Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Our God is not a God of scarcity but of abundance. Nothing could be more precious than life: abundant life in this world and eternal life in the world to come.
The health of our bodies is important to God, and so is the health of our soul and spirit. That is why The United Methodist Church has “Global Health” as one of its “Four Foci” (four areas of ministry focus). Health is important to us all; and the things that make for abundant and healthy bodies should be emphasized as a part of our personal Christian stewardship.
Along with that, we need to be doing the things that promote abundant health around the globe. According to UMC Abundant Health, “Children are our future, and yet nearly 6 million children under the age of five die every year. Millions of children and adolescents still don’t have access to the life-saving information, services and supplies they need for a healthy fulfilled life.”
The goal of the Abundant Health program is for UM congregations “to bring better health to people in every place, from our own backyards to around the world.” The UMC is in partnership with the United Nations initiative “Every Woman Every Child” to assist in this health agenda. Our local churches can do something as well.
Last year at our session of Annual Conference we made a presentation about the “Abundant Health” project that was launched by the General Board of Global Ministries. Quite a few of our churches signed up to be a part of the solution, which includes taking concrete action of some kind on one or more of the following areas of health:
- Promoting health and wholeness for all people
- Addressing nutritional challenges and promoting breast feeding
- Advancing prevention and treatment of childhood diseases
- Ensuring safe births
Something we all can do locally is to promote the physical health of our members by encouraging exercise and proper diet. Obesity and high blood pressure is an epidemic in our country and sadly even among our clergy. The Abundant Health office is launching a “Hulapalooza” to encourage exercise. Hula-hooping is a way to get moving and have fun at the same time.
I am encouraging all churches to get hula-hoops or find other ways to get our members and pastors moving. We need exercise programs that can improve our physical health and draw awareness to the importance of the enhanced life a healthy body can bring.
The hula-hoop is a call to “get moving” to do something tangible to help heal our world. Youth groups and Sunday School classes could sponsor a “hula-thon” to raise funds for global health.
Many curable diseases are still taking the lives of people around the globe. Maternal education, clean water projects and inoculations for developing countries are just a few of the areas of need.
Let’s be local and global in our approaches to health. Everyone can commit to at least one thing that can lead to Abundant Health. The possibilities are endless, and the life-giving Spirit of God goes with you as you do.