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How exercise, rest, and healthy eating impact my ministry [Time Out]

Topic / Time Out

Time Out quiet times for the youth worker's soulTime Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.

Over the next year, on the first Monday of the month, we’re going to be running a series within Time Out called, “Life Lessons,” by Jerry Schmoyer (Tim’s dad). Here’s a note from Jerry:

As I approach retirement age and look back on a lifetime of ministry I realize there are some important principles I have learned. I’d like to share some of these with you. I’m sure God is teaching you these same truths and I hope that explaining them from my perspective can benefit you and your ministry.

Life Lesson #11: Invest In Your Health Every Day

Healthy living has always been a top priority of mine so I must add it to my list of lessons I have learned in life. As a child I became convicted of the importance of proper diet, rest and exercise. God has blessed me with excellent health even though I am in my 60’s. It’s taken time and effort, but it has been worth it.

God has given me one life and one body in which to live that life. While I have no desire to stay on this earth longer than God wants, I can affect the quality of my time here. Being a good steward of what God has given me includes stewardship of my body. Eating healthy food is a must. Getting enough rest and sleep are also essential. Exercise is crucial, not optional.

I’ve made it a goal to exercise an hour a day 6 days a week. I’ve been doing that since high school. That adds up to well over a full year of my life spent in nothing but exercise. Is it good stewardship to spend so much time maintaining my body when there is so much ministry work to do in the world? I say definitely YES!

While time spent exercising adds up to well over a year, it also is only a year of my life. I gain far more than it has cost me. While running is my first love and my basic means of exercise, I also do a lot of biking as well as using the exercise equipment at our local YMCA. The time I spend at this, especially running and biking, gives my mind a time to relax and refresh.

  • I can meditate, pray, listen to God
  • Listen to uplifting music and messages
  • Worship
  • Memorize Scripture
  • Or do any number of good mental activities when I don’t do when I am busy.

It is my most creative time of the day and often my most mentally productive time, as well.

Although exercise takes time, I know I have gained more productive time than I have lost.

  • I function more efficiently all day and sleep better at night when I exercise.
  • I rarely get sick and have missed hardly any time due to illness my whole life.
  • My quality of life is better even if I don’t live any longer.
  • I save money and time by not visiting doctors and being in the hospital.
  • I set a better example for others.
  • I enjoy life better.

I even enjoy my times of exercise each day. The last several years my wife has been running or biking with me several times a week and these have become special times for us to share together, as well. I travel to India yearly and am able to keep up a very active schedule in difficult living conditions while there. So I know the time I have invested in exercise have been well worth it in all ways.

While I confess to a love for chocolate, I have always tried to eat a healthy diet, as well. That, too, takes time and discipline, but it is also worth it. My weight, health, heart and overall health is greatly affected by my diet. I feel better, function more fully and enjoy everything more because of it. The exercise in practicing self-control is good as well.

In addition, I have always tried to keep up on my rest. I need to average 8 hours of sleep a night to function at my best efficiency and so that has been a priority as well. Rest and relaxation as well as hobbies and times of fun and enjoyment are also important to balance work and stress in life.

I owe it to my family and church, my wife and children, myself and especially to God to be a good steward of all he as given me, including my health and body. So do you!

Scripture

  • 1 Kings 19:3-6, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life…. Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.”
  • Ps 127:2, “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.”
  • 1 Cor 9:27, “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Reflect

  • What are some of the good things you do to stay healthy?
  • Is God convicting you about your stewardship of your body? Where is improvement needed: diet, rest or exercise (or more than one)?
  • Write down several steps you can take starting today to become a better steward of your health.
  • Pray and ask God to give you the self control needed to make these changes starting now.

Posted on November 7, 2011

  • Daniel

    Thanks for the reminder. Something else I find helpful for me as I try to stay healthy is water, water, water. When I'm thirsty, I'm not much fun to be around :)

    One area I am working on is not necessarily making sure I eat the right food, as it is making sure I eat at the right times. If I have lunch later than usual, it does the same thing to me as not drinking enough water. Good thing I have a wonderful wife, who makes wonderful food… which means delicious lunch leftovers! Also, Trader Joe's trail mix is a daily must.

    • Good thoughts, Daniel! We recently started trying to eat our main meal together at lunch instead of dinner. Working from home gives us the flexibility to do that, but supposedly it's better for ya than loading up when your metabolism is slowing down. *shrugs*

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