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
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
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.
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.
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.