It is not easy to maintain balance in a busy life. But, just because it’s not easy doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. Stressful, busy periods of ministering to people may be inevitable and can be manageable in the short term. But when we don’t take steps to keep stress levels under control, we can become victims of long-lasting negative consequences.
No matter how much we enjoy and feel called to do
what we do, striking a balance between our work and our
physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being is essential.
Maintaining stable relationships with friends and
family, taking time to engage in fulfilling activities, and
taking a break from work (i.e., “coming apart and resting
a while”) is key to maintaining a quality of life that best
serves God, our constituencies, and ourselves.
In a similar way, our approach to health ministry teachings
and information should be balanced and reasonable.
It is far too easy to become lopsided in our thinking or to
hold and cherish an extreme position. Often, we are well intentioned
and “right,” but, as mere mortals, we can and
do fall prey to deceitfully strong opinions on health reform
subjects, especially those related to diet.
As we advocate and practice a balanced lifestyle, so
we must practice our health reform position and teaching.
Pastors, elders, and health ministry leaders are often confronted
by sincere but sometimes misguided brothers and
sisters who hold extreme positions. And we, with righteous
indignation, may counteract the unbalanced information by
moving so far away from it that we end up on the other
extreme. It is high time we face the extreme views squarely,
but let “our speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer everyone”
(Col. 4:6, emphasis added).
Ellen G. White is so often misquoted, misrepresented,
and even misunderstood that people take extreme positions
based on what they think she said. Our best course is to
investigate well what she has said about contentious matters
(such as the use of eggs, milk, butter, cheese, flesh foods,
coffee, fruits and vegetables together, chocolate, and the
like), giving careful consideration and prayerful thought to
everything we can find on the matter in her published writings,
now freely available online (egwwritings.org). Knowing
what was actually written, we can speak and share from a
position of fact rather than conjecture.
We can classify what was given to us by God through
Ellen White into three groups of instruction and counsel. The
first is what she describes as the ideal or best, the most beneficial,
and the most highly desirable. Second is the counsel
which considers and recognizes conditions that do not
permit the ideal; these are exceptional situations in which
there is a reasonable but less-than-ideal solution or the best
that one can do in those circumstances. Third is those summarizing
or concluding statements about the matter under
study. In following this method of classifying God’s counsel,
we do not overstate, diminish, tarnish, or undermine what
may be lifesaving counsel to many, and this will help us
avoid becoming extreme in our own views.
Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, MD, is Associate Director of Health
Ministries for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Used with permission from The Health Connection (GC Health
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