Chapter 11—Medical Missionary Work
A Work of First Importance
During His ministry, Jesus devoted more time to healing the sick than to preaching.—The Ministry of Healing, 19.Before the true reformer, the medical missionary work will open many doors.—Testimonies for the Church 7:62.Genuine medical missionary work is the gospel practiced.—Testimonies for the Church 8:168.Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. In the ministry of the word and in the medical missionary work the gospel is to be preached and practiced.—The Ministry of Healing, 144.The Saviour of the world devoted more time and labor to healing the afflicted of their maladies than to preaching. His last injunction to His apostles, His representatives upon the earth, was to lay hands on the sick that they might recover. When the Master shall come, He will commend those who have visited the sick and relieved the necessities of the afflicted.—Testimonies for the Church 4:225.He designs that the medical missionary work shall prepare the way for the presentation of the saving truth for this time,—the proclamation of the third angel's message. If this design is met, the message will not be eclipsed nor its progress hindered.—Testimonies for the Church 6:293.First meet the temporal necessities of the needy, and relieve their physical wants and sufferings, and you will then find an open avenue to the heart, where you may plant the good seeds of virtue and religion.—Testimonies for the Church 4:227.Nothing will give greater spiritual strength and a greater increase of earnestness and depth of feeling, than visiting and ministering to the sick and the desponding, helping them to see the light and to fasten their faith upon Jesus.—Testimonies for the Church 4:75, 76.
The Divine Example
Christ, the great medical missionary, is our example.... He healed the sick and preached the gospel. In His service, healing and teaching were linked closely together. Today they are not to be separated.—Testimonies for the Church 9:170, 171.Christ's servants are to follow His example. As He went from place to place, He comforted the suffering and healed the sick. Then He placed before them the great truths in regard to His kingdom. This is the work of His followers.—Christ's Object Lessons, 233, 234.Christ's example must be followed by those who claim to be His children. Relieve the physical necessities of your fellow men, and their gratitude will break down the barriers, and enable you to reach their hearts. Consider this matter earnestly.—Testimonies for the Church 9:127.Especially should those who are medical missionaries manifest, in spirit, word, and character, that they are following Christ Jesus, the divine Model of medical missionary effort.—Testimonies for the Church 7:127.
Combine with Gospel Ministry
The gospel and the medical missionary work are to advance together. The gospel is to be bound up with the principles of true health reform. Christianity is to be brought into the practical life. Earnest, thorough, reformatory work is to be done.... We are to present the principles of health reform before the people, doing all in our power to lead men and women to see the necessity of these principles, and to practice them.—Testimonies for the Church 6:379.It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated.—The Ministry of Healing, 141.Medical missionary work and the gospel ministry are the channels through which God seeks to pour a constant supply of His goodness. They are to be as the river of life for the irrigation of His church.—The Bible Echo, August 12, 1901.Let our ministers, who have gained an experience in preaching the word, learn how to give simple treatments, and then labor intelligently as medical missionary evangelists.—Testimonies for the Church 9:172.As the canvasser goes from place to place, he will find many who are sick. He should have a practical knowledge of the causes of disease, and should understand how to give simple treatments, that he may relieve the suffering ones. More than this, he should pray in faith and simplicity for the sick, pointing them to the great Physician. As he thus walks and works with God, ministering angels are beside him, giving him access to hearts. What a wide field for missionary effort lies before the faithful, consecrated canvasser; what a blessing he will receive in the diligent performance of his work!—The Southern Watchman, November 20, 1902 (Pacific Union Recorder, November 20, 1902).Every gospel worker should feel that the giving of instruction in the principles of healthful living, is a part of his appointed work. Of this work there is great need, and the world is open for it.—The Ministry of Healing, 147.
Right Arm of the Message
Again and again I have been instructed that the medical missionary work is to bear the same relation to the work of the third angel's message that the arm and hand bear to the body. Under the direction of the divine Head they are to work unitedly in preparing the way for the coming of Christ. The right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work, and God will strengthen it. But it is not to be made the body. At the same time the body is not to say to the arm, “I have no need of thee.” The body has need of the arm in order to do active, aggressive work. Both have their appointed work, and each will suffer great loss if worked independently of the other.—Testimonies for the Church 6:288.Medical missionary work is to be done.... It is to be to the work of God as the hand is to the body.—Testimonies for the Church 8:160.
Christ feels the woes of every sufferer. When evil spirits rend a human frame, Christ feels the curse. When fever is burning up the life current, He feels the agony. And He is just as willing to heal the sick now, as when He was personally on earth. Christ's servants are His representatives, the channels for His working. He desires through them to exercise His healing power.—The Desire of Ages, 823, 824.Through His servants, God designs that the sick, the unfortunate, and those possessed of evil spirits, shall hear His voice. Through His human agencies He desires to be a comforter, such as the world knows not.—The Ministry of Healing, 106.Christ co-operates with those who engage in medical missionary work.—Testimonies for the Church 7:51.The Lord wrought through them. Wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them.—The Acts of the Apostles, 106.Christ is no longer in this world in person, to go through our cities and towns and villages, healing the sick; but He has commissioned us to carry forward the medical missionary work that He began.—Testimonies for the Church 9:168.
The Work of Every Church
There is a message regarding health reform to be borne in every church.—Testimonies for the Church 6:370.The medical missionary work should be a part of the work of every church in our land.—Testimonies for the Church 6:289.We have come to a time when every member of the church should take hold of medical missionary work.—Testimonies for the Church 7:62.The work of health reform is the Lord's means for lessening suffering in our world and for purifying His church. Teach the people that they can act as God's helping hand, by co-operating with the Master Worker in restoring physical and spiritual health. This work bears the signature of Heaven, and will open doors for the entrance of other precious truths. There is room for all to labor who will take hold of this work intelligently.—Testimonies for the Church 9:112, 113.There are stormy times before us, but let us not utter one word of unbelief or discouragement. Let us remember that we bear a message of healing to a world filled with sin-sick souls.—Special Testimonies Series B, No. 8, p. 24.This work, properly conducted, will save many a poor sinner who has been neglected by the churches. Many not of our faith are longing for the very help that Christians are in duty bound to give. If God's people would show a genuine interest in their neighbors, many would be reached by the special truths for this time. Nothing will or ever can give character to the work like helping the people just where they are. Thousands might today be rejoicing in the message, if those who claim to love God and keep His commandments would work as Christ worked. When the medical missionary work thus wins men and women to a saving knowledge of Christ and His truth, money and earnest labor may safely be invested in it; for it is a work that will endure.—Testimonies for the Church 6:280.Let our people show that they have a living interest in medical missionary work. Let them prepare themselves for usefulness by studying the books that have been written for our instruction in these lines. These books deserve much more attention and appreciation than they have received. Much that is for the benefit of all to understand has been written for the special purpose of instruction in the principles of health. Those who study and practice these principles will be greatly blessed, both physically and spiritually. An understanding of the philosophy of health will be a safeguard against many of the evils that are continually increasing,—Testimonies for the Church 7:63.I have been instructed that the medical missionary work will discover, in the very depths of degradation, men who, though they have given themselves up to intemperate, dissolute habits, will respond to the right kind of labor. But they need to be recognized and encouraged. Firm, patient, earnest effort will be required in order to lift them up. They cannot restore themselves. They may hear Christ's call, but their ears are too dull to take in its meaning; their eyes are too blind to see anything good in store for them. They are dead in trespasses and sins. Yet even these are not to be excluded from the gospel feast. They are to receive the invitation, “Come.” Though they may feel unworthy, the Lord says, “Compel them to come in.” Listen to no excuse. By love and kindness lay right hold of them,—Testimonies for the Church 6:279, 280.Those who take up this line of work [circulating publications] are to go prepared to do medical missionary work. The sick and suffering are to be helped. Many for whom this work of mercy is done will hear and accept the words of life.—Testimonies for the Church 9:34.Who is preparing to take hold understandingly of medical missionary work? ... Every worker should be understandingly efficient. Then in a high, broad sense he can present the truth as it is in Jesus.—Testimonies for the Church 7:70.Let the Lord's work go forward. Let the medical missionary and the educational work go forward. I am sure that this is our great lack,—earnest, devoted, intelligent, capable workers.—Testimonies for the Church 9:168, 169.Let them take the living principle of health reform into the communities that to a large degree are ignorant of these principles.—Testimonies for the Church 9:118.I am instructed to say to health reform educators, Go forward. The world needs every jot of the influence you can exert to press back the tide of moral woe. Let those who teach the third angel's message stand true to their colors.—Testimonies for the Church 9:113.
The Medical Extension Plan
The Lord will give to our sanitariums whose work is already established an opportunity to co-operate with Him in assisting newly established plants. Every new institution is to be regarded as a sister helper in the great work of proclaiming the third angel's message. God has given our sanitariums an opportunity to set in operation a work that will be as a stone instinct with life, growing as it is rolled by an invisible hand. Let this mystic stone be set in motion.—Testimonies for the Church 7:59.
Health restaurants and treatment-rooms should be established. Our efforts in these lines should include the great seaside resorts. As the voice of John the Baptist was heard in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord,” so must the voice of the Lord's messengers be heard in the great tourist and seaside resorts.—Testimonies for the Church 7:55, 56.I have been given light that in many cities it is advisable for a restaurant to be connected with treatment-rooms. The two can co-operate in upholding right principles. In connection with these it is sometimes advisable to have rooms that will serve as lodgings for the sick. These establishments will serve as feeders to the sanitariums located in the country.—Testimonies for the Church 7:60.The Lord has a message for our cities, and this message we are to proclaim in our camp-meetings, and by other public efforts, and also through our publications. In addition to this, hygienic restaurants are to be established in the cities, and by them the message of temperance is to be proclaimed. Arrangements should be made to hold meetings in connection with our restaurants. Whenever possible, let a room be provided where the patrons can be invited to lectures on the science of health and Christian temperance, where they can receive instruction on the preparation of wholesome food, and on other important subjects.—Testimonies for the Church 7:115.Those who come to our restaurants should be supplied with reading matter. Their attention should be called to our literature on temperance and dietetic reform, and leaflets treating on the lessons of Christ should also be given them. The burden of supplying this reading matter should be shared by all our people. All who come should be given something to read. It may be that many will leave the tract unread, but some among those in whose hands you place it may be searching for light. They will read and study what you give them, and then pass it on to others.—Testimonies for the Church 7:116.I have been instructed that one of the principal reasons why hygienic restaurants and treatment-rooms should be established in the centers of large cities, is that by this means the attention of leading men will be called to the third angel's message. Noticing that these restaurants are conducted in a way altogether different from the way in which ordinary restaurants are conducted, men of intelligence will begin to inquire into the reasons for the difference in business methods, and will investigate the principles that lead us to serve superior food. Thus they will be led to a knowledge of the message for this time.—Testimonies for the Church 7:122, 123.
I have been instructed to encourage the conducting of cooking schools in all places where medical missionary work is being done. Every inducement to lead people to reform must be held out before them. Let as much light as possible shine upon them. Teach them to make every improvement that they can in the preparation of food, and encourage them to impart to others that which they learn.—Gospel Workers, 362, 363.Cooking schools are to be held. The people are to be taught how to prepare wholesome food. They are to be shown the need of discarding unhealthful foods. But we should never advocate a starvation diet. It is possible to have a wholesome, nutritious diet without the use of tea, coffee, and flesh food. The work of teaching the people how to prepare a dietary that is at once wholesome and appetizing, is of the utmost importance.—Testimonies for the Church 9:112.
A Timely Message
I cannot too strongly urge all our church members, all who are true missionaries, all who believe the third angel's message, all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath, to consider the message of the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. The work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter is the work that God requires His people to do at this time. It is a work of His own appointment. We are not left in doubt as to where the message applies, and the time of its marked fulfillment, for we read: “They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places; thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.”God's memorial, the seventh-day Sabbath, the sign of His work in creating the world, has been displaced by the man of sin. God's people have a special work to do in repairing the breach that has been made in His law; and the nearer we approach the end, the more urgent this work becomes. All who love God will show that they bear His sign by keeping His commandments. They are the restorers of paths to dwell in.... Genuine medical missionary work is bound up inseparably with the keeping of God's commandments, of which the Sabbath is especially mentioned, since it is the great memorial of God's creative work. Its observance is bound up with the work of restoring the moral image of God in man. This is the ministry which God's people are to carry forward at this time. This ministry, rightly performed, will bring rich blessings to the church.—Testimonies for the Church 6:265, 266.