Helpfulness Heals

Dr. Daniel Kress went to England in 1898 to establish medical work there, after a brief period of service at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, he served in New Zealand for a time, re turning to the United States in 1907. He became the first medical superintendent of the newly established Washington Sanitarium and Hospital. His wife was staff physician. Dr. Kress specialized in health education and wrote many articles on health for Adventist periodicals. In going through our files here at the Ministry office, we came across (his manuscript which apparently has never been published. Although written in 1950, it still carries a message we feel our readers will appreciate. ---Editors

 


 

Dr. Daniel Kress went to England in 1898 to establish medical work there, after a brief period of service at the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Later, he served in New Zealand for a time, re turning to the United States in 1907. He became the first medical superintendent of the newly established Washington Sanitarium and Hospital. His wife was staff physician. Dr. Kress specialized in health education and wrote many articles on health for Adventist periodicals. In going through our files here at the Ministry office, we came across (his manuscript which apparently has never been published. Although written in 1950, it still carries a message we feel our readers will appreciate. ---Editors

 


SOME years ago I had a prominent judge under my care. He was a sick man of this there could be no doubt. And he naturally worried about it. At times he became almost desperate. He had to be watched; a nurse was with him constantly. Instead of improving he became gradually worse. One day he rushed into my office, handed me a razor and surgical pocket case and said, "Doctor, take these; I am afraid of myself."

 

I had exhausted my resources medically. The diet and treatments could not be improved upon, as far as I could see. I said to him, "Judge, sit down." Then turning to him, I said, "Do you pray?"

To my surprise he said, "Yes, I pray."

After a few moments thought I said, "Whom do you pray for?" "For myself," he replied.

"Judge," said I, "why don't you pray for others who are equally needy as you are, and even more needy?"

I then told him of one case I had that had baffled all medical skill. I said to him, "Here is a case that you could do more for than I can. If you would take him. out for a walk each day and cheer him up, he would improve." I related to him the experience of Job and how he fell into the habit of pitying him self and finding fault with his friends because they failed to pity him. The time came when Job confessed his wrong, and the Lord told him to pray for his friends instead of himself, and the record reads, "The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10). Job's health came back to him when he again began to think of others, and to pray for them.

The judge followed my advice. He took this other patient out for walks and cheered him up. It was a surprise to me to see how quickly the judge's annoying symptoms disappeared. Not only was he helped, but the other patient got well.

The judge came to my office and said, "Doctor, have you another hard case?" A number of my patients were helped more by this man's ministry than by mine.

The judge became so interested in his work that six months later he wrote a letter from his home, in which he said his work on the bench was uninteresting and unsatisfactory when compared to the work he did while at the sanitarium and that he was not feeling well. He asked whether he might return and aid me for a period of six months. We invited him to come, and for six months he aided me as he had before he left us. He thoroughly enjoyed it. He had learned the more excellent way of living, and nothing short of this could ever satisfy him.

The judge, I found, was a man of prayer before he came to the sanitarium. He prayed, but his prayers were selfish. He prayed only for himself. It was unpleasant to be sick and to feel nervous. He did not pray that God would make him a blessing to others. When he began to pray for others, and to help them, the Lord turned his captivity, as He did in the case of Job. There is a satisfaction in praying for and helping those who are needy. It soothes irritated nerves and calms the restless brain cells. The sleep of such is usually sweet. The command is, "Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth" (Eph. 4:28). This should be the object of all labor.

There are many who, like the judge, pray, but their prayers are unanswered, and they go away disappointed and disheartened. "Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? where fore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge?" (Isa. 58:3). God's answer is, "Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?" (verse 5).

To go about with bowed head, complaining of God's providences, and thinking merely of one's com fort, praying merely for self, is the surest way of defeating our de sires. "Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss" may be said of all such. "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the op pressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily. . . . Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am" (verses 6-9).

Unselfish praying always brings results. The man who appealed to his neighbor in behalf of a friend who was in need, received what he asked for. He said, "Lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him" (Luke 11:5, 6). He had nothing. But he knew someone who had food, and he appealed to him, and "be cause of his importunity" (verse 8) for one more needy than him self, he received all he asked for. The promise to all such is, "Ask, and it shall be given you. . . . For every one that asketh receiveth" (verses 9, 10).

The widow, in time of severe famine, had merely a handful of meal and a few drops of oil left, but she shared the little she had with a stranger and traveler who was weary and in need, and "the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail" (1 Kings 17:16). "She, and he, and her house, did eat many days" (verse 15). The margin says, "A full year."

All God asks is that we give such as we have. This, all can do. If we have but little strength, let that little be dedicated to Him for service, and more will be given. "Unto everyone which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken from him" (Luke 19:26).


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August 1974

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