The Berry Vision

 

In a dream given me September 29, 1886, I was walking with a large company who were looking for berries. There were many young men and women in the company who were to help in gathering the fruit. We seemed to be in a city, for there was very little vacant ground; but around the city there were open fields, beautiful groves, and cultivated gardens. A large wagon laden with provisions for our company went before us. ChS 46.2

Soon the wagon halted, and the party scattered in every direction to look for fruit. All around the wagon were both high and low bushes, bearing large, beautiful whortleberries; but the company were all looking too far away to see them. I began to gather the fruit near by, but very carefully, for fear of picking the green berries, which were so mingled with the ripe fruit that I could pick only one or two berries from a cluster.ChS 46.3

Some of the nice large berries had fallen to the ground, and were half consumed by worms and insects. “Oh,” thought I, “if this field had only been entered before,all this precious fruit might have been saved! But it is too late now. I will, however, pick these from the ground, and see if there is any good in them. Even if the whole berry is spoiled, I can at least show the brethren what they might have found if they had not been too late.” ChS 46.4

Just then two or three of the party came sauntering around where I was. They were chatting, and seemed to be much occupied with each other's company. Seeing me, they said, “We have looked everywhere, and can find no fruit.” They looked with astonishment at the quantity I had. I said, “There are more to be gathered from these bushes.” They began picking, but soon stopped, saying, “It is not fair for us to pick here; you found this spot, and the fruit is yours.” But I replied, “That makes no difference. Gather wherever you can find anything. This is God's field, and these are His berries; it is your privilege to pick them.” ChS 47.1

But soon I seemed to be alone again. Every little while I heard talking and laughing at the wagon. I called out to those who were there, “What are you doing?” They answered, “We could not find any berries, and as we were tired and hungry,we thought we would come to the wagon and take a lunch. After we have rested awhile, we will go out again.” ChS 47.2

“But,” I said, “you have brought in nothing as yet. You are eating up all our supplies, without giving us any more.I cannot eat now; there is too much fruit to be picked. You did not find it because you did not look close enough. It does not hang on the outside of the bushes, you must searchfor it. True, you cannot pick it by handfuls; but by looking carefully among the green berries, you will find very choice fruit.” ChS 47.3

My small pail was soon full of berries, and I took them to the wagon. Said I, “This is the nicest fruit that I ever picked, and I gathered it near by, while you have wearied yourselves by searching at a distance without success.” ChS 47.4

Then all came to see my fruit. They said, “These are high-bush berries, firm and good. We did not think we could find anything on the high bushes, so we hunted for low-bush berriesonly, and found but few of these.” ChS 47.5

Then I said, “Will you take care of these berries, and then go with me to look for more fruit on the high bushes?” But they had made no preparation to care for the fruit.There were dishes and sacks in abundance but they had been used to hold food. I became tired of waiting, and finally asked, “Did you not come to gather fruit? Then why are you not prepared to take care of it?” ChS 47.6

One responded, “Sister White, we did not really expect to find any fruit where there were so many houses, and so much going on; but as you seemed so anxious to gather fruit, we decided to come with you. We thought we would bring enough to eat, and would enjoy the recreation, if we did not gather any fruit.” ChS 48.1

I answered, “I cannot understand this kind of work. I shall go to the bushes again at once. The day is already far spent, soon the night will be here,in which we can gather no fruit.” Some went with me, but others remained by the wagon to eat. ChS 48.2

In one place a little company had collected, and were busily talking about something in which they seemed much interested. I drew near, and found that a little child in a woman's arms had attracted their attention. I said, “You have but a little time, and might better work while you can.” ChS 48.3

The attention of many was attracted by a young man and a young woman who were running a race to the wagon. On reaching it, they were so tired that they had to sit down and rest.Others also had thrown themselves down on the grass to rest. ChS 48.4

Thus the day wore on, and very little was accomplished. At last I said: “Brethren, you call this an unsuccessful expedition. If this is the way you work, I do not wonder at your lack of success. Your success or failure depends upon the way you take hold of the work.There are berries here; for I have found them. Some of you have been searching the low bushes in vain; others have found a few berries; but the high bushes have been passed by, simply because you did not expectto find fruit on them. You see that the fruit which I have gathered is large and ripe. In a little while other berries will ripen, and we can go over the bushes again.This is the way in which I was taught to gather fruit. If you had searched near the wagon. You might have found fruit as well as I. ChS 48.5

“The lesson that you have this day given to those who are just learning how to do this kind of work, will be copied by them. The Lord has placed these fruit-bearing bushes right in the midst of these thickly settled places, and He expects you to find them. But you have been altogether too much engaged in eating, and amusing yourselves. You did not come to the field with an earnest determination to find fruit.ChS 48.6

“You must hereafter work with more zeal and earnestness, and with an altogether different object in view,or your labors will never be successful. By working in the right way, you will teach the younger workers that such matters as eating and recreation are of minor importance. It has been hard work to bring the wagon of supplies to the ground, but you have thought more of the supplies than of the fruit you ought to carry homeas the result of your labors. You should be diligent, first to pick the berries nearest you, and then to search for those farther away; after that you can returnand work near by again, and thus you will be successful.”—Gospel Workers, 136-139. ChS 49.1