The Minister and His Physical Life

Is it really necessary for ministers to take exercise?

HERMAN E. DAVIS, Missionary, Ethiopia

I. Is it really necessary for ministers to take exercise?

"So far as health is concerned, physical exer­cise would be of the greatest value to all our ministers."—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 408.

"They [ministers] should give far more at­tention to the preservation of physical health; for vigor of mind depends largely upon vigor of body."—Gospel Workers, p. 423.

"The mind is not to be constantly taxed to the neglect of the physical powers."—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 321.

"And work performed in the open air is ten­fold more beneficial to health than in-door labor."—Ibid., p. 73.

"Ministers . . . do not become as intelligent as they should in regard to the necessity of physical exercise in the open air."—Counsels on Health, p. 572.

"An abundance of physical exercise . . . [is] essential to health of body and mind."—Testi­monies, vol. 7, p. 247.

II Is physical exercise beneath the dignity of a gospel minister?

"He [a minister] should by his example en­courage industry by engaging in physical labor when he has not a multiplicity of other duties and burdens. . . . If he would spend a part of every day in physical exercise, . . . it would be an advantage to him, and would not detract from ministerial dignity."—Ibid., vol. 2, p. 569.

"Some ministers maintain a certain dignity not in accordance with the life of Christ, and are unwilling to make themselves useful by engaging in physical labor. . . . Physical exercise would prove a blessing to them, rather than an injury."—/bid., p. 643.

III. What is the result of not taking exercise?

"Ministers should not neglect physical exer­cise. . . . The poor health of some of our ministers is because of their neglect of physical exercise in useful labor."—Ibid., vol. 3, p. 211. "Some of our ministers do not have an amount of physical exercise proportionate to the taxa­tion of the mind. As the result they are suffering from debility."—Ibid., p. 309.

"The mental and moral powers of some of our preachers are enfeebled by improper eating and lack of physical exercise."—Ibid., p. 310. "Ministers . . . often suffer from illness as the result of severe mental taxation, unrelieved by physical exercise."—The Ministry of Heal­ing, p. 238.

"In idleness the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in it, so necessary to life and health, do not take place. The skin, too, becomes inactive. . . . This state of the system throws a double burden on the excretory organs, and disease is the result."—Ibid.

"Many of them [ministers] have suffered from severe mental taxation unrelieved by physi­cal exercise. The result is a deterioration of their powers and a tendency to shirk respon­sibilities. What they need is more active labor." —Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 269.

"The earnest -student is constantly taxing the brain, too often while neglecting physical ex­ercise, and as the result the bodily powers are enfeebled, and mental effort is restricted."—Counsels on Health, p. 564.

"The reason why many of our ministers com­plain of sickness is, they fail to take sufficient exercise, and indulge in overeating."—Ibid., p. 595.

"The chief if not the only reason why many become invalids is that the blood does not cir­culate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid, which are necessary to life and health, do not take place. They have not given their bodies exercise nor their lungs food, which is pure, fresh air; therefore it is impossible for the blood to be vitalized, and it pursues its course slug­gishly through the system. The more we exer­cise, the better will be the circulation of the blood. More people die for want of exercise than through overfatigue; very many more rust out than wear out. Those who accustom them­selves to proper exercise in the open air will generally have a good and vigorous circula­tion. We are more dependent upon the air we breathe than upon the food we eat."—Testi­monies, vol. 2, pp. 525, 526.

"Without physical exercise, no one can have a sound constitution and vigorous health."—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 601.

"The health cannot be preserved unless some portion of each day is given to muscular exer­tion in the open air."—Fundamentals of Chris­tian Education, p. 146.

IV. What kind of physical exercise should min­isters engage in?

"A few hours of manual labor each day would tend to renew the bodily vigor, and rest and re­lax the mind."—Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 264, 265.

"Brethren, when you take time to cultivate your garden, thus gaining the exercise you need to keep the system in good working order, you. are just as much doing the work of God as in holding meetings."—Counsels on Health, p. 564.

"If he [a minister] chooses to chop wood several hours a day, or work in his garden, it is as much his privilege to do this as to preach. . . . The light given me is that if our ministers would do more physical labor, they would reap blessings healthwise."—Evangelism, pp. 660, 661.

"If all our workers were so situated that they could spend a few hours each day in out­door labor, and felt free to do this, it would be a blessing to them; they would be able to discharge more successfully the duties of their calling. If they have not time for complete re­laxation, they could be planning and praying while at work with their hands, and could re­turn to their labor refreshed in body and spirit." —Counsels on Health, p. 564.

V.  What would be the effect of a regular pro­gram of physical exercise?

"If physical exercise were combined with mental exertion, the blood would be quickened in its circulation, the action of the heart would be more perfect, impure matter would be thrown off, and new life and vigor would be experienced in every part of the body."—Testi­monies, vol. 3, p. 490.

"Strictly temperate habits, combined with proper exercise, would ensure both mental and physical vigor, and would give power of endurance to all brain workers."—The Ministry of Healing, p. 238.

"Ministers and teachers need to learn in re­gard to these things, and they need to practise as well. The proper use of their physical strength, as well as of the mental powers, will equalize the circulation of the blood, and keep every organ of the living machinery in running order."—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 321.

"Health may be earned by proper habits of life, and may be made to yield interest and compound interest. But this capital, more precious than any bank deposit, may be sacri­ficed by intemperance in eating and drinking or by leaving the organs to rust from inaction. Pet indulgences must be given up; laziness must be overcome."—Counsels on Health, p. 595.

"With strictly temperate habits, and with men­tal and physical labor combined, they [minis­ters] could accomplish a far greater amount of labor, and preserve clearness of mind. If they would pursue such a course, their thoughts and words would flow more freely, their religious exercises would be more energized, and the impressions made upon their hearers would be more marked."—Ibid., p. 123.

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HERMAN E. DAVIS, Missionary, Ethiopia

August 1956

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