Every Body Matters: Strengthening your Body to Strengthen your Soul (Gary Thomas, 2011)
This book was introduced to me by a friend concerned about my health. It is a departure from Gary Thomas’s usual writing on marriage. But it is definitely something we need to hear today. He encourages Christians that your physical body matters. And getting into shape is not merely about looking good or avoiding disease. There is a biblical reason for staying in shape.
In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. The expensive utensils are used for special occasions, and the cheap ones are for everyday use. If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.
2 Timothy 2:20-21
From the verses of 2 Tim, Thomas believes that being physically fit equips us to be used better by God to fulfill His mission on earth. The problem is that gluttony and laziness is not addressed by the church today. We see pastors who are severely overweight and unhealthy but don’t view it as a sinful practice. Interestingly, gluttony and laziness were identified as part of the famous seven deadly sins in the Medieval times. Why is it not addressed today? Is it because of the affluence and materialism that has blinded us? Has gorging ourselves on food at buffets become the norm of a good life?
I know of pastors who were severely overweight and it hampered their service to the Lord. They found it hard to move around and became tired easily, thus feeding their laziness. We must be good stewards of the body that God has given us for his glory. A missionary may need to be physically fit to survive rough living conditions. I wonder how many Christians God could not call because they were just not physically fit enough to do it.
Thomas also suggests that physical fitness can affect spiritual fitness. Often those who are undisciplined in their lives and give in to gluttony or laziness are also undisciplined in their spiritual lives. Hard work in keeping ourselves fit gives us added energy to do the important spiritual disciplines. That’s why fasting is both a physical and spiritual act.
This book contains a deal of good stuff that has spoken to my own fitness. As a youth pastoral staff, I must admit that my lack of physical fitness has hindered me regularly. I’m trying to make small steps to improve my fitness. The main point is to keep yourself fit in order for God to do His work through you. Are there any unhealthy habits you need to change? Are you physically ready for God to call you to do His work?