Before our brethren assemble in council or board meetings, each one should present himself before God, carefully searching the heart and critically examining the motives. Pray that the Lord may reveal self to you so that you may not unwisely criticise or condemn propositions.
At bountiful tables men often eat much more than can be easily digested. The overburdened stomach cannot do its work properly. The result is a disagreeable feeling of dullness in the brain, and the mind does not act quickly. Disturbance is created by improper combinations of food; fermentation sets in; the blood is contaminated and the brain confused.
The habit of overeating, or of eating too many kinds of food at one meal, frequently causes dyspepsia. Serious injury is thus done to the delicate digestive organs. In vain the stomach protests and appeals to the brain to reason from cause to effect. The excessive amount of food eaten, or the improper combination, does its injurious work. In vain do disagreeable premonitions give warning. Suffering is the consequence. Disease takes the place of health.
Some may ask, What has this to do with board meetings? Very much. The effects of wrong eating are brought into council and board meetings. The brain is affected by the condition of the stomach. A disordered stomach is productive of a disordered, uncertain state of mind. A diseased stomach produces a diseased condition of the brain and often makes one obstinate in maintaining erroneous opinions. The supposed wisdom of such a one is foolishness with God.
I present this as the cause of the situation in many council and board meetings, where questions demanding careful study have been given but little consideration, and decisions of the greatest importance have been hurriedly made. Often when there should have been unanimity of sentiment in the affirmative, decided negatives have entirely changed the atmosphere pervading a meeting. These results have been presented to me again and again.
I present these matters now because I am instructed to say to my brethren in the ministry: By intemperance in eating you disqualify yourselves for seeing clearly the difference between sacred and common fire. And by this intemperance you also reveal your disregard for the warnings that the Lord has given you. His word to you is: "Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow." Isaiah 50:10, 11.
Shall we not draw near to the Lord, that He may save us from all intemperance in eating and drinking, from all unholy, lustful passion, all wickedness? Shall we not humble ourselves before God, putting away everything that corrupts the flesh and the spirit, that in His fear we may perfect holiness of character?
Let everyone who sits in council and committee meetings write in his heart the words: I am working for
time and for eternity; and I am accountable to God for the motives that prompt me to action. Let this be his motto. Let the prayer of the psalmist be his prayer:
"Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing." Psalm 141:3, 4.
In counselling for the advancement of the work, no one man is to be a controlling power, a voice for the whole. Proposed methods and plans are to be carefully considered so that all the brethren may weigh their relative merits and decide which should be followed. In studying the fields to which duty seems to call us it is well to take into account the difficulties that will be encountered in these fields.
So far as possible, committees should let the people understand their plans in order that the judgement of the church may sustain their efforts. Many of the church members are prudent and have other excellent qualities of mind. Their interest should be aroused in the progress of the cause. Many may be led to have a deeper insight into the work of God and to seek for wisdom from above to extend Christ's kingdom by saving souls perishing for the word of life. Men and women of noble minds will yet be added to the number of those of whom it is said: "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, . . . that ye should go and bring forth fruit." John 15:16.