, and then go to the right place for it—the Bible and the Spirit of prophecy. Surely we are living in a time of confusion, when there is a question mark on every plan of earth except one, and that is God's plan.
Now, above all times, the admonition of Paul is timely:
"I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1 Cor. 1:10.