February 24, 2013 – March 2, 2013
“Thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands.” Psalm 128:2.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 75–78; Testimonies, vol. 2, 186–192; Selected Messages, Book 2, 322–324.
“Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood.” My Life Today, 130.
“How should we labor to obtain the reward offered to those who are faithful in the service of their God! Is not an eternity of bliss worth a life-long, persevering effort? Those who truly follow Christ will not be left to misdirect their efforts. They will be led to set their affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Transformed by the grace of God, their life will be hid with Christ in God. The energy of the true Christian will be employed in gaining spiritual power. He will appreciate his entrusted talents, and will feel his responsibility to use them for the glory of God. The servant of God will prize his property, but will not hoard it. He will value it only as it can be of use in advancing the kingdom of God on the earth. He will work as did Christ, to bless humanity. He will put his powers to their highest use, not to glorify self, but that every gift may be strengthened to render to God the best use. He will be ‘not slothful in business,’ but ‘fervent in spirit, serving the Lord’ (Romans 12:11).” The Signs of the Times, January 12, 1891.
1 HAPPINESS DEPENDS ON LABOR
- What is the best activity for the well-being of God’s crowning act of creation? Genesis 2:8, 15.
Note: “God made Adam and Eve in Paradise, and surrounded them with everything that was useful and lovely. … The Creator of man knew that the workmanship of His hands could not be happy without employment. Paradise delighted their souls, but this was not enough; they must have labor to call into exercise the wonderful organs of the body. The Lord had made the organs for use. Had happiness consisted in doing nothing, man, in his state of holy innocence, would have been left unemployed. But He who formed man knew what would be for his best happiness, and He no sooner made him than He gave him his appointed work. In order to be happy, he must labor.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 77.
- Why is a life of activity intended to be a blessing? Psalm 128:2.
Note: “Another precious blessing is proper exercise. Each organ and muscle has its work to do in the living organism. Every wheel in the machinery must be a living, active, working wheel. Nature’s fine and wonderful works need to be kept in active motion in order to accomplish the object for which they were designed. …
“Without such exercise the mind cannot be kept in working order. It becomes inactive, unable to put forth the sharp, quick action that will give scope to its powers.” My Life Today, 130.
- What does the written Word say about work and indolence? II Thessalonians 3:10, 12.
Note: “Parents should provide employment for their children. Nothing will be a more sure source of evil than indolence. Physical labor that brings healthful weariness to the muscles, will give an appetite for simple, wholesome food.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 243.
2 DO NOT OVERWORK
- Even though we are created to be active, what must we remember? Mark 6:31.
Note: “Bring into the day’s work hopefulness, courage, and amiability. Do not overwork. Better far leave undone some of the things planned for the day’s work than to undo oneself and become overtaxed, losing the courage necessary for the performance of the tasks of the next day. Do not today violate the laws of nature, lest you lose your strength for the day to follow.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 376.
“Overwork sometimes causes a loss of self-control. But the Lord never compels hurried, complicated movements. Many gather to themselves burdens that the merciful Heavenly Father did not place on them. Duties He never designed them to perform chase one another wildly. God desires us to realize that we do not glorify His name when we take so many burdens that we are overtaxed, and, becoming heart-weary and brain-weary, chafe and fret and scold. We are to bear only the responsibilities that the Lord gives us, trusting in Him, and thus keeping our hearts pure and sweet and sympathetic.” Messages to Young People, 135.
“There is danger that the women connected with the work will be required to labor too hard without proper periods of rest. Such severe taxation should not be brought upon the workers. Some will not injure themselves, but others, who are conscientious, will certainly overwork. Periods of rest are necessary for all, especially women.” Evangelism, 494.
- While we seek to preserve sound physical and mental health, what is to be our first object in life? Luke 12:30, 31.
Note: “[Matthew 6:28–30 quoted.] In the sermon on the mount these words were spoken to others besides children and youth. They were spoken to the multitude, among whom were men and women full of worries and perplexities, and sore with disappointment and sorrow.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 19.
“Hence that time is spent to good account which is directed to the establishment and preservation of sound physical and mental health. We cannot afford to dwarf or cripple a single function of mind or body by overwork or by abuse of any part of the living machinery. As surely as we do this, we must suffer the consequences.” Child Guidance, 395.
3 HUMANS MADE UPRIGHT
- What other element of physical well-being is taught in Scripture? Acts 14:10; Ecclesiastes 7:29.
Note: “Among the first things to be aimed at should be a correct position, both in sitting and in standing. God made man upright, and He desires him to possess not only the physical but the mental and moral benefit, the grace and dignity and self-possession, the courage and self-reliance, which an erect bearing so greatly tends to promote. Let the teacher give instruction on this point by example and by precept. Show what a correct position is, and insist that it shall be maintained.” Child Guidance, 364.
- How should we walk uprightly in a spiritual sense? Psalms 7:10; 32:11.
Note: “All the heavenly beings are in constant activity, and the Lord Jesus, in His lifework, has given an example for every one. He went about ‘doing good.’ God has established the law of obedient action. …
“Action gives power.” My Life Today, 130.
- In all of our habits of work and rest, what should we do? Colossians 3:23; Acts 10:38.
Note: “We need to be converted from our faulty lives to the faith of the Gospel. Christ’s followers have no need to try to shine. If they will behold constantly the life of Christ they will be changed in mind and heart into the same image. Then they will shine without any superficial attempt. The Lord asks for no display of goodness. In the gift of His Son He has made provision that our inward lives may be imbued with the principles of heaven. It is the appropriation of this provision that will lead to a manifestation of Christ to the world. When the people of God experience the new birth, their honesty, their uprightness, their fidelity, their steadfast principles, will unfailingly reveal it.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents, and Students, 251.
4 REAP THE BENEFITS
- What are the benefits of a life of activity? Genesis 2:15; Ecclesiastes 5:12.
Note: “Not only will the organs of the body be strengthened by exercise, but the mind also will acquire strength and knowledge through the action of these organs.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 77.
“Judicious exercise would induce the blood to the surface, and thus relieve the internal organs. Brisk, yet not violent exercise in the open air, with cheerfulness of spirits, will promote the circulation, giving a healthful glow to the skin, and sending the blood, vitalized by the pure air, to the extremities.” Ibid., vol. 2, 530.
“Digestion will be promoted by physical exercise.” Ibid., 569.
- How should we develop every faculty with which we have been created? I Corinthians 6:20; I Thessalonians 5:23.
Note: “All the varied capabilities that men possess—of mind and soul and body—are given them by God, to be so employed as to reach the highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us, is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellow-men. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise.” Christian Education, 64.
- What should we learn from the competitive sports practiced in the world? I Corinthians 9:24–27.
Note: “Among the youth the passion for football games and other kindred selfish gratifications have been misleading in their influence. Watchfulness and prayer and daily consecration to God have not been maintained.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 127.
5 SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
- What is even more important in our life than physical exercise? I Timothy 4:8, 7.
Note: “Unless the mind is educated to dwell upon religious themes, it will be weak and feeble in this direction. But while dwelling upon worldly enterprises, it will be strong; for in this direction it has been cultivated, and has strengthened with exercise. The reason it is so difficult for men and women to live religious lives is because they do not exercise the mind unto godliness. It is trained to run in an opposite direction. Unless the mind is constantly exercised in obtaining spiritual knowledge and in seeking to understand the mystery of godliness, it is incapable of appreciating eternal things. … When the heart is divided, dwelling principally upon things of the world, and but little upon the things of God, there can be no special increase of spiritual strength.” God’s Amazing Grace, 297.
- What is included in spiritual exercise? Jeremiah 9:24; Acts 24:16.
- What will happen if we do not remain both physically and spiritually active? Proverbs 24:32–34; Matthew 25:26–29.
Note: “[Luke 21:34–36 quoted.]
“This is a warning to those who claim to be Christians. Those who have had light upon the important, testing truths for this time, and yet are not making ready for the coming of the Son of man, are not taking heed. ‘Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares’ (Luke 21:34). There is no period of time when spiritual slothfulness is excusable.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 24.
- What are the benefits of spiritual diligence? Romans 12:11, 12; Hebrews 6:12; Philippians 2:14–16.
1 Am I thankful for the ability and opportunity to labor physically?
2 Am I temperate in my work habits? Is there something that I need to change in order to be more in line with God’s way?
3 How is my posture as I walk, sit, or sleep? Uprightness is known also as being an honest, trustworthy individual. Am I one? What can I do to improve my physical and spiritual uprightness?
4 What benefits have I noticed in the life of those who are physically active?
5 Am I active or slothful in my spiritual exercises? No one wins a race without running.
“There are modes of recreation which are highly beneficial to both mind and body. An enlightened, discriminating mind will find abundant means for entertainment and diversion, from sources not only innocent, but instructive. Recreation in the open air, the contemplation of the works of God in nature, will be of the highest benefit.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 653.
“Healthy young men and young women have no need of cricket, ball playing, or any kind of amusement just for the gratification of self, to pass away the time. There are useful things to be done by every one of God’s created intelligences. Some one needs from you something that will help him. No one in the Lord’s great domain of creation was made to be a drone. Our happiness increases, and our powers develop, as we engage in useful employment.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 31, 1901.
Healthy Upbringing “Young children can grow into almost any shape, and can, by habits of proper exercise and positions of the body, obtain healthy forms. It is destructive to the health and life of young children for them to sit in the school-room, upon hard ill-formed benches, from three to five hours a day, inhaling the impure air caused by many breaths. The weak lungs become affected, the brain, from which the nervous energy of the whole system is derived, becomes enfeebled by being called into active exercise before the strength of the mental organs is sufficiently matured to endure fatigue.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 436.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.