CONCEPT

God's Gift of Good Health

I’m writing this article on Thanksgiving Day here in Maryland, and my heart is full of praise and gratitude to God for His wonderful gifts of life and good health. Yes, I

get sick and I’m fighting a cold right now; and yes, I get tired; and yes, I’m

probably a few pounds heavier than I should be for my height. But despite all

of these, I’m still able to do the things I want to do with my family and at

work, and I’m thankful to God for the ability to think and move around freely.

My body and my health, these are blessings from above.



Yes, I get sick and I’m fighting a cold right now; and yes, I get tired; and yes, I’m probably a few pounds heavier than I should be for my height. But despite all of these, I’m still able to do the things I want to do with my family and at work, and I’m thankful to God for the ability to think and move around freely. My body and my health, these are blessings from above.

Stewardship and Christ's

Rule

As I write, I’m

also thinking of my grandfather, Puni Ierome, a Samoan chief and orator who

lived life to the full until he died in his sleep one Sabbath morning in

1967. He was 106 years of

age. Up until the time of his death, he was still able to read his Bible and

could engage anyone in conversation without losing his focus. His was an

example and a testimony to what can happen when people make it a priority to

take care of their bodies and minds, and follow a few basic principles for

healthful living. This is biblical stewardship—living life under the rule of

Jesus Christ, and honoring God in the way we live and do things in the world

(Rev. 14:6,7).



Health

Is a Spiritual Discipline

Now, I would be the

first to admit that my grandfather was not perfect and he had his own

challenges with health and life during his lifetime. He did get sick at times.

But it is also a fact that he lived longer than many of his contemporaries,

partly owing to his Christian faith and the lifestyle he followed after

becoming an Adventist believer. Health for Puni Ierome was a spiritual

discipline. It was more than not

eating pork or abstaining from alcohol. It was a life that was constantly

submitted to the will of God. I know this to be true because I spent the last

four years of his life with him.



Balance

Is Key

While Adventism

meant a total change in lifestyle for Puni Ierome and his family, it was the

emphasis on balanced living that he valued. He knew that there was a close

relationship between eating right and longevity, and he understood the

importance of rest—including cessation from the mundane activities of the first

six days of the week in order to worship God on the seventh day, the Sabbath. He

was fully aware of the benefits of exercise and physical labor as he worked the

fields early in the morning, rested in the afternoon when the sun was too hot

for comfort, and went fishing in the evening. He didn’t have a motor vehicle, so he walked everywhere.   If his fellow villagers or

extended family were to go on special long distance trips along the coast, they

would travel as a community in longboats. When it came to nutrition in the

village, fresh tropical fruits and vegetables were plentiful in the gardens and

there was an abundance of good drinking water for the family.



Social

health in community

There’s one other

invaluable element in healthful living that I believe contributed to my

grandfather’s longevity, alertness, and peaceful demeanor—right to the

end. That one quality was the part

played by social relationships and human interactions.

Building rapport and good relationships with

people, both within one’s own family and the larger community, as well as in

the church, can have positive effects on one’s wellbeing and overall health.

And while it is impossible to be stress-free in this world, we‘re strongly

counseled as Christians to love one another, and to live in peace with all

people (Heb 12:14; Rom 13:8). Stewardship is about making the right decisions

early in life, and creating an environment where people can live together to

accomplish God’s purposes in the world.

Erika F. Puni

Director,

GC Stewardship Ministries

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