Devotional Readings

A Life-Saving Exchange

If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:24-26, NKJV.

Did you know that the average meat-eating American will consume 21 cows, 14 sheep, 12 hogs, 900 chickens and 1,000 pounds of swimming and flying animals in a lifetime?

It was once believed that the more meat a man ate the healthier he would be. But that all changed when the American Cancer Society made the following recommendations that would significantly lower the risk of cancer: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains but low in high-fat foods, especially those containing animal fats; the maintenance of a healthy weight and exercise program; and limited or no alcohol intake.

The scientific support for this recommendation is strong: Here are a few examples concerning meat eating: A study of 35,000 women found that those with diets high in meat and animal fat, especially hamburgers, had double the risk for lymph node cancer. Norwegian men who ate the most processed meat had the highest rates of colon cancer. In a 14-year follow-up study of Swedish men, meat (beef and lamb) was the only food linked to higher rates of colon cancer. A six-year Harvard study of 90,000 women showed that no amount of red meat was safe when it came to colon cancer. Women who ate a main dish of meat daily (beef, pork, or lamb) were 250 percent more apt to develop colon cancer than those eating meat less than once a month. And the more they ate, the greater the risk. Even women who ate red meat infrequently, once a week or once a month, were still 40 percent more apt to get colon cancer than those who ate red meat less than once a month.

Isn’t it time to trade in some of those 21 cows for a truckload of soy-derived protein, swap some of the 14 sheep for a few bushels of beans, totally eliminate the 12 hogs and substitute a couple wheelbarrows of fresh carrots and apples?

But even more important, I hope you will try the spiritual exchange that Jesus suggested in Matthew 16:24-26. What a strange exchange this sounds like–losing your life only to find it? It seems so opposite to the way we are used to thinking, but the exchange is worth it.

To follow Christ, is there something in your life that you should be exchanging for something better?

–Risë Rafferty


from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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