Claire L. Eva, Assistant Director, General Conference Stewardship Ministries

Summary: This editorial focuses on overcoming fear one might have in sharing a message of hope and healing with a friend or relative. Often such fears are unfounded and the friend in pain receives the news with an open heart.

Aunt Pauline was fighting a terrible battle with breast cancer, and it was difficult to see who would win. Both breasts had been removed by radical surgery, a total hysterectomy performed, and the disease had metastasized. I was worried, to say the least. I prayed for her continually and felt convicted by the Holy Spirit to give her a copy of Ministry of Healing. But I had some reservations.

My aunt knew about Jesus, but was not an active church member. Along with that, she was married to my Jewish uncle, Izzie. I worried that she might "trip" over some comment in the book that would offend her or her husband.

But conviction dimmed my fears, so I stepped up to her at our annual family picnic and handed her the volume. I forget just what I said. I know I was nervous. But I haven’t forgotten her words. I was surprised and moved by them: "Is this for me? Oh, thank you! Thank you so much, Sweetheart!"

Later, she told me how that book and the These Times subscription I sent were her allies during many dark nights.

This experience, along with others through the years, has firmed up my belief: we are stewards of health. First, we are stewards of our own health. God has a plan of optimal health for each of us, if only we will cooperate with Him. And, we are stewards of the message of health that we embrace.

A steward is wise in investing the Master’s wealth. We cannot and dare not force any message, no matter how much we value it. As a good friend and scholar once put it, "Virtue ceases to be virtue when it is forced upon another."

But we can live and share principles of good health. So here’s to a long and healthy life and many healthy new years!