1. ESSENTIAL FOR OUR HEALTH
a. What work was given to humanity, prior to the Fall, to promote health and happiness? Genesis 2:15. What blessings come from work, even after the Fall? Psalm 128:2; Ecclesiastes 2:24.
“At the creation, labor was appointed as a blessing. It meant development, power, happiness. . . . And it is a safeguard against temptation. Its discipline places a check on self-indulgence, and promotes industry, purity, and firmness.”—Education, p. 214.
b. What are some of the effects of laziness? Proverbs 12:24; 19:15; Ecclesiastes 10:18.
“Laziness and indolence are not the fruit borne upon the Christian tree. Indolence is a great curse. God has blessed human beings with nerves, organs, and muscles; and they are not to be allowed to deteriorate because of inaction but are to be strengthened and kept in health by exercise. To have nothing to do is a great misfortune, for idleness ever has been and ever will be a curse to the human family.”—Child Guidance, p. 124.
2. TEMPERANCE AT WORK
a. What counsel is given to us in Ecclesiastes 3:1? When we disregard this counsel and overwork, what is the result?
“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, p. 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.”—Messages to Young People, p. 135.
b. As much as possible, during which part of the 24-hour day should we work to preserve our health? Psalm 104:23; John 9:4.
“Since the work of building up the body takes place during the hours of rest, it is essential, especially in youth, that sleep should be regular and abundant.”—My Life Today, p. 143.
“I know from the testimonies given me from time to time for brain workers, that sleep is worth far more before than after midnight. Two hours’ good sleep before twelve o’clock is worth more than four hours after twelve o’clock.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, p. 224.
c. What benefit does exercise have upon the mind? Ecclesiastes 5:12.
“Inactivity is a fruitful cause of disease. Exercise quickens and equalizes the circulation of the blood.
“For a healthy young man, stern, severe exercise is strengthening to the whole system. . . . 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, p. 130.
3. REST FOR THE WEARY
a. What means did God provide for the energies of humans to be restored? Mark 6:31. How do we know that Christ, in His human nature, was subject to the same weakness? Mark 4:38; John 4:6.
“Though time is short, and there is a great work to be done, the Lord is not pleased to have us so prolong our seasons of activity that there will not be time for periods of rest, for the study of the Bible, and for communion with God. All this is essential to fortify the soul, to place us in a position where we shall receive wisdom from God to employ our talents in the Master’s service to the highest account.
“When Jesus said the harvest was great and the laborers were few, He did not urge upon His disciples the necessity of ceaseless toil. . . . He tells His disciples that their strength has been severely tried, that they will be unfitted for future labor unless they rest awhile. . . .
“Today there is need that God’s chosen workmen should listen to the command of Christ to go apart and rest awhile.”—My Life Today, p. 133.
“Let several families living in a city or village unite and leave the occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion into the country to the side of a fine lake or to a nice grove where the scenery of nature is beautiful.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 514.
b. What is one type of rest, and what conditions must be fulfilled for this rest to be effective? Psalm 4:8.
“In eating, drinking, and dressing, the laws of health should be diligently followed, and in regulating the hours for sleep, there should be no haphazard work. No student should form the habit of sitting up late at night to burn the midnight oil, and then take the hours of day for sleep.”—Christian Education, p. 124.
“Nature will restore . . . vigor and strength in [the children’s] sleeping hours, if her laws are not violated.”—Healthful Living, p. 46.
“Wake up in the mornings. Set your hour to rise early, and bring yourself to it, then retire at an early hour, and you will see that you will overcome many painful disorders which distress the mind, cause gloomy feelings, discouragement, and unhappy friction, and disqualify you from doing anything without great taxation.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 47.
“This reading much by brain workers, up to the sleeping hours, is very injurious to health.”—Ibid., p. 46.
4. REST FOR THE BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT
a. Besides the rest resulting from sleep, of what other forms of rest do we know of? Leviticus 23:3; Matthew 11:28. Does the Sabbath rest include extra sleep on this day?
“None should feel at liberty to spend sanctified time in an unprofitable manner. It is displeasing to God for Sabbathkeepers to sleep during much of the Sabbath. They dishonor their Creator in so doing, and, by their example, say that the six days are too precious for them to spend in resting. They must make money, although it be by robbing themselves of needed sleep, which they make up by sleeping away holy time. They then excuse themselves by saying: ‘The Sabbath was given for a day of rest. I will not deprive myself of rest to attend meeting, for I need rest.’ Such make a wrong use of the sanctified day. They should, upon that day especially, interest their families in its observance and assemble at the house of prayer with the few or with the many, as the case may be. . . . Of all the days in the week, none are so favorable for devotional thoughts and feelings as the Sabbath.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 704.
b. What is the difference between recreation and amusement—and where is the best place for rest and recreation for God’s people? Mark 6:31. What about for meditation and personal prayer? Genesis 24:63; Luke 6:12.
“There is a distinction between recreation and amusement. Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up. Calling us aside from our ordinary cares and occupations, it affords refreshment for mind and body, and thus enables us to return with new vigor to the earnest work of life. Amusement, on the other hand, is sought for the sake of pleasure and is often carried to excess; it absorbs the energies that are required for useful work and thus proves a hindrance to life’s true success.”—Education, p. 207.
“Those with whom mental and physical well-being is of greater moment than money or the claims and customs of society, should seek for their children the benefit of nature’s teaching, and recreation amidst her surroundings. It would be a great aid in educational work could every school be so situated as to afford the pupils land for cultivation, and access to the fields and woods.”—Ibid., pp. 211, 212.
5. BENEFICIAL EXERCISE
a. What are some benefits achieved through physical exercise?
“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 those organs.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 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, p. 530.
b. What should we consider when contemplating playing games or sports for exercise? 1 Corinthians 10:31; Acts 24:16.
“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, p. 127.
“Other athletic games . . . stimulate the love of pleasure and excitement, thus fostering a distaste for useful labor, a disposition to shun practical duties and responsibilities.”—Education, p. 210.
“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.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 653.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. From the beginning, what blessing did God provide for humanity as essential for physical and spiritual health?
2. What does temperance in work mean?
3. Why is it that many people do not have a restful sleep?
4. Besides sleep, what other forms of rest aid us in restoring our physical and spiritual powers?
5. What are the best sources of recreation for Christians, and why?