Written by Bruce Osborn
Director of Spiritual Development
YMCA at Pabst Farms
Just outside of my office, our Wellness Center is full of cardio machines, free motion weights and just about every type of exercise apparatus you could imagine.
And every day they are put through their paces by trainers, members, and community participants who seek a healthier lifestyle. On top of that, our Y engages every member of the family in quality programming that seeks to infuse health and wellness in all areas of life; spirit, mind, and body. And I don’t want to brag, but our Y does an outstanding job in all these areas!
According to Statista.com, the global health and fitness industry generates more than 80 billion U.S. dollars annually. Yes, that’s 80 billion dollars! Our society does a wonderful job of promoting health and wellness, whether we, as the consumer, listen or not. Treadmills, bikes, the latest fad diets, the local 5 or 10 K, are all part of the push to make us fit. And it’s all good! I love living a lifestyle of fitness as much as anyone else. And you probably do to. But we’d be living in denial if we didn’t realize that our best efforts at fitness will still come to an end. They are temporary. It’s difficult to prove that exercise provides quantity of life, but no one would argue that it increases the quality of it.
But what about our spiritual journey? How much investment is made to make sure our faith muscle is growing stronger each day? It most likely doesn’t even come close to the amount of time, money, mental and physical energy we spend on keeping our bodies in shape. The apostle Paul instructs his young protégé, Timothy, with these words: “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” —1 Timothy 4:8.
Paul doesn’t teach us that physical training is of no use. He sees the value in it. He simply takes it a step further by showing Timothy, and us, that our spiritual journey produces far more fruit, a result that not only impacts our present life, but our life to come. A fruit that has eternal value.
So don’t stop chasing a lifestyle of health and wellness. It does add value to your life on this earth. But don’t sacrifice your faith in the attempt to gain that which is only temporary. There is value in both, but far greater value is found in chasing godliness through Jesus Christ. For Jesus himself said, “The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” —John 10:10.
What are you chasing?