In 2 Timothy 4:5, the Apostle Paul emphatically urged young Timothy to:
Fulfill your ministry (ESV)
Do a thorough job as God's servant (MSG)
Carry out the ministry God has given you (NLT)
Discharge all the duties of your ministry (NIV)
When we think of what it takes to do a thorough job in carrying out and discharging the duties to fulfill our ministry, we often automatically think of spiritual disciplines - Bible reading, staying connected within the Body of Christ, and daily prayer, to name a few.
In these days of COVID-19, fulfilling our ministry through sustained service may involve more than the practice of spiritual disciplines alone.
If we are going to fulfill our ministry assignments,
we have to stay well so we can serve well!
As communities begin to open up, opportunities to serve will increase. And along with that will be an increased risk of exposure to the virus and subsequent illness. Staying well to serve well involves two supports, in addition to spiritual disciplines.
1. Minimizing virus exposure, especially for at risk individuals
In the past few months, most of us have heartily embraced health practices related to minimizing virus exposure. And as communities begin to open up, it is important that we continue to be diligent with hand washing, wearing face masks and maintaining physical distancing.
2. Maximizing immune support and minimizing risk of COVID-19 complications
With the disruption of our daily routines, many of us have struggled to maintain good health habits. But good health habits support our immune system so that we can have the best chance of not being sidelined in ministry should we be exposed to the virus.
The immune system is a complex system of cells, antibodies, receptors and organs that all work together to defend the body. Given this complexity, there is much that we don’t know about how to boost specific parts of our immune system for specific tasks. But we can support our immune system by overall healthy living.
Here are some ways that we can SEE our way through the COVID-19 pandemic by staying well in order to serve well:
Get Adequate Sleep - the body produces and releases proteins during sleep which fight infection and inflammation.
Eat Fuel Foods - they provide nutrients needed for immune system cells and function. Fuel foods are nutrient-dense foods found in their natural form usually found around the perimeter of most grocery stores (produce, meat, dairy).
Eat Plant Foods - they contain antioxidants that help fight inflammation. Plant foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seed, beans, and lentils.
Eat High Fiber Foods - they feed gut microbes that play a part in fighting inflammation. High fiber foods are found in many kinds of plant- based foods - vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas and whole grains. When increasing dietary fiber, focus on slowly adding whole, unprocessed foods from all these categories as opposed to just a few. Drink plenty of water to prevent gastrointestinal distress.
Get Daily Exercise - it may protect or reduce the severity of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) which is a major complication and cause of death among COVID-19 patients.
Fulfilling our ministry assignments involves service. And wherever the Spirit leads us to serve, our physical being is involved, either helping or hindering us in our work. This is true everyday, but especially during these days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So, before we get back out into our more normal routine of serving in our community, let’s SEE to it that we are paying attention to the health habits that will enable us to stay well so we can serve well.
About the author:
Ginger Hill is a Christian wellness speaker, coach and consultant and the founder of Good Health for Good Works where she helps the earnest, but often exhausted, workers in Christian organizations to take steps toward healthier living so they can fulfill their organization's mission with energy, excellence and endurance.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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