“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.
by Matt Schuler, pastor
Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels … except pizza
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10–11 ESV)
It was with a swift eye roll that I finished reading a statement I’d seen shared on social media so many times by people hoping to encourage themselves or others on the latest diet trend:
“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
It made me wonder if these people had only eaten kale their entire lives.
Have you tried pizza? Have you feasted on a gourmet donut? Have you tried the thousandth batch of cookies that was dropped by the office by the sweet, kind church lady who’s trying to care for you as a pastor?
In 1 Peter 4, the apostle writes that everyone who has received a gift should use it to serve one another, “… whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies …” and whoever bakes as one who bakes for the Lord.
Okay, I made up that last part, but sometimes it’s really hard to have concern about physical wellness when you’re concerned about the spiritual, intellectual, relational, emotional, financial and vocational wellness of yourself and your people.
You may think, I can barely squeeze in a personal prayer and Bible reading time, how am I supposed to take care of myself physically?
It may start with saying no to the baked goods and encouraging the one who serves through baking to share the delicious bounty with the new mother at your congregation, or the construction worker recovering from surgery, or anyone else who could use an encouraging, tasty treat.
You can also encourage the people who support you to do so in a way that cares for your whole person.
Perhaps, instead of buying ingredients to bake you a cake, they could help out by picking up part of your monthly gym membership or buying a book for your library.
Physical wellness can affect every aspect of your ministry, and it doesn’t have to be something that you take care of in a way that’s mutually exclusive of the other wellnesses already mentioned.
One way that physical wellness can be accomplished and support vocational and spiritual wellness is to set aside large chunks of time to do both.
Perhaps while you’re on the stationary bike, elliptical, treadmill or other piece of cardio, you set up a list for listening to focus your mind.
You could listen to your sermons or those of others for new insight you didn’t hear before or to be encouraged by God’s Word for you.
You could listen to podcasts on Lutheranism, leadership or any number of things that can benefit your vocation, and you could do it while sweating for the benefit of your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
One more thing you could do to aid physical wellness is track your intake and output.
There are free apps on every smartphone platform to help you log what you eat and how much you exercise and game-plan a strategy for maintaining, gaining or losing weight.
Most apps even have lists of food already available so that you can slot in whatever you ate, including food from restaurants.
All tools are a gift from God to help us care for and steward what He has given us.
May we use the gifts we have been given, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Matt Schuler is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Oxford, Mich.