Gospel Workers 1892

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Our Duty to Preserve Health

I am pained at heart as I see so many feeble ministers, so many on beds of sickness, and so many closing the scenes of their earthly history,—men who have carried the burden of responsibility in the work of God, whose whole heart was in their work. The conviction that they must cease their labor in the cause they loved, was far more painful to them than their sufferings from disease, or even death itself. GW92 172.1

Is it not time for us to understand that nature will not long suffer abuse without protesting? Our heavenly Father does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men. He is not the author of sickness and death. He is the source of life; he would have men live, and he desires them to be obedient to the laws of life and health, that they may live. GW92 172.2

Those who accept the present truth and are sanctified through it, have an intense desire to represent the truth in their life and character. They have a deep yearning of soul that others may see the light and rejoice in it. As the true watchman goes forth bearing precious seed, sowing beside all waters, weeping and praying, the burden of labor is very taxing to mind and heart. He cannot keep up the strain continuously, his soul stirred to the very depths, without wearing out prematurely. Strength and efficiency are needed in every discourse. And from time to time, fresh supplies of things new and old need to be brought forth from the store-house of God's word. This will impart life and power to the hearers. God does not want you to become so exhausted that your efforts have no freshness or life. GW92 172.3

Those who are engaged in constant mental labor, whether in study or preaching, need rest and change. 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. Thus the student fails of accomplishing the very work that he might have done, had he labored wisely. GW92 173.1

If they worked intelligently, giving both mind and body a due share of exercise, ministers would not so readily succumb to disease. If all our workers were so situated that they could spend a few hours each day in out-door 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. GW92 173.2

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. GW92 173.3

Brethren, when you take time to cultivate your garden, thus gaining the exercise needed to keep the system in good working order, you are just as much doing the work of God as in holding meetings. God is our Father, he loves us, and he does not require any of his servants to abuse their bodies. GW92 174.1

Another cause both of ill health and of inefficiency in labor, is indigestion. It is impossible for the brain to do its best work when the digestive powers are abused. Many eat hurriedly of various kinds of food, which set up a war in the stomach, and thus confuse the brain. The use of unhealthful food, and overeating of even that which is wholesome, should alike be avoided. Many eat at all hours, regardless of the laws of health. Then gloom covers the mind. How can men be honored with divine enlightenment, when they are so reckless in their habits, so inattentive to the light which God has given in regard to these things? Brethren, is it not time for you to be converted on these points of selfish indulgence? “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [1 Corinthians 9:24-27.] Study this solemnly. GW92 174.2

Do not, however, feel it your duty to live on an insufficient diet. Learn for yourselves what you should eat, what kinds of food best nourish the body, and then follow the dictates of reason and conscience. At meal-time cast off care and taxing thought. Do not be hurried, but eat slowly and with cheerfulness, your heart filled with gratitude to God for all his blessings. And do not engage in brain labor immediately after a meal. Exercise moderately, and give a little time for the stomach to begin its work. GW92 174.3

This is not a matter of trifling importance. We must pay attention to it if healthful vigor and a right tone are to be given to the various branches of the work. The character and efficiency of the work depend largely upon the physical condition of the workers. Many committee meetings, and other meetings for counsel have taken an unhappy tone from the dyspeptic condition of those assembled. And many a sermon has received a dark shadow from the minister's indigestion. GW92 175.1

Health is an inestimable blessing, and one which is more closely related to conscience and religion than many realize. It has a great deal to do with one's capability. Every minister should feel that as he would be a faithful guardian of the flock, he must preserve all his powers in condition for the best possible service. GW92 175.2

We are all deficient in practical knowledge concerning this matter. The wonderful mechanism of the human body does not receive half the care that is often given to a mere lifeless machine. Men give years of study in preparation for this ministry, and yet so weaken their powers during this preparatory work, that they die prematurely. GW92 175.3

Our workers should use their knowledge of the laws of life and health. They should study from cause to effect. Read the best authors on these subjects, and obey religiously that which your reason tells you is truth.—MS. GW92 175.4