Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more … (or) to make God love us less. Philip Yancey
I had the pleasure of taking in a clergy conference near Prescott, Arizona recently. During the course of the conference I learned that people are encouraged to maintain physical fitness for their health and well-being. That sure made sense until they suggested that a fitness regimen might include such things as walking or doing things.
It was even suggested that a person ought to strive to get in 10,000 steps each day and, to indicate how serious they were that we should do so, the conference leaders even gave us each a small pedometer to wear on our belts. Well, I can certainly belt out a tune, but was highly offended that they would try to make us walk more by giving us such a tawdry bribe as that.
I assured them that I am as fit as a fiddle, although I wouldn’t want to play any fiddle that was built like me – and I certainly don’t want anyone pulling my strings. It’s bad enough when they push my buttons.
Anyway, I have tried wearing the pedometer with me wherever I go and have discovered that it is extremely limited; it seems not to be aware of how much work I do at my desk.
I may not be active in the academic sense of the word, but certainly I get quite a bit of exercise. I jump to conclusions; I punch out sermons; I take a Leap of Faith getting up each morning; I run my mouth every day of the week and twice on Sundays. All that has GOT to count for something, doesn’t it?
But my poor pedometer just doesn’t understand my kind of activity. It is very imperfect that way. In fact, I sometimes have to shake it just so I can read the display – and need I tell you there is a bit of exercise involved in just sucking in my six pack abs so I can see that tiny little device down there on my belt. What’s THAT all about? Shouldn’t they have designed a larger pedometer just so the walker could look svelte in comparison? Where the heck was their Marketing Team when THAT design came down for review?
Well, the fact is that maybe I could stand to be a bit more active. While I do have abs of steel, the steel is more like the soup that sloshes around in the bowl at the smelter than the hardened variety one finds at the end of the line. Perhaps it is time to examine my physical regimen more carefully and begin adjusting my work-a-day habits so as to involve a bit more movement.
Why should I take better care of my body? Well, for one thing, it’s the only one I’ve got.
I’ve got plenty of clothes I can change into if I get wet or dirty, but I’ve only got this one carcass. It’s got to last until I’m done with it. So there is that.
For another thing, it’s a gift from God. How I treat it indicates to some degree just what I think of the giver, eh? If I toss a gift into a drawer and forget it, or never use it or wear it, that says something.
The best way to say “thank you” is to put the gift to work for its intended purpose. We don’t strut our stuff for the world to ogle at; stepping lively is simply a friendly wave to God above – a simple thanks to our God of love.
I think one’s spiritual life is like that, too.
To be spiritually fit requires spiritual exercises, such as getting up and going to church, breaking open the Bible (and reading it), praying, and finding things to do that promote the peace and well-being of the community.