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Is Balanced Health Ministry Possible?

Fred Hardinge


Fred Hardinge

Associate Director of Health Ministries, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists



  • December 7, 2014
    11:15 AM


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I was listening always with a great deal of interest to Dr Ross and I always enjoyed his presentations. But I'm wondering if you would include a little more if you would expand from health professionals and their their higher risks for diseases. Those who work at the General Conference and travel and experience circadian dis synchrony and it's not only it's not only it's a general conference today it's at every level of our church at least where their travel is required. It's in many ways not a very healthful or health can do sing and I have I am grateful for the Lord because I think that when he calls us to do some things he not only places upon us responsibilities and making the best choices we can but when we are in extenuating circumstances perhaps he gives a blessing that maybe even science can't detect. It's and it probably extends to all of you here in your various capacities. We're going to be talking about balance in a few moments I want to talk about one other aspect of this of effective health ministry and I've changed my presentation just a little bit from what I thought I would do but balance is a big challenge in life today for everyone. And we'll look at that a little more. I want to talk about the last just two issues this to south this morning. I think if we're going to be really effective in the mission that God has called us to we need to be focused on selling information not on products now. Now as health care providers those of you who are physicians dentists and others your role is fairly well defined. And like in America you don't sell pharmaceuticals out of your practice. You write scripts and the cost carrier a pharmacist takes care of that in filling that script. When it comes to our church related programs sometimes we get very tempted to sell products and I've seen it happen too many times and that's why I just want to mention it briefly here. The lure of money. I have people probably several of them every month write to us at the General Conference and somehow because I'm involved in nutrition I think I get a disproportionate number of them saying that we need to promote this product and we need to promote that product and we need to put it on our Web page and I have a standard answer for those who I actually speak to and that is I asked. I say I'd like to ask you one question before we go any further. Are you selling this product. And nine times out of ten they are selling it and they're wanting our endorsement. The church's endorsement for a product that they are selling and it really represents a conflict of interest. And God has called us. He's given to us a message as we've heard several times this week and we're really selling information good sound. And solid information that will change people's lives. But it doesn't necessarily represent products in the sense of a pill or a potion tourists or that one might sell. I would just like to remind you on this point of the story of name actually it's not so much. It doesn't have so much to do with name and but we remember the story in first kings the fifth chapter because of the wonderful work that God did in on behalf of name and name and was a leper. You remember how the little maid in her home talked to Mrs Nathan Mr name and talk to Mr Newman. He went to the king as was mentioned the other evening. His country and the country of the maid were at war. And so it was an unusual request to be able to go to that country and seek healing but naman must have been a very important person very valuable in the kingdom and he was granted permission as well as given wells to take with him to pay for this healing. He had tried all the other healers he had tried every source of healing in his own country and he was still left her. And we know that he made a detour and unfortunately an opportunity was missed by the king but God was in this trip and he ended up at the door of the prophet Elijah and Eliza breached all protocol and I'm sure that Eli sure knew that this great and important man was coming even in societies without telephones word gets around. And they did they weren't moving at sixty miles an hour or you know one hundred kilometers an hour. They were riding in chariots and so on. Elijah knew he had time to prepare. But one name when I arrived at his door with his entourage he sent his servant down and in that culture I was a great insult but he sent P. Hayes down and said Go down to the River Jordan and watch seven times and of course naman became angry at that simple suggestion. He said out of the rivers in my country are pure and clear I don't want to go down to that muddy dirty river Jordan and he got back on his chariot and whipped his horses and he headed home. In anger I think he was affronted by the fact that the Prophet did not come. He sent his servant. And then secondly he was really disgusted with the solution that was present. The Bible says that he is wiser. You had simpler servants began to reason with him and they said you know Mr Newman Why don't you go down and try it if it works it works. And as his temper cooled reason came back and he decided to go ahead and Dave in the River Jordan and we know the rest of the story. Now I have a question that I often ask people and that is was that the minerals that brought about and healing the minerals in the mud. No we know that wasn't the ritual seven times to give himself the perfect number. No it was following God's instruction that brought healing to name. So wonderful story. And I guess I'm talking I'm not thinking here about. It was only through following the specific directions of the prophet that he could find healing willing obedience would alone bring the desired results. And the same is today. We've been talking about the need for the grace of Christ to empower our lives for the need for us to present to people their need of Christ to empower their lives to bring about these changes. You folks all know how difficult it is to get people to exercise regularly let alone change aspects of their diet what they eat in fact they get affronted by what you tell them and they want some pill or potion. But the story goes on and it has a sad chapter and that has to do with greed because you see the haze I was conflicted with his interest. He saw the wealth that naman had and he knew that if he if he had brought down a pill or a potion and even once and said for all your wealth this will heal you if your leprosy. He would have gladly given it all. But his boss go down to the river wash seven times and you will be healed. This burned a hole in the hazel eyes here and he has AS and he no doubt knew the name and had been healed by following God's instructions. And he knew it was on his way home. But he thought of all the while that had come all that way and I was going back. And he first lied to the prophet and he caught up with a name and the amazing thing is the name and didn't see through that through the subterfuge or if he did he just gladly gave more than what you hear is I asked and you Hayes and I then went home. He did in his house and then reported to his boss. And we know that you know why she said to get his eye where you've been. And he lived a third time and then you lie she said to him the leprosy that was in a man is going to be upon you. There's always a temptation to sell something to those disadvantaged and personally profit from it and we need to be really careful in our health ministry that we don't do that. Everything we've been talking about here this weekend all that Dr Graham presented are simple things not necessarily easy to incorporate into the life but they're lifestyle issues that bring the greatest advantage. And we must not be like E.S.I. and I'm very concerned that as I have been involved in this work and as I travel to many parts of the world that I see the key hazel eyes still exists today. But we should have no part of it. There are all kinds of unproven health products multi-level marketing schemes nutraceuticals botanicals ad nauseum. Ellen White said in profits. In King's solemn are the lessons taught by this experience of one whom had been given high unholy privileges the course of his eye was such as to place a stumbling block in the pathway of name and upon whose mind had broken a wonderful light and who was favorably disposed toward the service of the Living God. But in spite of the haze of the prophets and for the rest of nine months life he honored the God of heaven. God is a merciful God he can overpower even the sins of his people. But let's not be part of the game his eyes of this life. I love First Corinthians the tenth chapter and verse thirty three. Not seeking my own profit but the profit of many that they may be saved. That's our commission on our calling. And we need to stay away from all of these things now every once in a while somebody says to me but I'm doing a cooking class out in nowhere and there's hardly a grocery store in town. So is it wrong for me to bring some products that were teaching people to use. And my answer to that is no but just communicate the fact that this is something you're doing as a convenience for them and that you're not making any money from it. Yours may sell those products that's fine. Those foodstuffs hopefully because it's something that is helping them. But you just pass it on to them at your expense. That's not a problem that's not conflict of interest. But what you have. I recently had a conversation with an individual who's selling the finest. Nutraceuticals in the world you've all met them right. And they're absolutely essential for life and good health and you can even experience good health if you take anything else it has to be their product. And I said to them OK my wife and I if we rearranged our budget might be able to afford your product. But I want to ask you a question. Does that mean that because we have the wherewithal we can experience good health. But those who live in Africa those who live around the corner and don't have the blessings that we experience are relegated by God to poor health. We need to think about these things when we get involved in these schemes to make money. And unfortunately they're all over the world and we need to remember the Council of Paul not seeking my own profit but the profit of many that they may be saved and I can tell you I've seen people who get involved in health ministry who say it's because I'm going to make money selling network marketing products. You know what they are. You know people realize what the real motivation is. You folks too you see people approach you. Do you realize that they're after something from your wallet not your soul. And it's very almost transparent to so many people out there. And yet because people are can are have conflict of interests they're blinded to those realities. OK I'll get off my soapbox and let's talk a little bit about the importance of being science based in what we do. You know we have a wonderful construct in which to evaluate the things that we teach. Are they consistent with what the Bible teaches. Are they supported by Ellen White inspired writings and are they evidence based. If you look at the church manual you'll see that that is the three things which we need to judge those things which we as seventh evidence communicate is important for health. We might say well why be accurate and believe it or not people asked me that. And I believe this statement alone makes it perfectly clear. If they see that we are intelligent with regard to health they will be more ready to believe that we are sound in Bible doctrines. Many many years ago a very wise man told me this. He said Fred when you give a house lecture never forget that there may be somebody sitting in your audience who knows more than you do about at least a small area. And if you make up something you will disappoint them but more than that. When you have the opportunity if you have the opportunity to talk to them about the Bible they will have question marks as your understanding of biblical truth. And that's very true. I have learned over the years that there are people in your audiences that are experts in areas that you may be touching on but they know far more at least about a narrower area than you do. And it's very very important. It's important for the Gospel not for our reputation for the reputation of God's word and our interpretation as a people of it. We have much counsel and we'll just look at a couple of of statements here the extremists works and words can be spared for they do more injury than the wisest and most intelligent man with the best influence they can exert you can counteract. It is impossible for the best qualified advocates of health reform to fully relieve the minds of the public from the prejudice received so the wrong course of these extremists and to place the great subject of health reform upon a right basis in the community where these men and I figure it is very important that we stay on the side of truth not only spiritually but scientifically as well. And the door's often closed eyes also close in a great measure so that unbelievers cannot be reached by the present truths on the Sabbath and the soon coming of our Savior the most precious truths are cast aside by the people as unworthy of a hearing and she's referring to these same men these men. When these extremists are referred to as representatives of the health reformers and Sabbath keepers in general and a great responsibility rests upon those who have thus proved a stumbling block to unbelievers. So how do we find balance in an unbalanced world. Is it even possible. I don't know how much you have thought about balance. I continue to think about it all the time especially when I have to give a presentation on that but more important than that we look in Scripture. What is balance. Look at Christ life did he live a balanced life. It's a very subjective issue. You can look at my life and say I was totally unbalanced I might look at yours and say now you're the one who's really unbalanced. It's very very subjective. So is it even possible to find balance in a very unbalanced way as adults are often quick to spout spurious health claims and we've seen many many of them over the years. I just had an experience a couple of years ago I saw this man it was a very sincere man when he asked me if I was going to be presenting anything about mastication and I sat with him at a table one day and he took out a little piece a little book a little booklet and he took out his pen and set it down and as I was watching him eat he'd take a bite and he to any to any to any to any two and then he'd go praise the law. All right. And he'd write something in the book and then he'd shoot take another bite and he too and then he'd say Oh shoot. And you'd write something. I finally said to him I mean he was asking me about the import what I was going to speak about mastication I said all he said you need to chew every bite at least sixty to seventy times to have good health and he said if I get eighty I say praise the Lord and if I get less than seventy I'm disgusted. He made eating a stressful experience and yet he was one of our brothers and he believed it with a passion. And he talked to everybody that he could do about that. You know today we have all kinds of weight loss and health books we belly green belly and they'll go on and on until the Lord comes. So what do we support. Can we should should we be supporting these kinds of things are they really balanced. Well I've come to the conclusion that the only person who is balanced is me. And as you look at it the only person this balance is you think about it. And there's always somebody ahead of us and those who are ahead of us those are the fattest and there's always those who are behind us and they are on the bleeding edge of liberalism in every area. Isn't that correct. I think there's more truth to that. And sometimes we're willing to admit. How do we find balance in a basically unbalanced world. Well I'm speaking to the choir here and I'm really going to skip over this we need to evaluate the messenger. We need to make sure that critically that the message being presented is correct and you folks know all about that. But I want to share with you another piece of counsel that I was given many years ago and it was this remember in every audience where you speak of this is I'm sorry I just shared this earlier but it expressed a little differently here. Remember in every audience where you speak there may be someone who knows more about at least a small area than you do. Don't disappoint them by your ignorance. Don't make things up. It's always important to leave a little bit of escape in case you were wrong or missed or misunderstood something. And so the language that you professionals have been trained in is very important but those of you who are pastors are not trained in that language the language of it appears. The evidence would support you see evidence may change over time. It may not but it may. But we will come through ministry. We look to the Bible and we say this is the way to do this and the layman from a health standpoint often simply are willing to make these broad statements of fact when in fact it may not be fact or may not be recognized to be fact later. Some of you subscribe in your own lives to a total vegetarian diet. Some of you use a little bit of milk and eggs. Some of you may not even be vegetarians waris balance. I probably get dozens of letters every month messages in my church were quarrelling about this were quarrelling about that. Where can we find a balance. And I'm not sure that I have the wisdom because I'm as biased as everyone else and I know there are people who are ahead of me and I know there are people behind me in the ones behind me make me feel really good. I don't think the ones that are ahead of me may challenge me or I may say they're so far out that they're the nut among the barriers. See where we are. We as humans tend to think is the place to be. I'm very thankful as I read the Spirit of Prophecy. She challenges us to continue to grow but she also is very tender and merciful to those who don't aren't quite there. And I believe that's what we should be also. And as we. Together let's not allow as well actually in Romans Paul said don't let food divide us. But don't let anything divide us. The reason I'm talking about food not only that I am a nutritionist but I have never in my life seen a church quarrel over the amount of sleep one should be getting. I've never seen separation of church members well these people exercise and these people don't. But somehow for food we allow it to divide us and we should not. I am concerned when it comes to balance with a concept that I see in the world and I sometimes hear in the church and let me explain it this way and you see that there are people who have high stress. They eat a terrible diet and let's say they drink a lot of coffee. But on the other hand they don't drink alcohol. They say their prayers. I get a lot of physical activity. They study the Bible. They don't smoke and they get exposed to adequate amounts of sunlight and maybe they relax and they sleep well every night. Is that a balanced life. You know the world does especially in those philosophies that emanate from the New Age as we often refer to it that health and balances and found in having equal. Amount of good and bad in one's life. And so when I talk to somebody on the plane the other day and he said to me oh hi exercise. I eat well but he really enjoyed his alcohol and that was obvious why we were so I was sitting next to him and he exercises faithfully but he had a hole and he could tell me all the list of the good and the bad of his life as he perceived it. But he thought he was living a balanced life. And he said you know I'm doing all these good things to balance all these bad things that I enjoy my indulgences. But that's not a Biblical concept from a Christian standpoint. I'm sorry. I believe the only way we can find balance is found here in Jesus Christ in looking to Jesus by studying his life and character by earnestly desiring to be like him. Our minds will be balanced in the right direction that we may overcome selfishness and choose a course of righteousness. The only way that we can experience balances life in life is if our lives are centered in Jesus Christ and I have I really have appreciated the messages that I've heard here this weekend that have pointed all of us challenge to all of us. To be on our bended knees to find balance strength and direction in Jesus our Savior what I would like to suggest to you is that balance is only found when Jesus is at the center of our lives. Because Jesus promises to allow us to get rid of the bad things in our lives and to focus on the good things and so we can leave those red blocks by His grace out of our lives and we can include all the good things in balance and moderation but the only way we can do that is through a relationship with Jesus. The only way balance is only found in him. And if I were to illustrate it in a simple way I believe this is the biblical concept of balance. He gets rid of the bad things and he allows us to focus on the good things. I believe we need to gratefully accept the health that God gives to each one of us. We also need to focus our lifestyle choices only on the healthful and the wholesome and we can only do that through the grace of Jesus and then we need to cheerfully yield our desires and appetites to the sovereignty of his life. And we can only do that through Jesus when we do we can rejoice in the benefits that he grants to us as we make wholesome choices through His grace. So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do do it all for the glory of God It is only then that we can truly find balance in our lives and that we can teach others to find balance in their lives through Jesus Christ. May he strengthen and bless each one of you and may we each one be faithful until that time soon when Jesus comes and then we can have the joy of fellowshipping together throughout eternity. With all the unbalanced souls that we've come in contact with in this world but who have. That's my prayer. This media was brought to you by Adil purse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about our universe or if you would like to listen to more sermon legalism W.-W. W. dot audio Verse dot org.


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