What is this 109 year old man’s secret
to health and wellness?
At the age of 105 Reverend Otis Grandville Clark went to the doctors for a checkup, they reported “He has the heart of a thirty-five-year-old man. He is not on any medications and has no illness.” Reverend Clark knew something about the rhythm of work and rest.
Many experts claim that if you just do some heavy workout every day or run a lot, that will ensure you of a happy healthy long life. But between 2000 and 2008 many many people collapsed while running marathons and Twenty-eight people died.
Others say if you are very careful not to eat meat that will increase your lifespan, but another group of experts say just the opposite. Then there are the experts that say the best way to health and wellness is to avoid all chemicals.
And finally you have the Yoga and Tai Chi experts saying you need to focus on your inner self using ancient relaxation techniques to achieve health and wellness.
In the July 2008 issue of Consumer Reports, a study was cited that was done by Ohio State. This study found that Christian principals worked to heal patience quicker than patience who only used medicine. The report also found that that neither Yoga or Tai Chi had any effect on the patient’s ability to heal. 4
Other experts believe that a quiet low stress life is the answer to long life. Reverend Clark did not live and easy life; he delivered medicine to people during the influenza epidemic of 1918, he survived the great Tulsa race riots of 1921. He dodged bullets, raced through alleys to escape armed mobs, saw his stepfather killed and his family home burned to the ground. He finally fled Tulsa on a freight train,3 Reverend Clark went through the great Depression, outlived four wives, didn’t take medication and never used a cane.
So what was Reverend Clark’s secret to a long, happy, healthy life? Is it something you could apply? From time to time we will be sharing something helpful from Reverend Clark and other people who have proved with a well lived life what you can do to be healthy and happy. We want to show how applying God’s word has helped them and how it can work in your life today. According to Reverend Clark’s daughter, one of his favorite sayings was,” Focus on God’s word.”1 So what does God’s word say?
“Six days you shall labour, and do all your work: But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God, on it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. Deuteronomy 5:13,14
Reverend Clark obeyed God by worshiping and resting. He learned the secret of rest. In his later years he would take a long hot bath each day to rest and relax. Evidently what Reverend Clark did worked, according to Reverend Clark’s daughter, Dr. Gwen Williams, If you ever ask dad if he is tired, he responds “Tired of what?” Reverend Clark learned the secret of “Rest.” Many people today have no concept of Biblical rest.
I grew up in a business home. My parent’s office was in our home. We talked about work at home and we were all involved in the business seven days a week. My parents were very hard workers and were very successful. I saw hard work as my route, my key, to success. My dad would regularly work 14 hours a day, of course he was sick a lot, suffering from back problems and depression.
My dad was also 100% German. Germans have a saying “Work makes life sweet”. My older brother Tim, recently visited Germany and while on a tour he posted this story. “We had a guide from Wales yesterday who has spent 26 years here. He was showing us the sights of Nuremberg and felt compelled to tell a German joke, and here is what he said, “It is absolutely exhausting to watch a German relax. Their idea of relaxation is to run 10 miles on Sunday. They actually have to go back to work to rest up for days off.”. So, Germans seem to be prosperous, maybe it is a good thing to be a workaholic. Remember it was the Germans who started world war 1 and world war 2, and the lost both wars. Hitler was obviously mentally unstable. Is it possible their mental state was due to the fact they didn’t know how to rest.
This is the very thing that happened to me when I worked seven days a week. When I got married to Shary, I would routinely work seven days a week and often worked 16 hours a day. My brother Mike rebuked me one day and told me that I should take at least one day a week off to rest, he said, “it’s in the Bible.” I told him that I wasn’t able to get everything done in seven days; so only working six would make matters worse. But shortly after that conversation, I caught myself in an anxious moment with about three jobs going at once. I actually took about five steps toward one job and turned and took a few steps toward another job, then headed for the third job, all the while trying to optimize my motions so as to do them in the most efficient order. I finally stopped and realized I might be going crazy or because I lacked rest, I wasn’t thinking clearly. At that moment I made a conscious decision to follow God’s advice and see if it would work. Sure enough, as soon as I started resting one day a week and going to church to worship, I got more done in six days than I had in seven and, I started getting healthier.
Dr. Matthew Sleeth, above, is a former emergency room physician. He’s also the author of “24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life.” In a 2011 interview with CNN, Dr. Sleeth states “When we’re constantly going, we pour out chemicals to try to meet those stresses. We have short-term stress hormones like adrenaline, and longer-term hormones like the steroids that we pour out. Those chemicals constantly being “on” are bad for us, and they lead to anxiety and depression and to, I think, diabetes and being obese. Have you been struggling to keep your weight down or struggling with poor health?”2 It is possible you are not really taking a day a week off, or are you are like the Germans and need to go back to work so you can recuperate from your day off? Did you catch what the Welsh tour guide said? “It is absolutely exhausting to watch a German relax.” Don’t be that guy, go to church and worship God then go home and take a nap, do nothing, relax. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
Exodus 15:26 states that “…if you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees (laws). I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians for I am the Lord who heals you.”
I was the general manager of a small wood window manufacturing company for 15 years. Almost all Manufacturing companies run seven days a week and twenty for hours a day. This is done so they can get the most out of their equipment and facilities. We decided to follow God’s advice instead and it paid off. Occasionally I’d catch a new employee working at the window plant on Sunday and I’d explain to them that it wasn’t mentally or physically good for them to work seven days a week, if they suffered then the company would suffer. My Employees would tell me that since working for us, their lives were better, they were healthier. One admitted that, though his salary was less than at a previous job, he and his family were healthier and had more money leftover at the end of the month.
Jesus made an interesting statement when he was accused of letting his disciples work on the Sabbath. Actually, they were simply eating grain straight from the fields. But Jesus didn’t argue about the technicality of what they were doing. He took the opportunity to explain a foundational teaching. His statement was this,
“The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” Mark 2:27
In order to fully grasp what we at wellness gospel are saying, you need to understand this one principle.
Gods laws, the laws found in the old and new testaments, were made by God for our benefit not his. Jesus said, in Mark chapter 5 “Whoever practices and teaches the law will be called great in the kingdom of heaven and whoever does not practice and teach the law will be called least in the kingdom of Heaven.”
Man was not created by God to serve the law; the law was created by God to serve man. You see it’s okay to work on the Sabbath if you must. Jesus said if your ox falls in a ditch on the Sabbath, pull it out. Jesus went on to tell about David and how he broke the Law of Moses by eating bread from the temple and giving it to his men. He indicated that God approved what David did presumably because David and his men were starving. Let me make my own example. If you were stranded on a deserted island and the only thing to eat was a wild pig, which the law says you should not eat, what good would it do you to abstain from pork if you are going starve to death? Or what good would it do you to abstain from eating clams if you are going to die from hunger? Or if the only thing you had to eat was candy and the only thing to drink was soda pop? Eat up, drink up! We are not under the law. But… if you have a choice, choose the good and eschew (Reject) the evil.
So, back to getting adequate rest; From time to time, Shary will sit me down and go over my week to see how many hours I have been working, and I usually have to cut back some. But you might say, “What if I don’t get all my work done?” Believe it or not the world will go on without you and me some day. We are dispensable. After all, you and I are not God. The people around us will enjoy us much more after we have gotten an adequate amount of rest. I can testify that you will accomplish more in less time and spend less time sick and out of work. I have been testing this biblical concept for almost forty years and in those 40 years I have not missed a day’s work due to illness. Want to feel great all the time, want to watch your grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up? Then start really taking a day off each week.
The Devil has always been a hard taskmaster. Pharaoh made the children of Israel work harder and harder. Many of us feel that we never do enough, that we always need to do more. If you can never seem to take one day a week and relax, if you find yourself rising early and going to bed late. If you seem to be tired much of the time, then you need to listen carefully to Jesus words…
“Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus wants to be the Lord of your life and mine. He is our source of rest; He is gentle and will give rest to your body and your soul. He is the one who can remove those feelings of never doing enough or never being good enough. His love for you is not based on your performance or achievements it is based on who you are, “His Child.” Everyplace we fail he picks up the slack. Everywhere we are inadequate he is fully adequate. He truly loves us and is for us.
“What, then, shall we say in response to this?
If God is for us, who can be against us?”
If you believe God knows best, join us and the Wellness Gospel team and spread the word, share this with your friends on social media and may God bless you richly.
If you want to keep improving your health and like this kind of biblical, scientific information, then I would like to recommend three must-read books.
- “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, M.D. and David E. Stern, M.D.
- “Let’s Play Doctor” by Dr. Joel Wallach
- “God’s Guide To Biblical Health and Healing” by Rev. Chris & Shary Schauermann
You can get all these books at Amazon.com
- His Story, History and His Secret by Dr. Gwen Williams and Star Williams
- July 2008 Consumer reports