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Exercising, Eating, Stewardship, Lent . . . How are these related?

My friend bought an old, but low mileage, cute Volkswagen Bug. But this car had sat immobile for too long. Almost immediately, the car’s fuel pump failed. Next, the water pump failed. Soon, the belts failed. And so on. Our bodies are very much like that little Bug. If we don’t use them, we lose them, so to speak. They do not function at their best. “Fearfully and wonderfully” God designed our bodies (Psalm 139).  And when we use them by moving (exercising) them, the way God designed, our bodies are amazing. However, if we sit, just like this poor car sat, they fail to be all they can be.

My sister bought bad gasoline, which she didn't know at the time. But her car quickly made her aware that something was definitely wrong when it would not work correctly. With appropriate fuel, cars work well. Our bodies work like my sister’s vehicle. When we get bad fuel (junk food), our bodies do not function well. However, when we fill our bodies with appropriate fuel, especially nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and dairy, our bodies operate up to par.

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of stewardship is “the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care."  “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. . . . And God saw that everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31). God has entrusted each of us with our “very good” body. Did Adam and Eve have an easier time with stewardship of their bodies? They had fruits and vegetables galore. They had walks in the garden. For us, if Dairy Queen isn’t calling our name, the snack aisle at the grocery store is. If the couch doesn’t beckon us to sit and watch Netflix, surely Facebook calls. The careful and responsible management of the bodies that God has entrusted to our care requires intentional choices, which often run counter to the environment in which we live.

On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus’ face shining like the sun and His clothes becoming white as light did not seem to phase the disciples, and neither did Moses’ and Elijah’s sudden appearance.  But when “a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him,’ ”  the disciples freaked out, falling on their faces in terror (Matthew 17:1–8). FEAR!  Does the fear of God rule our hearts? Can we hear the “Thou shalts” and the “Thou shalt nots” screaming their terror in our failing, sinful lives? But God’s words to the disciples, “Listen to Him,” direct us to Jesus’ next words, “Rise, and have no fear.” NO FEAR! This is what Lent delivers! No fear. Jesus travels the ugly, painful road to the cross, conquering sin, death, and the devil. His resurrection from the grave brings life for us. What an incredible Lenten, lavish, love of God to mankind.

His love. Our response! This love for you and for me is the motivating factor in our response to Him. Our lives, including the stewardship of our bodies, are not motivated by a works-righteousness of what we should or should not do, but by our response to His love and grace. And when we fail, we have no fear. “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). This Lenten season, as you fuel (eat healthy foods) and use (exercise) your body, bask in the blessing of God’s beautiful design, which is “very good”!

 

Written by

Karen Sue Murdy

Karen Sue Murdy loves to encourage and equip women in their faith walk with God. She has rich experience leading Bible studies for women, couples, and specifically to moms. She speaks passionately about her Savior at special women’s events, as she addresses topics that speak to women’s everyday lives. Karen Sue is a clinical certified exercise specialist by profession, attending Concordia University – Ann Arbor, and Central Michigan University. She is a PK (pastor’s kid!) who loves the Lord, her family, sunshine, chocolate, and running. Karen Sue and her husband, David, have four rambunctious sons and reside in WI.

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