The Stewardship of Health and Healing
The Biblical prophet Jeremiah wrote, “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will heal them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jeremiah 33:6).
It was a long time ago that these words were written. Jeremiah was speaking to the troubled inhabitants of a city under siege, and he was endeavoring to reassure the people of God that they had not been forgotten or abandoned. He reminded them of God’s care with a promise that still brings us hope today.
As I have the opportunity to talk with members of our Adventist HealthCare team, people often will tell me stories about things that have happened in their specific area of work. Some of the stories are funny; some are quite serious. Some of them make me smile, and sometimes they make me shake my head. Some of them make me sad. And some of them are so filled with joy that they make everything we do feel important and significant.
Those are the stories that make me think of Jeremiah’s words about health and cure and healing. These are the powerful culture-shaping experiences that we share with one another because they give meaning and shape to our work. They help explain who we are. And they permeate the way we work together and what we most value about our endeavors to be a “ministry of healing.”
Some of the stories are about health and helping people return to health. Some of the stories are about cures—about people getting well, or about how we work together with patients and their families to confront the challenges they face as a result of an accident or disease.
All of the stories are about healing. They are about what happens when we look beyond the cure, even look beyond the goal of being healthy or restoring something that has been lost, and focus on that third word in Jeremiah’s statement: “I will heal them.”
I think these stories embody our value of stewardship, which is that “we take ownership to efficiently and effectively extend God’s care.” We talk about how care is delivered, and when we do it well. We tell stories about what happens when we are efficient and effective in our work. We talk about challenges that we must face to be effective. And we strive for the best outcomes, the highest standards, the most favorable results—because we believe that our stewardship of the time, talents, training, resources, and opportunities to serve are at the very heart of our mission and our calling.
We believe that when we act as responsible stewards of all that is entrusted to us, we are aligning ourselves with the spirit of grace and abundance that can be found in the heart of God. We stand beside God himself in those things that bring health and hope to life, because we remember that God said in Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord, who heals you.”
This is what stewardship means. This is why efficiency and effectiveness are so important. And this is why what we are called to do can best be described as a “ministry of healing.”