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Principles for Christian Leaders

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    Chapter 12 - Personal Life of A Church Leader

    Principles of health

    Seventh-day Adventists are handling momentous truths. More than forty years ago the Lord gave us special light on health reform, but how are we walking in that light? How many have refused to live in harmony with the counsels of God! As a people, we should make advancement proportionate to the light received. It is our duty to understand and respect the principles of health reform. On the subject of temperance we should be in advance of all other people; and yet there are among us well-instructed members of the church, and even ministers of the gospel, who have little respect for the light that God has given upon this subject. They eat as they please and work as they please.PCL 287.1

    Let those who are teachers and leaders in our cause take their stand firmly on Bible ground in regard to health reform, and give a straight testimony to those who believe we are living in the last days of this earth’s history. A line of distinction must be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve themselves.PCL 287.2

    I have been shown that the principles that were given us in the early days of the message are as important and should be regarded just as conscientiously today as they were then. There are some who have never followed the light given on the question of diet. It is now time to take the light from under the bushel and let it shine forth in clear, bright rays.—9T 158 (1909)PCL 287.3

    The Lord does not give light on health reform that it may be disregarded by those who are in positions of influence and authority. The Lord means just what He says, and He is to be honored in what He says.—Letter 71, 1896 (August 12); CD 294PCL 288.1

    It means much to be true to God. This embraces health reform. It means that our diet must be simple, that we must be temperate in all things. . . . Mind and body are to be preserved in the best condition of health.PCL 288.2

    Only those who have been trained in the knowledge and fear of God should be chosen to take responsibilities. Those who have been long in the truth, yet who cannot distinguish between the pure principles of righteousness and the principles of evil, whose understanding in regard to justice, mercy, and the love of God is beclouded, should be relieved of responsibilities.—MS 10, 1900 (January 29)PCL 288.3

    Temperance—I listened to words spoken by One who understands the past, the present, and the future. A most solemn representation was given, delineating the characters that should be possessed by those who are accepted as yokefellows in our institutions. These institutions need men who are temperate in the full acceptance of the term. God forbid that men who have not learned to control themselves, and who neglect their own character building in order to make plans for someone else, should be brought into our institutions at Washington, D.C., and Mountain View.—MS 40, 1904 (April 20)PCL 288.4

    Appetite and its effect on leaders—As a people, we need to reform; and especially do ministers and teachers of the Word need to reform. I am instructed to say to our ministers and to the presidents of our conferences: Your usefulness as laborers for God in the work of recovering perishing souls depends much on your success in overcoming appetite. Overcome the desire to gratify appetite, and if you do this your passions will be easily controlled. Then your mental and moral powers will be stronger.—Letter 158, 1909 (November 18)PCL 288.5

    The minister’s diet and God’s work—Anything in eating or drinking which disqualifies the mental powers for healthful and active exercise is an aggravating sin in the sight of God. Especially is this the case with those who minister in holy things, who should at all times be examples to the people, and be in a condition to properly instruct them.—RH, March 25, 1875PCL 289.1

    God desires His ministers to stand in a high and holy position. Those who open the Word of God to others should ask themselves before they enter the pulpit whether they have been self-denying, whether their food has been simple, such as the stomach can digest without beclouding the brain. . . .PCL 289.2

    Ministers should understand how to keep their bodies in the best condition of health, so that they can recommend the truth to those for whom they labor, and so that when they are called to assemble together, they may know that they are prepared to go; they have no right to go if they are in such a condition of health that they will speak hastily and view matters in a wrong light. They should place themselves where they can judge righteously, where they can voice the words of God. They can thus advance the work more than by all the word-preaching they could do. Practical godliness is of great value.—MS 62, 1900 (November 13)PCL 289.3

    Those ministers who feel at liberty to indulge the appetite are falling far short of the mark. God wants them to be health reformers. He wants them to live up to the light that has been given on this subject. I feel sad when I see those who ought to be zealous for our health principles, not yet converted to the right way of living. I pray that the Lord may impress their minds that they are meeting with great loss. If things were as they should be in the households that make up our churches, we might do double work for the Lord.—MS 37, 1909 (May 30); 9T 163, 164PCL 289.4

    Men who are instructing the people, and are in positions of trust should ever be men of strictly temperate habits, unless they are they will not be men of principle; for indulgence of the appetite perverts the senses. Those who have had advantages in education, trained by wise and God-fearing parents to strictly temperate habits, will generally be found trustworthy. They learn to bear the yoke in their youth.—ST, July 1, 1880PCL 290.1

    Why do some of our ministering brethren manifest so little interest in health reform? It is because instruction on temperance in all things is opposed to their practice of self-indulgence. In some places this has been the great stumbling block in the way of our bringing the people to investigate and practice and teach health reform. No man should be set apart as a teacher of the people while his own teaching or example contradicts the testimony God has given His servants to bear in regard to diet, for this will bring confusion. His disregard of health reform unfits him to stand as the Lord’s messenger.PCL 290.2

    The light that the Lord has given on this subject in His word is plain, and men will be tested and tried in many ways to see if they will heed it. Every church, every family, needs to be instructed in regard to Christian temperance. All should know how to eat and drink in order to preserve health. We are amid the closing scenes of this world’s history, and there should be harmonious action in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. Those who stand aloof from the great work of instructing the people upon this question do not follow where the Great Physician leads the way.—6T 378 (1901)PCL 290.3

    While we do not make the use of flesh meat a test, while we do not want to force any one 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 [Bro. and Sr. E. E. Franke] 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 a 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 counter working the efforts of your fellow laborers, who are teaching health reform, you are out of order, working on the wrong side. —Letter 48, 1902 (March 19); CD 401PCL 291.1

    Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the flesh pots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God’s storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the life-giving current flowing through their veins? Will they disregard the light and warnings that God has given them? The health of the body is to be regarded as essential for growth in grace and the acquirement of an even temper. If the stomach is not properly cared for, the formation of an upright moral character will be hindered. The brain and nerves are in sympathy with the stomach. Erroneous eating and drinking result in erroneous thinking and acting.—MS 37, 1909 (May 30)PCL 291.2

    Health reform and God’s institutions—The greatest danger will come to our institutions through physicians, superintendents, and helpers who believe the truth, but who have never taken their stand fully upon health reform. Some have no conscientious scruples in regard to their eating, drinking, and dressing; they have not an eye single to the glory of God. Self is indulged, and their influence stands directly in the way of reforming those who have brought on their sickness by unhealthful practices. . . .PCL 292.1

    But so long as the use of tea and coffee is favored by some who are connected with the institute, there will be a demand for these articles, on the part of the patients. How can the physician, or anyone else, treat this matter as it is, when he is indulging in their use? The point of his lectures is blunted.PCL 292.2

    . . . If those who occupy positions of trust in the institution are not true to principle, they will be the ones to lower the standard of reform. . . .PCL 292.3

    But what shall be done with those in responsible positions who love these things and who give their influence in favor of their use? I see no way but to dismiss them, lest the reforms, that are hard enough to make when they have the support of all connected with the institute, shall be given up in discouragement. . . .PCL 292.4

    O, for faithful Calebs in this age of the world! We want men and women who have self-control, who have moral worth, who love and fear God, men who cherish personal piety and firm religious principle. God is dishonored by the lack of moral stamina in many who profess to be Christians; they seem to be only half converted. They claim to believe the truth, but they love the luxuries which are so injurious to health better than they love Jesus or the truth. Eating and drinking are carried to such excess that Christ mentioned this condition of things as a sign of the last days, likening it to the condition of the world before the flood. Christ would have His followers cultivate undeviating principle. It is necessary for the Christian in thought, word, and action, to shun everything that leads to sin.—Letter 6a, 1890 (April)PCL 292.5

    Before our brethren assemble in council or board meetings, each one should present himself before God, carefully searching the heart and critically examining the motives. Pray that the Lord may reveal self to you so that you may not unwisely criticize or condemn propositions.PCL 293.1

    At bountiful tables men often eat much more than can be easily digested. The overburdened stomach cannot do its work properly. The result is a disagreeable feeling of dullness in the brain. . . .PCL 293.2

    Some may ask, What has this to do with board meetings? Very much. The effects of wrong eating are brought into council and board meetings. The brain is affected by the condition of the stomach. A disordered stomach is productive of a disordered, uncertain state of mind. A diseased stomach produces a diseased condition of the brain and often makes one obstinate in maintaining erroneous opinions. The supposed wisdom of such a one is foolishness with God.—7T 257 (1902)PCL 293.3

    Rest—Though time is short, and there is a great work to be done, the Lord is not pleased to have us so prolong our seasons of activity that there will not be time for periods of rest, for the study of the Bible, and for communion with God. All this is essential to fortify the soul, to place us in a position where we shall receive wisdom from God to employ our talents in the Master’s service to the highest account.—YI, February 3, 1898PCL 293.4

    Men who are already carrying heavy responsibilities must not be urged to accept heavier responsibilities than they can carry and, at the same time, preserve their spirituality. Plans must not be laid in regard to this that will create perplexity and difficulty. This is a snare that the enemy would be pleased to see laid for the entanglement of our feet.PCL 294.1

    There are those who can successfully carry a certain amount of work, but who become overwearied, fractious, and impatient when there is crowded upon them a larger amount of work than they have physical or mental strength to perform. They lose the love of God out of the heart, and then they lose courage and faith, and the blessing of God is not with them. There are physicians who have lost their spiritual power because they have done double the work that they ought to have done. When men are asked or tempted to take more work than they can do, let them say firmly, I cannot consent to do this. I cannot safely do more than I am doing.—MS 44, 1903 (April 28)PCL 294.2

    Exercise—Take time, wherever you [A. G. Daniells] are, to take physical exercise. You will find this a great benefit to you. Encourage all our ministers to do every day some work that will exercise their muscles.—Letter 96, 1910 (October 5)PCL 294.3

    The failure of our ministers to exercise all the organs of the body proportionately causes some organs to become worn, while others are weak from inaction. If wear is left to come almost exclusively upon one organ or set of muscles, the one most used must become overwearied and greatly weakened. Each faculty of the mind, and each muscle, has its distinctive office, and all are required to be equally exercised in order to become properly developed and to retain healthful vigor. Each organ has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. All the faculties have a bearing upon one another, and all need to be exercised in order to be properly developed.—3T 310 (1873)PCL 294.4

    Those who are engaged in constant mental labor, whether in studying 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.PCL 295.1

    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 outdoor 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.PCL 295.2

    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.PCL 295.3

    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.—GW 240 (1915)PCL 295.4

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