Physical and Mental Fitness

Physical and Mental Fitness

From the Columbia Union ministerial institute:

By VINNIE GOODNER, Bible Instructor, Richmond, Virginia

"Whether therefore 'ye eat, or drink, or what­soever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

I am glad that Paul so broadened this statement as to include "whatsoever" we do. The Christian's higher and holier incentive to live for mental and physical fitness is that he may glorify God. Personal care of the body is a part of the great Advent Message to a careless world. We are told:

When men and women are truly converted, they will conscientiously regard the laws of life that God has established in their being, thus seeking to avoid physical, mental, and moral feebleness. Obedience to these laws must be made a .matter of personal duty." —Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 369.

To preserve health is a moral and religious duty. We cannot give our greatest usefulness when we are not well. "All who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God's service will be constantly receiving a new endowment of phys­ical, mental, and spiritual power."—Gospel Workers, p. 513.

Living in harmony with the laws that make for health therefore embraces our desire to pre­sent our bodies to God in the best physical con­dition possible. We remember this was Paul's burden for us, expressed to the believers in Thessalonica : "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." i Thess. 5:23.

We learn in studying the life of Christ that there were times when He longed for retire­ment and rest. We find Him retirinc,. often to the home of His friend Lazarus. Here He found rest when weary and comfort when thirsting for human fellowship. There are times when we, too, as fellow workers with Christ, become weary, and He lovingly says to us, just as He did to His disciples, "Come ye . . . apart . . . and rest a while."

In the struggle for existence there is a force that engrosses body, mind, and soul. In the midst of this maddening rush God is speaking. He bids us come apart and commune with Him. He says, "Be still, and know that I am God." Ps. 46:10.

"Many, even in their seasons of devotion, fail of re­ceiving the blessing of real communion with God. They are in too great haste. . . . These workers can never attain the highest success until they learn the secret of strength. They must give themselves time to think, to pray, to wait upon God for a renewal of physical, men­tal, and spiritual power. . . . The wearied frame and tired brain will be refreshed, and the burdened heart will be lightened. Not a pause for a moment in His presence, but personal contact with Christ, to sit down in companionship with Him,—this is our need."—Ed­acation, p. 260.

Do we sometimes rush to our appointments without taking time for counsel with the Mas­ter? We remember, when we awaken in the morning, that we have an appointment at-nine­thirty. There is time only for some necessary preparations, a few moments for Bible study, hasty communion with God, and we are off on the greatest and most sacred commission ever assigned to individuals—that of bringing to souls a knowledge of the way of salvation. But just what precautions have we taken in gather­ing together all the implements necessary for use in our work? The familiar words of W. D. Longstaff, expressed in that beautiful hymn, "Take Time to Be Holy," are written to you and to me, fellow workers. This is the key to the door of success in the ministry of soul win­ning. We cannot tell each ether just what time in our daily program should be set aside for this most important duty. That is an individual problem. But we cannot leave it out, and expect to be successful in our work. "God's messen­gers must tarry long with Him" is the admoni­tion we find in Gospel Workers, page 255.

If our Saviour felt the need of spending the entire night in prayer, making supplication with strong crying and tears, how much more do we, poor, weak humanity, need to spend much time before the throne of grace ?

There is much that might be said to us to whom God has commissioned the most impor­tant task of our age, a task to be accomplished in a time of rush and activity such as has never before been known. To us the need of conserva­tion of health becomes more and more urgent if we are to do our best service.

One of the strongest allies of health is eight hours of sound sleep at night, with twenty min­utes of rest and relaxation during the day. The physical functions of the body may be restored in fewer hours, but the higher nerve centers re­quire eight hours of complete rest. We would be far better off physically and mentally if we would include in each day's schedule a short period for some activity other than our regular work, something which would furnish a period of complete relaxation. In volume 7 of the Tes­timonies we find this statement: "Proper pe­riods of sleep and rest and an abundance of physical exercise are essential to health of body and mind. To rob nature of her hours of rest and recuperation ..,will result in irreparable loss."—Page 247. Rest does not necessarily mean sleep or even inactivity. A change often serves to rest cells of the body that are fatigued from work. The adage, A change is as good as a rest, contains much truth.

Recreation should not be overlooked or thought of as a waste of time to the gospel worker. We find these statements in the Spirit of prophecy:

"There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, dis­criminating mind will find, abundant means for enter­tainment and diversion, from sources not only inno­cent, but instructive."—/bid., vol. 4, p. 653-

"Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from the ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refresh­ment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life."—Educa­tion, p. 207.

The present situation and opportunity call for a fresh dedication of our will to Christ, and a determination to finish the task of carrying the third angel's message to all men every­where. Let us be mindful of all requirements necessary for greater power for service.

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By VINNIE GOODNER, Bible Instructor, Richmond, Virginia

November 1947

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