Hurry Heaven

Your body, in some form, will last forever. God will remove all weakness and disease. It will be strong in heaven.
— Max Lucado

Hurry Heaven.

You know, as I navigate disability ministry and learn the ins and outs of community, the depths of suffering, the need of donations and the idea of generosity, I wonder if I’ve ever truly been generous with my health. Seriously. I mean, being generous with our time is measurable. Being generous with our money is calculable. Being generous with our resources is tangible. But short of donating a kidney, what in the world does it mean to be generous with our health? How can stewardship of our bodies be a pathway to generosity? Is it not enough to lose a few pounds, build some muscle, increase endurance, lower blood pressure? Isn't that what brings glory to His grace?

Matt Chandler doesn't mince words here when he says, "I don't care how much you're in the gym, how chiseled your abs are, how much you can bench press, what you can squat...do you really think God is impressed with that? Nobody stands in front of Everest and is impressed with their physical form. You say, "I Crossfit." You can cross all you want bro, but do you think that the God that spoke the earth into being and put it as a tiny piece of His creation is impressed with your physical body that he calls it a sacrifice holy and pleasing to me? Please."

I tell ya, the more mistakes I make and the longer I try and help others renew their perspective of the body, the more I'm convinced that God wants my heart renewed by his grace and for me to obey his commands and love others.

Like those much wiser than me, I believe we were made to worship. But I have fooled many people over the course of my life into supposing that when I train "I'm worshipping." I've even written poems about it and published chart-topping books with chapters with said theme. And while I do know there have been times where that's been true, where my heart and mind have been in His presence as I perform a certain stretch or when I'm on the bike in tune to His will, I also know I'm full of nonsense in so many ways. And nobody knows it more than the God of the universe that I mock when I secretly, privately and oftentimes publicly glory in my own physical accomplishments. 

Truth is, God doesn't need my lift or my grit. He doesn't need my squat, my flexibility, my PR, my competitive heart. He doesn't need me. He doesn't need me strong, fast, thick, or thin. He doesn't need me lighter, quicker, more intense or less. He doesn't even need me around.

And yet somehow in his immeasurable grace and mercy He just wants me and loves me. He wants a relationship with me. He died on the cross and made the sacrifice for all my sins, so I don't have to work my way to Heaven, but I simply need to accept Him by grace through faith.

Which leads me a long way to the point of this entry. The most generous thing we can do with our health is offer it up as a living sacrifice because of the sacrifice He became for us. And our living sacrifice has NOTHING to do with our performance in some gym, how well we plan our meals, or in the byproducts of our diligence. But our living sacrifice has everything to do with hearts being changed by the grace of God and in the spiritual change that occurs with and through our bodies as a result.

God will glorify our bodies. That's not our job. Our job is to follow Jesus and encourage others to do the same, and "for the glory of God" we look after ourselves in the process. God cares more about our bodies than we do. He made them, He knows we need them and someday He'll heal them.

Hurry Heaven.

- Jimmy Peña