I just hit my mid thirties this year! Though I am not a Senior Pastor at the church I serve at, I realized that being in a sedentary job was catching up to me. As a kid I was always skinny or fit. I played sports. I could eat whatever I wanted and it didn’t matter. Things changed in my twenties when I wasn’t as active but still ate whatever I wanted. After having some different health challenges that took place in my early thirties I know I needed to change but why? It goes beyond what the mirror revealed when I looked at it.
There are two ways pastors should be healthy. First and most importantly is their spiritual well-being. A pastor should be as the Bible points to the qualifications as a strong spiritual leader (See and read 1 Timothy 3:1-7). He must be not a novice nor someone who has a poor reputation in the world. He should stand out and be a beacon of light in this dark world. Just like being physically healthy the pastor never stops growing spiritually and desires to be spiritually healthy. More about this is a future post.
Second, a pastor should desire to be physically healthy. It dawned on me when I asked, “How long can I keep up this current life style?” I meant this with my eating habits and my lack of exercise. I tried diets before and somewhat going to the gym but it never became a good habit. It was always a short lived spasm that would never stick.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne who was a preacher in Scotland and whom outlined for his congregation and for us today a way to read through the Bible in a year died at the age of twenty-nine from Typhus. It has been told that on his deathbed he said, “God gave me a message and a horse. I have killed the horse. Oh, what shall I do with the message?” I know the length of my life is the hands of God as he has already appointed that day. But, I want to be a good steward of what he has given me which is being physically healthy as well. I don’t want to kill the horse as I have a message to deliver.
At the end of last year, my wife and I did what most Americans do or at least say they are going to do. We signed the papers and joined a gym! This gym is right next door to the church and within two miles from our house. The excuse of it being out of the way would not fly. Though we have only been members for about four months, we probably have been seriously going for the past two and half months. Besides being active, I have learned a few things from being diligent about my physical health and going to the gym. Paul did tell Timothy that physical training is of some value (1 Timothy 4:8).
1) We Pay More Attention to What We Eat
Though we aren’t perfect in this area of eating healthy, there has been a significant change in what we eat and what we serve for our meals. Our fast food intake has decreased significantly and we are mindful of what we are putting in our bodies. This was difficult at first because if we were low on groceries and the kids said the famous words, “I’m hungry” we would normally just get something fast to appease the roaring bellies.
We have packed our lunches more and strive to be more intentional with what we eat and serve our children. Being a steward of what God has given us is more than just financial or even with our time. We want to be physically ready for what the Lord has for us.
2) Working Out is a Way for Me to Blow Some Steam
Pastoral ministry comes with its fair share of problems and weights. I know that I am able to cast all my cares to the Lord because He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7) and I do. You deal with peoples burdens and it is taxing at times. Working out has allowed me to shift attention at that moment to just do something physically and that’s it. It is a way of allowing me to cast my worries or anxieties to the Lord and just do something different. In fact, when I work out I can process certain things better and spend time in prayer. I do believe the Lord uses that time to help me and remember His promises.
3) I Have More Energy
When I wasn’t physically active I found myself being very lethargic. It was harder to be motivated to do certain things. Since my wife and I have been consistantly working out, we both have more energy. We feel it, and we are both more willing to do things that normally would have seemed too much or difficult in the past. It helps in our home with our young kids as we have this extra energy.
These are just word dump of some things that has helped me seeking to be physically healthy. If you are pastor what are ways that you have been healthy physically?