Stewardship of the Body
The summer has come to a close. If you are anything like me, the desire to eat healthy and exercise outside is also coming to a close as the temperature begins to drop. Many of my clergy colleagues run into similar attitudes throughout the year. So much of our time with others is in a social atmosphere where food and sitting is involved. It is great at the time but we often fall into the trap of complacency when it regards our bodily health in the winter.
One goal as a minster to my church family and to myself is to teach self-care. Whether or not we wish to admit it our bodily health is not separate from our spiritual health. I am reminded by Paul’s words to his congregation in Corinth when he wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20)
I do not believe Paul’s writing is intended to be restrictive, knowing that we draw comfort from the food and drink of the earth. (Matthew 15:11; Psalm 104:15) However, he knows that who we are and what we have is a gift from God. When we honor the gift of ourself like we honor the gifts given to us by others, then we will more fully recognize the love offered to us by God.
In my life there are ups and downs. I believe this is the reality of the human lot. Despite the struggles I am thankful I am here, that I have a voice, and that I can interact within this complex and wonderful world. Maintaining the health of my body in ways that are in my control, then, can be seen as a manner of prayer where I praise the Lord.
One way that I hope this message will empower you is that you see caring for your personal health as an example of spiritual stewardship. It is a word that is often taboo in the Church, usually associated with money and the priest asking for one to get out their checkbooks. However, that is a very limited and narrow definition of stewardship.
Stewardship, is often defined as care, management, or protection of something that is precious and vulnerable. We as individuals created in God’s image are both precious and vulnerable as witnessed by Jesus’ death on a cross. The same can be said of our relationships with one another as a church community.
The reality we must live into, then, is that God made us stewards of creation. This means that we are protectors of the gifts of God. We are a gift in and of ourselves and I hope that you will find through prayer a greater need to honor it with love, not only mentally or spiritually, but physically. Say a prayer to God this very day thanking Him for your life and ask for guidance in how to honor it more fully!
With love and prayers,