Health Obligation?

Does a Seventh-day Adventist minister have a Health Obligation?

THE Adventist minister has in his possession a wonderful gift—a gift that the Jewish people once treasured greatly. What is this gift? The health laws given to Moses by God and the health reform message as given to Ellen G. White. . .

-Pastor, Times Square Center, at the time this article was written

THE Adventist minister has in his possession a wonderful gift—a gift that the Jewish people once treasured greatly. What is this gift? The health laws given to Moses by God and the health reform message as given to Ellen G. White.

We talk in our evangelistic efforts of the fact that we are interested in the whole man—the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. One without the other is not complete.

Since the mind and the soul find expression through the body, both mental and spiritual vigor are in great degree dependent upon the physical strength and activity; whatever promotes physical health, promotes the development of a strong mind and a well-balanced character. Without health no one can distinctly understand or as completely fulfill his obligations to himself, to his fellow beings, or his Creator.—Education, p. 195.

So the Adventist minister must not be only spiritually strong; he must be mentally and physically strong also. He must not only preach health reform; he must practice it. He must not only confine himself to the spiritual but be able to give his people the other food that is needed as well.

A holy work does not exempt them, from the necessity of observing the laws of health. Neither can they escape the penalties of disregarding those laws.—I. T. JONES, The Pastor, Man and His Ministry, p. 79.

The minister is always on display. The church looks to him for guidance, and the pastor who is irritable, overweight, or who indulges in the wrong kind of diet, then stands in the pulpit on Sabbath with his large paunch and a scowl on his face and gives a sermon on health reform is fooling no one but himself. A minister who is not healthy is hurting himself, his family, his church, and most of all God, because he has lost his effectiveness.

A pastor should formulate and follow the common-sense rules of health, concerning such ordinary things as diet, weight control, rest, hygiene, sanitation, recreation, relaxation, vacation and regular medical checkups, and when necessary regular treatment by physicians.—Ibid., p. 80.

Personal Preparation Necessary

As I have mentioned previously, the Adventist minister is unique in all the world for he has the only complete message. But he must live it daily and be eager to give it away to a starving world.

The work of health reform is the Lord's means for lessening suffering in our world and for purifying His church. Teach the people that they can act as God's helping hand, by co-operating with the Master worker in restoring physical and spiritual health. This work bears the signature of heaven, and will open doors for the entrance of other precious truths. There is room for all to labor who will take hold of this work intelligently.—Evangelism, p. 263.

The minister must prepare himself in all of the aforementioned areas. The task is a hard one. Just as an automobile cannot operate if the spark plugs are missing or are in and the wires leading to them are not attached, likewise the human being cannot function if one of the three basic elements of his well-being is not working properly. The body can be properly clothed, housed, and fed, but if the physical, mental, and spiritual elements are not harmoniously maintained it cannot run properly.

The transgression of physical law is the transgression of God's law. Our Creator is Jesus Christ. He is the author of our being. He has created the human structure. He is the author of physical laws, as He is the author of the moral law. And the human being who is careless and reckless of the habits and practices that concern his physical life and health, sins against God. Many who profess to love Jesus Christ do not show proper reverence and respect for Him who gave His life to save them, from eternal death. He is not reverenced, or respected, or recognized. This is shown by the injury done to their own bodies in violation of the laws of their being.—Counsels on Diets and Foods, p. 43.

Let none who profess godliness regard with in difference the health of the body, and flatter them selves that intemperance is no sin, and will not affect their spirituality. A close sympathy exists between the physical and the moral nature.—Ibid.

So as ministers we need to present before our flocks a body—our own—that is in perfect health and in harmony with God's law, that we might be able to render to the needs of those who will come to us looking for answers to their problems, be they physical or spiritual. Consistency is most desirable in the life of a pastor. And when your congregation can see this quality in you, then you will find it reflected in them.

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-Pastor, Times Square Center, at the time this article was written

December 1971

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