OVERCOMING THE RETIREMENT SYNDROME
By Henry Jaegers
GIVING GOD A HEALTHY BODY
Why is it, that it seems that some of the most important lessons we have to learn in life happen when it seems like it's too late? I am speaking particularly of this matter of giving God a healthy body. It is entirely scriptural yet it seems that we over emphasize the spiritual aspects of life and neglect the physical.
I received a wake-up call one Sunday morning as I was listening to one of my favorite preachers on television. He was talking to his congregation about this matter of giving to God a healthy body. Of course the reason for this message was to encourage its members to consider building a health club (which they did) as part of the church's ministry and they thought that this was a good way of getting Christians back into improved physical health.
Up until that time it never occurred to me that this was important. Over the years while in the ministry I lived a very sedate life and the most exercise that I could recall doing was hiking in the Rocky Mountains for moose and playing golf occasionally in Canada on Sand Greens. If you ever want to overcome the addiction of golf, playing on sand greens would do it. There were no golf carts and we walked the whole course. We had to rake (There were no putting sands to practice on.) the sand greens and make a path to the hole before putting. When you finished putting you had to rake the green for the next player, So there was a little bit of work involved in that kind of golf. Fortunately for me that was the only kind of golf where I lived, so playing golf became hard work and I wasn't so inclined to do that. Besides, I wasn't in the best of physical health. When I left Canada and came back to the states I was in very bad physical shape. I was more than 80 pounds overweight and my blood pressure was extremely high. I was 48 years old and was motivated to do something different with my life.. I decided to begin jogging. I read all the books on the subject that I could get my hand on at the time and was well informed is I began a strict regimented program. When I was 50, I ran my first 10K and won first place for the age category over 50 years old.(I was the only one over 50 that ran that year so I could have walked it and run the prize.) My average running speed was between an eight and 9 minute mile and I looked at that as quite respectable. Shortly after that I became very sick and had to stop running for a long time. When I did start again I tore the cartilage in my knee so running has not been the priority anymore. However, I still exercise regularly. I fortunately have a job that is physically demanding and I walk 10 miles per day at work.. I'm very thankful at 75 that I have this job. I have many opportunities to minister to people as well as keep myself healthy. I'm writing this article then, and as I do so it is with the understanding that giving God a healthy body is just as important as given him us healthy soul and healthy spirit. Sometimes I experience some pain and think that maybe retirement would be a good thing. But then, I realize retirement may hinder me from being physically involved as well as being with friends at work. That would be a great loss.
I share this personal experience with you because I want you to know that I think it is important to the point that I am doing it myself. I get a physical twice a year and that helps me to understand what's happening in my body. I took a test recently and found out that my health age is 62. I guess that's pretty good since I'm going on 76 this year. I guess it does keep me younger and most people guess my age at about 60. It does have some outward benefits.
I love writing, and it has become one of my favorite activities. But I am facing a problem that I know exists in my life and is going to affect my ability to write. I have macular degeneration and cataracts as well. None of those are hindrances right now but I noticed that I need larger print to read and it doesn't affect my ability to write. I guess there are some things we need to accept with growing old. Sometimes our teeth and our eyes need to have attention as well. My eye doctor has me on a diet to slow down the macular degeneration but I don't know how well it's working. As each year the doctor gives me news which is not always good news. But except for my eyesight everything else seems to be working all right. Again the point I'm trying to make is that there are some things we can do and in some things we have to make adjustments. But most of all being faithful applies in every area of life. That seems to be the theme of most of my speaking; faithfulness and truth, is something that gives me credibility.
It just makes sense, that if we are going to be useful to God and helpful to others we need to have healthy bodies. The healthier we are the longer and more effective will be our service. Serving others is what it is all about. I have lots of writing goals. I have at least five or six more books I would like to write and I am determined to stay as healthy as I possibly can to fulfill these goals. I am a person that dreams a lot. I have lots of ideas and I call them
“Births of a vision’. However, it seems that I experienced more
“Deaths of a vision" but I'm not discouraged. I see them as opportunities to find open doors.
But back to the Bible. Does the Bible say anything about giving God a healthy body? What do you think? The first verse that comes to mind is in Romans chapter 12 were Paul begins by saying " I beseech you brothers by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Now that's interesting; giving God a holy and healthy body is reasonable service. How many of us ever think of that Paul also says in the next verse, verse two, “to be transformed by the renewing of our minds proving what is good, acceptable and perfect.” This is a very interesting passage in Scripture because in essence it includes body soul and mind as part of the spiritual growth process. God is pleased when we give him a healthy body and it just stands to reason that we experience extreme pleasure is well. What benefit is there to anyone when I am sick and am self absorbed with my infirmities? This verse teaches us the importance of healthy minds and healthy bodies. What we put into our minds is what controls us. It is the CPU of our life. I purchased the Kindle reader for my wife for Valentine's Day but I'm the one that's getting the most benefit from it. I have about 25 or 30 books on here that try to spend at least 2-3 hours a day reading. Since I started writing, watching television has taken a low priority. Last year I never missed a pro football game: this year I watch less than half of two playoff games I did force myself to watch the Super Bowl (Ha!), Although I did not intend to get into the spiritual aspect, it's hard to talk about giving God a healthy body without recognizing that priority.
Another area in Scripture which deals with giving God a healthy body is found in the book of I Corinthians chapter 6 verses 12 through 20. This passage is quite comprehensive when it comes to dealing with the activities of the body. He deals with some excesses for which this church is guilty. First he deals with excessive eating in verse 13 he said that food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food and they will all perish sometime. Second he talks about the immorality that they are engaged in and how they allow their bodies to be controlled by their sinful minds. Here again we have the mind having something to do with controlling the body. In verse 15 Paul reminds the Corinthians that their bodies are members of Christ. “And shall I take those bodies which are members of Christ and expend them among prostitutes? God for bid.” In verse 18 they are told to flee from immorality; every sin that we commit is outside the body but when we commit immorality we sin against our bodies. We may not fully understand that but it's clear when it comes to the marriage relationship as well. We sin against that particular union when immorality is committed then he finalizes his message with this “or do you not know that your body is a Temple of God the Holy Spirit who is in you and you are not your own for you have been bought with a price”. That price is a precious blood of the perfect Christ allowed by the perfect God. That price that was paid for our souls results in freedom from guilt and total pardon and wholeness. That's what we can look forward to when we give God a healthy body. Then Paul closes chapter 6 with these words" for you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body". In Hebrews chapter 10 verse 22 we have another interesting verse." Let us join near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water". It is the blood of Jesus that gives us standing before a holy God and when we come to him with true hearts and the desire to be rid of our sin the result is forgiveness and total pardon from guilt. There is no guilt over past sins because God has declared us righteous and clean. Knowing that, faith steps in and grasps hold of that wonderful promises and we are totally clean. That's the meaning of the word born again. Forgiveness by God, and an opportunity to start over with a new slate. From there new life, new purpose, and new relationships begin." Born Again": It is a wonderful opportunity and an inexpressible experience as we live daily in the presence of a holy God. You can even feel the wholeness that has taken place and experience the freedom that truth brings and the freshness that comes when the old sinful baggage is removed.
Giving God a healthy body enables you to experience the maximum potential that you have left in order to be a blessing to other people.
I would like to close this section with a word regarding the importance of what we put into our minds. In Joshua 1:7, 8, God gave this promise to Joshua as he was about to lead God's people into the Promised Land. It is important first to know, that when God gave this command to Joshua, was over 80 years old. Here is the command and the promise that God gave to him." Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper wherever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shall have good success." We may reason that Joshua, Moses and Caleb were at an advantage, because they didn't have all those distractions that we have right now. But I would think that the plagues in Egypt, the journey through the desert, the opening of the Red Sea and the fighting the enemy was just as distracting as anything we could face now. We cannot blame our circumstances for our choices. It is very important that in order to clean up areas of our lives, we must spend time putting into our minds those things that will build us up. The more I spend meditating on the word of God and thinking of this application to my life the greater potential there will be for our being successful. In the case of Joshua success did not mean material prosperity, unending pleasures, or unlimited power and privilege. Success in the context of the Scripture refers to the success that will take place in doing God’s work. That includes the efforts we make in giving God a healthy body. I realize that as we get older the opportunities for such become less. In light of that, we can give God what we have, and determine to improve where possible. Giving God a healthy body ensures a greater quality of ministry. Perhaps in retrospect, we now realize what we could have done if we were wiser and more informed. The good news is mthat we don't have to worry about that now. What is important is what I have left to give Him. Failure through ignorance is forgivable however, failure because of deliberately wrong choices and failure to learn from the past is lamentable. " Well done, thou good and faithful servant: enter into the joy of thy Lord." Is the word of God to those who are faithful. To those who are unfaithful God's word to them is" departure me, I never knew you". The choices that we make are important