Fit to Serve – Church and Community! |DR. R. CLIFFORD JONES

R. Clifford Jones

Happy New Year! The start of a year is a wonderful, precious time. Who does not appreciate this time of year, with its offers of new opportunities and possibilities? At this time, we have the opportunity to begin anew, to reposition ourselves, doing so with fresh hope and optimism as well as with determination and resolution. At this time, we may shrug off the failures and shortcomings of the past year, believing that we shall prevail, triumph, and succeed in the new year.

 The administrators of the Lake Region Conference are delighted to join me in wishing you success in all your undertakings in 2019. We pray that you experience health, happiness, and heaven’s abundant blessings in 2019. Our prayer is that you continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who came to earth so that we may experience life to its fullest, and wishes that we prosper and be in good health (John 10:10; 3 John 2).

As you may or may not be aware, we have declared 2019 to be the Year of Health and Community Engagement, a focus that aligns with a couple of our core values—witness and wholeness. Jesus wants His followers to be not just recipients but conduits of the health, healing and happiness that Adam and Eve experienced before they fell. As He did, Jesus wants us to mingle with the people, have sympathy for them, meet their needs, and win their confidence before calling on them to follow Jesus (MH129).   Yet, we ourselves must embody the laws of health if we are to be powerful witnesses for Jesus Christ. In other words, we must be FIT TO SERVE!

A few years ago, my wife gave me a Fitbit for my birthday. I’m happy to report that I’ve made good use of the device, which is a powerful motivator. The pursuit of wholeness, however, also involves a healthy diet, adequate rest, the elimination or reduction of stress, a positive outlook on life, ample amounts of sunshine and water, a network of social relationships, and a deep, meaningful relationship with God.  We have been called to present our bodies to God as living sacrifices, and to shun all harmful and hurtful practices (Rom. 12: 1; 1 Cor. 10:31).

During His earthly ministry, Jesus did more healing than preaching, empowering His disciples to do the same and demonstrating for us what mission and ministry should look like. “As ye go, preach, saying The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.   Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:7, 8). Dr. Luke writes, “The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people . . . Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed” (Acts 5:12, 16).

Won’t you resolve to be more health conscious during 2019? In this day and age of escalating medical costs, it makes sense that we pay attention to our health. There is much truth in the statement that health is wealth, and that a healthy life is the best way to live. More importantly, a healthy witness is a powerful witness for Jesus Christ. Now more than ever, we need to focus on eliminating the disparities in health that plague our communities. We owe it to our children and future generations to be as healthy and happy as possible. Abundant blessings on you as you aspire to be fit to serve your church and community in 2019!

Happy New Year!!

R. Clifford Jones