Better Than I Deserve

Been a while since I've been able to find my writing corner. Many of you know we're getting ready for our Israel trip next week, and I've been on a consulting gig for the past 2 months, so I'm grateful for your grace. For 7 years, we've been filling your inbox, and it's something I don't take lightly. It's just, the last month or two have been trying to say the least.

But as I type that, I think back to a few hours ago; walking the halls of the Ventura County Rescue Mission. With 150 beds, hundreds of recovering addicts - whose days begin before dawn for work and Bible study; and a leadership and volunteer base that serve 700 hot meals a day to the hungry homeless - I'd like to rephrase my predicament. Let me just say, I'm better than I deserve.

This last weekend, Loretta and I once again were honored to spend time with special needs kids at Calvary Community Church. 'Buddy Break,' is simply a time for parents to get a much needed rest; where kids with autism or other illnesses are paired with people like me and Loretta to just play and hang so their parents can have a date, watch a movie, go to lunch, take a nap.

I was once again paired with Jordan. Jordan asks me every question he can imagine. And I love him for it. He's trapped inside, and his mind races a mile a minute to repeat his question about the color of the sky, or what sound a frog makes, and if I like mustard; questions I'm blessed to answer as many times as he asks it. Yes, I'm better than I deserve.

Some people may say that my message of "faith and fitness" has grown soft. That this old bodybuilder doesn't spend enough time in the gym; doesn't talk weights or celebrate achieved goals like the rest of the industry. And they'd be right. Beat that with a stick. But by grace, the smaller my arms get, the stronger they grow.  

Honoring God with my body isn't about goals. It isn't about weights or sets or reps or beating yesterday's best. Write this down: Those things describe capability, not impact. Besides, how fit do I need to be to feed the hungry, help the poor, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless? I don't need a heavy set of ten. I need a heavy heart. Stewardship doesn't require a pump, just a pulse.

- Jimmy Peña