Our work is not yet done

Are you living life to the full? Could you use some resources for improving your health?

Peter N. Landless, MB, BCh, MFamMed, MFGP (SA), FCP (SA), FACC, FASNC, a cardiologist and ordained minister, is the director of Health Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

The life of the pastor is busy, full, and multifaceted—as striking as a diamond—and some days as hard. Pastors are expected to be powerful preachers, thoughtful theologians, fiery fund-raisers, daring developers, bold builders, consoling comforters, and faithful friends. Waiting patiently for a mention in this incomplete list are the faithful family members who tirelessly and often selflessly support ministry and all it entails. But wait a moment—we have neglected to mention what is often forgotten by all, including the pastor—his or her personal, wholistic health and well-being. Surprised? Pastoral wellness is very often absent from the “to-do” list of the busy cleric.

Let’s talk

We do not readily talk about abusive relationships—in the church, our homes, or our professional settings. Sometimes because ministers are overextended, burned-out, or even depressed, their family members may be the victims of abuse. Be alert and aware of signs of abuse taking place. Let’s work on breaking the silence on this destructive behavior!

Our salvation comes through accepting Jesus, His righteousness, and death on the cross in our place: “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8, NIV). Thankfully, this includes all forms of deeds and actions, including healthful habits and behaviors. Our salvation is not earned through exercise, rest, or even diet. Salvation is a gift! Pastors know this. Pastors help others. But sometimes pastors need help themselves.

Let’s decide

The information you hold in your hand has the potential to change your life! You will find reminders of wholistic health and well-being, the importance of shalom, and what all this can and should mean in our lives. You may be wondering whether some of the difficulties you face in your daily work may be related to burnout. How do you recognize it? How do you avoid it?

The leading cause of disability worldwide today is mental and emotional ill health. Pastors are not immune but often do not recognize the symptoms or the severity, and if they do, they feel uncomfortable talking about it and seeking the much-needed help. Make the decision to work on strengthening your mental resilience.

Let’s act

This is truly a matter of life and death. We are saved to serve, not healthy in order to be saved! “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or what-soever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, KJV). So, don’t give the articles just a cursory glance; carefully peruse the messages, thoughtfully digest the counsels, and intentionally visit some of the resource websites provided. Then prayerfully consider any changes you may think you need to make in order to live life to the full, be in good health, and experience wholeness, even in our inevitable brokenness. 

Our prayer for you is an echo of the apostle John’s prayer for Gaius: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2, NIV).


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Peter N. Landless, MB, BCh, MFamMed, MFGP (SA), FCP (SA), FACC, FASNC, a cardiologist and ordained minister, is the director of Health Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

November 2018

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More Articles In This Issue

Letters to the Editors

Readers weigh in on recent Ministry articles.

Are you fit to lead?

God’s gift of health is a matter of life and death. Preach it to others but be blessed by it yourself.

The wounds of abuse: Can we do more?

If ever we needed informed and accountable pastors before, we surely do need them now.

Fixed up or burned out?

The satisfaction of having done something well, knowing that it has had an impact, being proud of it, or receiving recognition and appreciation from others are rewards that may be far more valuable than money.

The missing health ingredient—love

These three things remain—diet, exercise, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

A living health for a dying world

The hymn writer describes well the problem: “Change and decay in all around I see.” Thank God, there is an answer: “O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”

Staying sane in an insane world

Pastors must cultivate the ability and capacity to withstand and adapt appropriately in times of stress and adversity—for everyone’s sake.

Choose your medicine

For optimal pastoral well-being, exercise is a critical ingredient.

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