Sunday, June 4, 2017
Are you an Enthusiast?
HERE’S TO GOOD HEALTH!
It has been a hectic couple of weeks, and the blogposts have suffered as a result. However, I am back now and wanted to share something I experienced that got me thinking. I was out walking the dog in the neighborhood early one Sunday morning and was passed by some cyclists out for an early start on their bicycle journey. All of the bikers appeared to be exercise enthusiasts, strong and fit. I suspect they do things like this regularly. They were all dressed in the popular biking shorts, looking the part of bicycle racers. I could be wrong, but I suspect they were going to spend their Sunday morning on their bikes rather than going home to get cleaned up and attend worship after their morning ride.
I know a number of fitness enthusiasts, and suspect you do as well. I know other health fanatics who carefully watch the foods that they eat, and consume various supplements and vitamins in their diet. Other folks focus on their emotional and mental well-being, involving themselves in activities such as regular meditation, therapy and relaxation practices. There are billions of dollars spent (and made!) every year in these activities that, for some, become almost an obsession. And yet, so many of the people who are highly committed to healthy mind, body and emotions, like the bicyclists I saw riding by this morning, give little or no thought to their spiritual needs and well being.
It makes me think of the time Jesus said,
“ For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”---Mark 8:36 (NASB)
All of this attention placed upon our physical bodies, upon our mental and emotional health, and yet, the eternal destiny of the soul is, at best, a tangential concern. Or, worse, the spiritual disciplines practiced are based on human imaginations, with no real basis in history or the divine. It is a sad thing to consider that these people will enter their grave in great physical, mental and emotional health, but paupers in spirit with no inclination or hope for their eternal destiny.
On the other hand, I have also found myself wondering what our churches would be like if believers were as avid enthusiasts about nurturing their Christian spirituality as today’s health and fitness enthusiasts are about their activities. Hours spent daily at gyms and exercise machines, extreme and meticulous preparation of meals and supplements… these folks believe in the importance of what they are doing and their actions show it. Such a charge could not be made of many who fill our churches on Sundays to offer a mere hour or so a week for the development of what is, eternally, the most important part of their lives!
What does any of this have to do with divorce? I think it has to do with every crisis we face in life. Those stressful moments are experiences that can compel us to actively and aggressively pursue the strength of God, or, for many become the cause of turning away from any spiritual discipline at all. In addition, handling well the crises of life spiritually is often determined by how well prepared one is prior to the arrival of the crisis. Those who in the midst of a crisis have no inner relationship with God upon which to draw may find themselves cast upon the rocky shores and shipwrecked.
Whatever your station in life at this time, I invite you….no I strongly encourage you to do some introspection and consider how well you are doing at developing and caring for those deepest parts of you called your spirit or soul. Does your life’s activities reflect a kind of priority on you relationship with God that will stand the tests not only of time, but also of eternity. Jesus had a harsh warning for those whose priorities were misaligned and become neglectful of the nuture of their spiritual relationship with God. He told a story about a man who was obsessed with gathering wealth and seeking security in life, and the story ends with God speaking to the man the following words:
You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?---Luke 12:20 (NASB)