Medical Ministry


Count the Cost

I have had presented before me the fact that in your class of medical missionary students are those whose first work should be to understand themselves, to count the cost and know when they begin to build whether they are able to finish. Let not God be dishonored by breaking down the man in the process of educating him; for a broken-down, discouraged man is a burden to himself. To think that in any work that he may plan to do God will sustain him, while he piles upon himself studies and subjects himself to exposures that imperil health and life and violate the laws of nature, is contrary to the light that God has given. Nature will not be imposed upon. She will not forgive the injuries done to the wonderful, delicate machinery. MM 79.3

The pale, weak student is a continual reproach to health reform. Far better would it be for students to go outdoors and work in the soil. Exercise is good. God designs that all parts of the human machinery shall be worked. There should be regular hours for working, regular hours for eating, without studying the exact cost of every article of food and providing the cheapest kind. Procure those articles of food that are the best for making steam to run the living machinery. There is no extravagance in providing those articles of food that the system can best take in and digest and send to every part of the living organization that all may be nourished. MM 79.4

He Must Know Himself

This is the first duty of every student. No one is to measure out what he supposes his fellow student is capable of doing. Let every student reason soundly regarding what he can endure. Each has an individuality that no one can handle as successfully as himself. No one can submerge his identity in another's. He must know himself, and give himself a favorable chance to come forth with an unbroken constitution, with a clear mind, with well-balanced nerves, and a good digestion. With these, he will be fitted to do the work he has qualified himself to do. If he disqualifies himself by imprudence, by eating hurriedly because he has little time to spend, he is unfitting himself for ever doing sound, wholesome work.... MM 80.1

Accountability to God

The first and highest and most acceptable missionary work that the student can do is to obey God in all he undertakes, in every action of the wonderful machinery God devised in the formation of man. He is not to treat himself indifferently; he is to know himself, and work with an intelligent knowledge of what he can do, and do safely, and what he should avoid in eating and in working.... A disordered stomach means a disordered mind. MM 80.2

I would say to each student, You need to take yourself in hand, and let no one whip up your tired nerves and muscles to meet his individual measurement. You are God's workmanship, and under a full sense of your accountability to God you are to treat yourself aright. Give yourself proper time to sleep. They who sleep give nature time to build up and repair the weary waste of the organism.... MM 80.3

Overtaxing the Body

You can do the very best home missionary work by taking care of God's temple.... Do not presume to overtax this wonderful machinery, lest some part give way and bring your work to a standstill. MM 80.4

I am pained as I have presented to me students who are being educated to work for the salvation of the souls and bodies of those perishing around them, but who will themselves perish before they can accomplish that for which they are striving so earnestly. Will all teachers and students learn before they go any further how to treat themselves, that they may intelligently cooperate with God, to bear His message, to do His work, and not be cut off at the very time when they are most needed? MM 81.1

Manual Labor in the Schools

In all our educational institutions physical and mental work should have been combined. In vigorous physical exercise, the animal passions find a healthy outlet and are kept in proper bounds. Healthful exercise in the open air will strengthen the muscles, encourage a proper circulation of blood, help to preserve the body from disease, and will be a great help in spirituality. For many years it has been presented to me that teachers and students should unite in this work. This was done anciently in the schools of the prophets.—Letter 116, 1898. MM 81.2