Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel, the door through which the truth for this time is to find entrance to many homes. God's people are to be genuine medical missionaries; for they are to learn to minister to the needs of both soul and body. The purest unselfishness is to be shown by our workers as, with the knowledge and experience gained by practical work, they go out to give treatments to the sick. As they go from house to house they will find access to many hearts. Many will be reached who otherwise never would have heard the gospel message.
A demonstration of the principles of health reform will do much toward, removing prejudice against our evangelical work. The Great Physician, the originator of medical missionary work, will bless all who thus seek to impart the truth for this time.
Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. When Christ sent His disciples out on their first missionary journey, He bade them, "As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." Matt. 10:7, 8. And when at the close of His earthly ministry He gave them their commission, He said, "These signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:17, 18. . . .
The Example of Christ
The divine commission needs no reform. Christ's way of presenting truth cannot be improved upon. The Saviour gave the disciples practical lessons, teaching them how to work in such a way as to make souls glad in the truth. He sympathized with the weary, the heavy-laden, the oppressed. He fed the hungry and healed the sick. Constantly He went about doing good. By the good He accomplished, by His loving words and kindly deeds, He interpreted the gospel to men.
Brief as was the period of His public ministry, He accomplished the work He came to do. How impressive were the truths He taught! How complete His lifework! What spiritual food He daily imparted as He presented the bread of life to thousands of hungry souls! His life was a living ministry of the word. He promised nothing that He did not perform.
The words of life were presented in such simplicity that a child could understand them. Men, women, and children were so impressed with His manner of explaining the Scriptures that they would catch the very intonation of His voice, place the same emphasis on their words, and imitate His gestures. Youth caught His spirit of ministry, and sought to pattern after His gracious ways by seeking to assist those whom they saw needing help.
Just as we trace the pathway of a stream of water by the line of living green it produces, so Christ could be seen in the deeds of mercy that marked His pathway at every step. Wherever He went, health sprang up, and happiness followed wherever He passed. The blind and deaf rejoiced in His presence. His words to the ignorant opened to them a fountain of life. He dispensed His blessings abundantly and continuously. They were the garnered treasures of eternity, given in Christ, the Lord's rich gift to man.
Christ's work in behalf of man is not finished. It continues today. In like manner His ambassadors are to preach the gospel and to reveal His pitying love for lost and perishing souls. By an unselfish interest in those who need help they are to give a practical demonstration of the truth of the gospel. Much more than mere sermonizing is included in this work. The evangelization of the world is the work God has given to those who go forth in His name.'
Teaching and Healing
Never has the world's need for teaching and healing been greater than it is today. The world is full of those who need to be ministered unto,—the weak, the helpless, the ignorant, the degraded. The continual transgression of man for nearly six thousand years has brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruit. Multitudes are perishing for lack of knowledge.
As God's ministers behold the awful results of long-continued sin, their hearts are touched with the world's woe, and they are endeavoring to labor as the Master Workman and His disciples labored. Connected with the divine Healer, they are going forth in the power of His might to teach and to heal. They realize that the gospel is the only antidote for sin, and that as Christ's witnesses they are to bear testimony to its power. As they point the afflicted ones to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, His transforming grace and miracle-working power are causing many to accept the message of truth that is borne. His healing power, united with the gospel message, is bringing success in emergencies. The Holy Spirit is working upon hearts, and the salvation of God is being revealed.
Ministers, Physicians, and Nurses to Unite Their Labors
But the world's need today cannot be met fully by the ministry of God's servants who have been called to preach the everlasting gospel to every creature. While it is well, so far as possible, for evangelical workers to learn how to minister to the necessities of the body as well as of the soul, thus following the example of Christ, yet they cannot spend all their time and strength in relieving those in need of help. The Lord has ordained that with those who preach the word shall be associated His medical missionary workers,—Christian physicians and nurses, who have received special training in the healing of disease and in soul winning.
Medical missionaries and workers in the gospel ministry are to be bound together by indissoluble ties. Their work is to be done with freshness and power. By their combined efforts the world is to be prepared for the second advent of Christ.
Through their united labors the Sun of Righteousness is to rise, with healing in His wings, to lighten the benighted regions of the earth, where the people have long lived in gross darkness. Many who are now dwelling in the shadow of sin and death, as they see in God's faithful servants a reflection of the Light of the world, will realize that they have a hope of salvation, and they will open their hearts to receive the healing beams, and will in turn become light bearers to others yet in darkness.' (Italics supplied.)
Christ is no longer in this world in person, but He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began; and in this work we are to do our very best. For the furtherance of this work institutions for the care of the sick are to be established, where men and women suffering from disease may be placed under the care of God-fearing physicians and nurses.'
The Lord has ordained that sanitariums be established in many places to stand as memorials for Him. This is one of His chosen ways of proclaiming the third angel's message. By this means the truth will reach many who, but for these agencies, would never be lightened by the brightness of the gospel message. In the presentation of truth, some will be attracted by one phase of the gospel message and some by another. We are instructed by the Lord to work in such a way that all classes will be reached. The message must go to the whole world. Our sanitarium work is to help make up the number of God's people. Through this line of missionary effort infidels will be converted. By the wonderful restorations taking place in our sanitariums many will be led to look to Christ as the healer of soul and body.
Self-sacrificing workers, who have full faith in God, should be chosen to take charge of these institutions. Wise men and women, acting in the capacity of nurses, are to comfort and help the sick and suffering. Our sanitariums are to be as lights shining in a dark place, because physicians, nurses, and helpers reflect the sunlight of Christ's righteousness. . .
Sanitariums are to be so established and conducted that they will be educational in character. They are to show to the world the benevolence of heaven. Though Christ's visible presence is not discerned, yet the workers may claim the promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He has assured His followers that to those who love and fear Him He will give power to continue the work that He began. He went about doing good, teaching the ignorant, and healing the sick. His work did not stop with an exhibition of His power over disease. He made each work of healing an occasion of implanting in the heart the divine principles of His love and benevolence. Thus His followers are to work. . . .
God has qualified His people to enlighten the world. He has entrusted men with faculties that adapt them to extend their efforts and accomplish a work that will belt the world.'
1 Counsels on Health, pp. 497-499.
2 counsels to Parents and Teachers, pp. 467-469.
3 The Review and Herald, May 2, 1912.