~by Dean Coridan~

As we dwell in this land of sin and death, it is a great comfort to understand that our heavenly Father not only cares about our spiritual condition, but is just as caring about our entire being.

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2, NKJV). The very cornerstone of Adventist theology and worldview is that God cares for us as whole persons who are spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and social beings. He has given, therefore, great and good gifts to benefit and bless us and the world in which we live.

I saw a statement in Counsels on Health that leads me to believe that we have a great door of opportunity open before us of which we should take full advantage. It reads: “As religious aggression subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience will be placed in unfavorable positions. For their own sake, they should, while they have opportunity, become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention and cure. And those who do this will find a field of labor anywhere. There will be suffering ones, plenty of them, who will need help, not only among those of our own faith, but largely among those who know not the truth” (p. 506).

This door of opportunity is open to all of us. Each of us should take full advantage of it. I believe that now is the time for all our schools to pay attention to the Seventh-day Adventist worldview of God’s care for the whole person.

Especially in our boarding academies, this opportunity exists. We have the ability to create a learning environment that many young people cannot experience anywhere else. We may work to fit students for a lifetime of service to their own families, and to the communities in which they will live. In our boarding schools, the principles of healthful, balanced living can be experienced every day. The students can learn practical ways to prevent disease and to preserve health. They can participate in the production of food, in the preparation of healthful meals, and in the right use of simple remedies that can bring about recovery from the many lifestyle diseases of our nation. Our young people can learn the prevention of childhood obesity and diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. We can help prepare them to stand at the head of families, and to benefit their neighbors both at home and abroad.

I believe our day of opportunity includes the openness of society to be taught prevention of disease to a degree that we have not witnessed in many years. What a blessing it would be for our young people to become even greater agents of change in our churches and communities. What a great thing it would be if partnerships could be developed between Seventh-day Adventist healthcare systems and our boarding academies to impact the communities around our schools together.

Our goal at Sunnydale Adventist Academy is to integrate the principles of healthful living into every day of life and then to integrate the students into the surrounding community through acts of service and kindness. Sunnydale Farms, an industry developed in recent years through the establishment of several greenhouses worked by the students, is one of many ways we are choosing to let our neighbors know that God desires them to “prosper and be in good health” (NASB). God has given us a great gift in the knowledge of health and prevention of disease. May we take full advantage of every opportunity He grants to be a blessing to the people around us.

Dean Coridan is president of the Iowa-Missouri Conference.    

Photo Credit: Michelle Miracle/Chris Overton