Today I want to address the church. There’s a question burning on my heart: Does God care about our health? Our physical health. We address emotional and spiritual health all the time in the church community, but does God care about our physical health? There are some who might say no, but I’m guessing the majority would say yes without hesitation. So, if He cares, should we care? How much should we care? Do we have a mission to help people physically as well as spiritually and emotionally? Of course, there are missionaries all over the world giving physical nourishment in the form of food as a way to show Christ. This is great. I’m speaking, however, a little closer to home. What is our responsibility, our stewardship, in terms of our own bodies, our children’s bodies, our church community’s bodies?
You see, I’ve been in church my whole life and following Christ for 15 years, yet I’ve never heard a sermon on nutrition. I’ve never seen a church be concerned about what they are serving in the pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners. Heck, the church that I grew up attending had donuts for free every week! I lived extremely unhealthy for many years and paid the price.
I was a Christian counselor in private practice and dealt with people who had all sorts of struggles. Did I ever ask them what they were eating? No, not really. Did you know that anxiety and depression can be caused by poor nutrition? And then my own poor diet resulted in me having to leave clients mid-progress. I had to quit my job when I couldn’t walk farther than the bathroom.
So why should Christians be concerned? My sickness taught me a lot of things. One thing I learned is that God created my body to be well. He knit together every cell in my immune system, for instance, with the intention that my body would function well and free of infection, illness, etc. Sure, there are viruses and parasites and such that exist. Inevitably we are going to be sick from time to time. But, are we meant to have chronic, life-threatening illnesses at age 30? Are we created with an immune system that aims to attack itself? Think about it. Was this God’s plan? Well, you may blame it on The Fall and say it is His plan. But isn’t that just an excuse? I mean we can blame anything on The Fall. That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything about it.
Why should Christians be concerned about physical health? Because poor health lowers our effectiveness for Christ. When we are sick, we don’t feel like (or sometimes aren’t able to) ministering to others. I spent over a year unable to be active in ministry. I realize for many who are ill there are ways to minister still. The point is, we are less effective when we are physically weak. It is hard on our emotional and spiritual strength when we are ill and weak.
I’ve learned so much about the body through this journey. And I’m still learning. I mostly study the immune system because I have autoimmunity. I never cease to be amazed at all of the defenses the Lord has gifted our bodies. I also never cease to be amazed by how much we seek to destroy those defenses with the way we eat. Shouldn’t we, as a church, be cognizant of what we are feeding ourselves and others? I get it. We can’t preach what foods are good and bad from the pulpit. This seems to change every 10 years any way. I think we should, however, preach good stewardship over our bodies. We should, howver, encourage one another to research what we allow in our bodies. We should, however, watch what we’re serving after church in Christ’s name. What would Jesus think of donuts being served in His name? If we collect a lot of donations for third world countries by selling junk to our own members and causing disease in them, is that okay? I’m not guilting anyone. I’m simply attempting to bring light to a subject that I haven’t heard many talking about.
I’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts! Please comment below. And don’t forget to share with others. Let’s spread this message of stewardship over our bodies.
Photo Credit: Josh Freshy via Compfight cc