Evangelism

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Health and Health Principles

[See also The Medical Evangelist, 513-551.]

Evangelists Tempted to Be Careless of Health—Satan is at work to destroy. He would lead the minds of those who love God and are preaching the gospel to be careless of their physical health, for this has a great deal to do with the general standard of virtue. Ministers give too much time to preaching, and exhaust their vital forces.... It is the many long discourses that weary. One half of the gospel food presented would tell to much better advantage.—Letter 91, 1898. Ev 657.2

The Strain of Evangelism—Your Sunday night meetings are a heavy strain on you, for you allow yourself to become wrought up to a high tension. Then, afterward, a corresponding reaction comes, and as a result your association with the church does not bring peace and righteousness.... Ev 658.1

The tremendous efforts you make in preparing for your meetings do not accomplish the work that is most needed. You may be praised and exalted by men, but this is no evidence that your work exerts the right influence. Ev 658.2

Thus saith the Lord, “You must guard against becoming wrought up to a high tension in preparing to speak to the people.”—Letter 51, 1902. Ev 658.3

Temperance in God's Work—The servants of Christ are not to treat their health indifferently. Let no one labor to the point of exhaustion, thereby disqualifying himself for future effort. Do not try to crowd into one day the work of two. At the end, those who work carefully and wisely will be found to have accomplished as much as those who so expend their physical and mental strength that they have no deposit from which to draw in time of need.—Gospel Workers, 244 (1915). Ev 658.4

Labor Intelligently—Every worker should labor intelligently, with an eye single to the glory of God. He should take special care not to abuse any of his God-given faculties. Ev 658.5

The Lord would have you, my brother, reform in your method of labor, that you may have a well-balanced mind, a symmetrical character, and spiritual strength to counsel wisely. Men who have experience in the knowledge of the truth are too few for you to be sacrificed. You are almost constantly overtaxing both your physical and mental powers, because you allow yourself to feel too intensely. You have a vivid imagination, and put much intensity into your preaching, which keeps the mind on a constant strain, with the voice raised to a high pitch, and not only are you wearied, but the people are annoyed and their interest lessened. The reaction is sure to come; for you do not know how to let yourself down gradually from such a strain, and the poor mortal body feels the wear. A corresponding depression follows the high pressure. Ev 658.6

You should not allow yourself to make your labors unnecessarily severe. You tax yourself in writing as well as in speaking. God does not require this. Observe strictly the laws of health, and you will be fresh to do good work for the Master; you will have fresh manna to feed the sheep in Christ's pasture.—Letter 39, 1887. Ev 659.1

Allow for Needed Periods of Rest—Some of our ministers feel that they must every day perform some labor that they can report to the conference. And as the result of trying to do this, their efforts are too often weak and inefficient. They should have periods of rest, of entire freedom from taxing labor. But these cannot take the place of daily physical exercise.—Gospel Workers, 240 (1915). Ev 659.2

Preparing for Future Duties—When a laborer has been under a heavy pressure of care and anxiety, and is overworked in both body and mind, he should turn aside and rest a while, not for selfish gratification, but that he may be better prepared for future duties. We have a vigilant foe, who is ever on our track, ready to take advantage of every weakness that would help to make his temptations effective. When the mind is overstrained and the body enfeebled, he presses upon the soul his fiercest temptations. Let the laborer carefully husband his strength, and when wearied with toil, let him turn aside and commune with Jesus.—Gospel Workers, 245 (1915). Ev 659.3

Avoid Strain of Overwork—I hear of workers whose health is breaking down under the strain of the burdens they are bearing. This ought not to be. God desires us to remember that we are mortal. We are not to embrace too much in our work. We are not to keep ourselves under such a strain that our physical and mental powers shall be exhausted. More workers are needed, that some of the burdens may be removed from those now so heavily loaded down.—The Review and Herald, April 28, 1904. Ev 660.1

Time for Relaxation, Exercise, and Family Responsibilities—If a minister, during his leisure time, engages in labor in his orchard or garden, shall he deduct that time from his salary? Certainly not, any more than he should put in his time when he is called to work over hours in ministerial labor. Some ministers spend many hours in apparent ease, and it is right that they should rest when they can; for the system could not endure the heavy strain were there no time for letting up. There are hours in the day that call for severe taxation, for which the minister receives no extra salary, and if he 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. A minister cannot always be preaching and visiting, for this is exhaustive work. Ev 660.2

The light given me is that if our ministers would do more physical labor, they would reap blessings healthwise. After his day's work of preaching and visiting and study, the minister should have time in which to attend to his own necessities. If he has only a limited salary, he may contrive to add to his little fund. The narrow-minded may see in this something to criticize, but the Lord commends such a course. Ev 660.3

I have been shown that at times those in the ministry are compelled to labor day and night and live on very meager fare. When a crisis comes, every nerve and sinew is taxed by the heavy strain. If these men could go aside and rest a while, engaging in physical labor, it would be a great relief. Thus men might have been saved who have gone down to the grave. It is a positive necessity to physical health and mental clearness to do some manual work during the day. Thus the blood is called from the brain to other portions of the body.—Letter 168, 1899. Ev 661.1

Continual Improvement—Our ministers who have reached the age of forty or fifty years should not feel that their labor is less efficient than formerly. Men of years and experience are just the ones to put forth strong and well-directed efforts. They are specially needed at this time; the churches cannot afford to part with them. Such ones should not talk of physical and mental feebleness, nor feel that their day of usefulness is over. Ev 661.2

Many of them 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. This is not alone confined to those whose heads are white with the frost of time, but men young in years have fallen into the same state, and have become mentally feeble. They have a list of set discourses; but if they get beyond the boundaries of these, they lose their soundings. Ev 661.3

The old-fashioned pastor, who traveled on horseback, and spent much time in visiting his flock, enjoyed much better health, notwithstanding his hardships and exposures, than our ministers of today, who avoid all physical exertion as far as possible, and confine themselves to their books. Ev 662.1

Ministers of age and experience should feel it their duty, as God's hired servants, to go forward, progressing every day, continually becoming more efficient in their work, and constantly gathering fresh matter to set before the people. Each effort to expound the gospel should be an improvement upon that which preceded it. Each year they should develop a deeper piety, a tenderer spirit, a greater spirituality, and a more thorough knowledge of Bible truth. The greater their age and experience, the nearer should they be able to approach the hearts of the people, having a more perfect knowledge of them.—Testimonies For The Church 4:269, 270 (1876). Ev 662.2

Financial Worries—When ministers and teachers, pressed under the burden of financial responsibilities, enter the pulpit or the schoolroom with wearied brain and overtaxed nerves, what else can be expected than that common fire will be used instead of the sacred fire of God's kindling? The strained, tattered efforts disappoint the listeners and hurt the speaker. He has had no time to seek the Lord, no time to ask in faith for the unction of the Holy Spirit.—Testimonies For The Church 7:250, 251 (1902). Ev 662.3

Avoiding Long Committees at Night—A minister cannot keep in the best spiritual frame of mind while he is called upon to settle little difficulties in the various churches. This is not his appointed work. God desires to use every faculty of His chosen messengers. Their mind should not be wearied by long committee meetings at night; for God wants all their brain power to be used in proclaiming the gospel as it is in Christ Jesus. Ev 662.4

Overburdened, a minister is often so hurried that he scarcely finds time to examine himself whether he be in the faith. He finds very little time to meditate and pray. Christ in His ministry united prayer with work. Night after night He spent wholly in prayer. Ministers must seek God for His Holy Spirit, in order that they may present the truth aright.—Manuscript 127, 1902. Ev 663.1

A Firm Stand-an Appeal to a Popular Evangelist—It has been clearly presented to me that God's people are to take a firm stand against meat eating. Would God for thirty years give His people the message that if they desire to have pure blood and clear minds, they must give up the use of flesh meat, if He did not want them to heed this message? By the use of flesh meat the animal nature is strengthened and the spiritual nature weakened. Such men as you, who are engaged in the most solemn and important work ever entrusted to human beings, need to give special heed to what they eat. Ev 663.2

Remember that when you eat flesh meat, you are but eating grains and vegetables secondhand; for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that makes it grow and prepares it for market. The life that was in the grains and vegetables passes into the animal, and becomes part of its life, and then human beings eat the animal. Why are they so willing to eat their food secondhand? Ev 663.3

In the beginning, fruit was pronounced by God as “good for food.” The permission to eat flesh meat was a consequence of the fall. Not till after the Flood was man given permission to eat the flesh of animals. Why, then, need we eat flesh meat? Few who eat this know how full it is of disease. Flesh meat never was the best food, and now it is cursed by disease. Ev 663.4

The thought of killing animals to be eaten is in itself revolting. If man's natural sense had not been perverted by the indulgence of appetite, human beings would not think of eating the flesh of animals. Ev 664.1

We have been given the work of advancing health reform. The Lord desires His people to be in harmony with one another. As you must know, we shall not leave the position in which, for the last thirty-five years, the Lord has been bidding us stand. Beware how you place yourself in opposition to the work of health reform. It will go forward, for it is the Lord's means of lessening the suffering in our world and of purifying His people. Ev 664.2

Be careful what attitude you assume, lest you be found causing division. My brother, even while you fail to bring into your life and into your family the blessing that comes from following the principles of health reform, do not harm others by opposing the light God has given on this subject. Ev 664.3

While we do not make the use of flesh meat a test, while we do not want to force anyone to give up its use, yet it is our duty to request that no minister of the conference shall make light of or oppose the message of reform on this point. If, in the face of the light God has given concerning the effect of meat eating on the system, you will still continue to eat meat, you must bear the consequences. But do not take a position before the people that will permit them to think that it is not necessary to call for a reform in regard to meat eating, because the Lord is calling for reform. The Lord has given us the work of proclaiming the message of health reform, and if you cannot step forward in the ranks of those who are giving this message, you are not to make this prominent. In counterworking the efforts of your fellow laborers who are teaching health reform, you are out of order, working on the wrong side.—Letter 48, 1902. Ev 664.4