Ministers often lead frantic, frenzied lives, and like physicians are faced with intense stresses. They are called to enter into the tragedies, heartaches, and tears of many lives—the very gut-level of existence. These involvements can extract a high price, especially if there has also been neglect of body.
It is neither selfish nor neurotic to be maturely thoughtful about one’s bodily health. In one of his essays Montaigne wrote, “It is not a soul, it is not a body that we are training up; it is a man, and we ought not to divide him into two parts.” Ministers, and all of us, would do well to re-evaluate our physical condition in this light. My recommendations for good health stem from long years of professional surveillance of the human scene, and from professional reading, teaching, and research in the leading cause of death, cardiovascular diseases.
In one of his books Paul Tournier quotes another physician: “Man doesn’t die, he kills himself.” I state further: He kills himself with his stresses and excesses. How many of our American businessmen are on that diabolical status treadmill of security and material success, at great cost to their spiritual, mental, and physical health? Executives tell me that much of today’s business is transacted over the banquet table, often after several drinks. When I find their blood pressure elevated and prescribe a simmered-down way of life, they protest, “But it will hurt business!” Was man made for business or was business made for man? Similarly, many ministers mistakenly think they give their best to their work only by pushing themselves to the limits of their endurance.
My very first prescription for better health is: Exercise. Ponce de León traveled the world in his fruitless search ...1
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