Ministering to the
Ron Drye is an
Assemblies of God missionary serving with HealthCare Ministries
in Springfield, Mo. He recently talked with Scott Harrup, associate
editor, about the connections between physical, emotional and
PE: How did you
become involved with HealthCare Ministries?
I pastored for 28 years,
mostly in southern Arkansas. My wife is a registered nurse and
I’m a nurse practitioner. Our churches were small, rural
churches, so when our two boys were grown we went back to school
thinking it would help us with retirement. After attending a
HealthCare Ministries seminar in Florida in 1994, the Holy Spirit
made it clear that He would take our years of pastoral experience
and our medical knowledge and lead us into compassion ministry.
What benefits have you seen in ministering to people’s
spiritual as well as physical needs?
can hardly separate spiritual and physical needs. People who
don’t know the Lord or who are bound by a false religion
may express their spiritual bondage through their bodies in
sickness, depression and anxiety. You cannot just minister to
the physical need and believe that you have truly ministered.
When we minister
to physical needs, that breaks down barriers and opens doors
to approach spiritual needs. On ministry trips, I always tell
a person what a great honor it is to be there and to give them
eyeglasses or medication or vitamins, but then I tell them why
I really came. I have found that people are open, even in many
sensitive regions of the world. You can’t always share
the gospel from the frame of reference you are used to, but
you can always witness to them so that Jesus can take on a new
dimension in their life.
PE: Is our culture
too fixated on physical health?
We often substitute the desire for physical health when really
our greatest needs have to do with our spiritual health. Many
Americans think that if they exercise enough, eat right, lose
enough weight, only smoke or drink in moderation, avoid AIDS
or other sexually transmitted diseases and are healthy looking
and healthy minded that they would be happy and successful.
So how does our spiritual health contribute to our emotional
and physical well-being?
Word teaches us that if we are balanced in our spirit —
which means putting God first — the other areas of our
lives will be healthy. When you are not healthy spiritually
and you do not feel close to God, then your emotional stability
can only come through external sources. But we live in a world
that is frightening and has less and less security. It is impossible
to be emotionally healthy if you are depending on external,
worldly forces for emotional health. Physically, our bodies
often reflect what is going on or has gone on for a period of
time. If we have been spiritually destitute and emotionally
unstable because of external forces, we cannot remain physically
PE: Any other
you talk about physical and emotional health, you’re talking
about things people assume will give them a better life. Even
Christians can fall into this mistake. Acts 20:24 has really
turned me around: “I consider my life worth nothing to
me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the
Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the
gospel of God’s grace” (NIV). No matter how strong
I become physically or emotionally, that really isn’t
worth anything in itself. The true value of having health is
so we can finish the race and complete the goal the Lord Jesus
has for our life. And that is to be a living witness.
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