The Ministry Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

God has not promised immunity to those who self-inflict physical and mental abuse for the sake of the kingdom.

I am not a physician. But physicians know me very well. More important, I have come to appreciate them as never before. Today I realize what I did to myself throughout my Christian life as a pastor, missionary, Christian businessman, and writer. Over a year ago, open heart surgery (a quadruple by-pass during which I "died" twice) proved the point once and for all: God is not the author of self-inflicted physical and mental abuse for the sake of the kingdom.

When Nietzsche said, "A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Ghost," he expressed one reason ministers and writers are the highest risks to insurance companies. Both professions involve too many deadlines and too much sitting (counseling, researching, writing sermons, or what have you), which create continual heat in the arterial system. My own complicated open heart surgery in March of 1978 at the age of 50 left little doubt about what I had done to myself. I had pastored for six years, been a missionary for three, taught ...

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