Stewardship of the Body
At King of Kings Lutheran Church we’ve talked about the weight problems in existence today because of all the yummy food put before us daily. Walking the path of a healthy life isn’t easy. Television commercials show slimmed-down men and women praising weight loss programs while showing their old jeans now six sizes too big. Images of yummy foods follow, promising viewers they can eat and still lose weight—if they are willing to pay out money and not budge from the programs.
Many of our church activities are centered on food. You’ve heard the old Lutheran adage: “Meet and eat!” Food is a gift provided to us by God to enjoy and to sustain our physical bodies. And boy, do we sustain those bodies! God created in us both a need for food and the capacity to enjoy the pleasure of food. Bible stories like the feeding of the five thousand, the wedding at Cana, and the Last Supper all center on food or celebrations involving food. The problem comes when we overeat and allow that to control or harm us.
When used properly, food should satisfy our bodies’ needs. The problem is when we overindulge after we are no longer hungry. When we look to food to comfort us, soothe our emotions, solve our problems, or make us happy, we are placing food foremost before God.
As Christians, many of us are destroying our bodies with excesses. Paul calls our bodies the “Temple of the Holy Spirit.” He teaches that we do not belong to ourselves, that we have been bought with a price. Therefore, our bodies belong to God. God’s goal is that we should glorify Him with our bodies.
Paul, in Romans 6:12-14 challenges us to present the members of our bodies as “instruments of righteousness to God.” How do we do that?
We all have a requirement to care for our bodies. This includes taking good care of our time, talents, resources and finances as well as our bodies. Our gracious Creator fitted each of us with an amazingly complicated yet marvelous working collection of limbs, organs and brain cells for which we are to observe reliable care. There is fundamental value in taking good care of our bodies and our brains.
A huge percentage of the strain on our healthcare system is the result of people suffering the consequences of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. The quality and quantity of life depends in-large-part on regulating (or in some cases, obliterating) the intake of substances such as food, smoke, alcohol and drugs; and the fitness for the work of the church depends in some part on exercising for (at least minimal) physical fitness.
When we exercise faithful stewardship over our physical selves, we show our thankfulness to God for our bodies. And we’ll more fully realize the wholeness God intended for our life on earth. In practical terms this means we have a scripturally- based, God-given responsibility to take the best care possible of our bodies. If we don’t, we mistreat one of God’s greatest and most personal gifts to us.
Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 6:19: “or do you not know that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?” If that’s not a mandate for stewardship, what is? He also said: “For you were bought with a great price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Changing our eating and exercise habits isn’t easy, but with the help of God, it can be done. Abusive habits are poor stewardship of the body and it is poor stewardship of one’s financial resources.
Through Christ, God tells us that His spirit will dwell in our bodies, His Temple. This means our flesh and blood is an earthly dwelling place for the Spirit of God. “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the house of God, and that the Spirit of God lives among you in His house? If anyone defiles and spoils God’s home, God will destroy him. For God’s home is holy and clean, and you are that home.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
We read in the Old Testament about the tabernacle and the Temple of Solomon. They are described as the dwelling place for the Spirit of God. What an overwhelming privilege and responsibility we have to house the Spirit of God. The fact that God dwells in our bodies is reason enough to keep our bodies physically fit and, like the Temple of Solomon, a suitable place to show honor and glory to Him. Most Christians are obedient to God’s spiritual laws but many fail to glorify with their bodies.
Some things we can do to protect our “temples”:
- Start by eating properly
- Stay away from fad diets
- Actively exercise
- Do things you enjoy doing
- Have fun!