I lost my interest in running when…well, I never had one. I faked it for a few years as a soldier in the Army, but as I recall, getting up at 0-dark-thirty to suck the painful, morning air never felt near as good as an 8am rise-and-shine with a hot mug of Breakfast Blend and a small plate of smoked bacon. Yet, that’s what I did for most of the twelve years I served. So, it was more of an obligation than an interest.
While Uncle Sam no longer wakes me up at ungodly hours, I decided a few years ago to seriously try and hunt down an interest in running. I say hunt, because it’s not easy to merely find such an interest. My prowess as a hunter sucks, of course. I ran one Monday, thought very seriously about running on Tuesday and played tennis for an hour on Wednesday. Then it got a bit stale after that. A host of excuses sold me on the idea that sedentary behaviour wasn't so bad.
Why bother? Since death will come visit me one day and usher in a glorious forever with the One who loves me whether I run or not, what’s the point? To intentionally and voluntarily conduct an activity for the sole purpose of making my heart beat at speeds well above its norm strikes me as loony. If the only focus behind habitual running is living longer, thus delaying the journey to heaven, I’d much rather have the coffee and bacon, thank you.
Here’s why. In addition to being a hunter, I am also a caretaker. I don’t clean office buildings or horse stables. I don’t sweep up after hormonal junior high types nor do I curate in a museum of beautiful art. Rather, I am a caretaker of my own physical body.
The apostle Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Every day, so many of us live as though we have no idea what these verses mean. The One True God, Commander-in-Chief of the universe dwells within those who believe. Forgetting for a moment that this statement doesn’t even make sense to me, the bigger point seems to be that God calls my body a figurative or possibly even a literal place of residence! Did I pick up before He moved in, stuffing dirty laundry in dark closets, hoping He might not look for dust bunnies under the couch?
Sorry, getting lost in the metaphor again. What I eat and how much of it I eat matters. Keeping my body healthy with activity is more than just a longevity thing. It’s about stewardship.
What about your stewardship? Do you eat like a caretaker or like a lavish monarch? Do you tend the temple with regular activity or regular apathy? Consider the eternal benefits of taking the trash out this week. Commit yourself to cleaning the house of God. I don’t want to do this alone; it’s better to run with a buddy. I’m not even saying that you have to run. Activity comes in many colours (running, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, tennis, gardening, children-chasing, spouse-chasing, political arguing, etc.) and both the vegetarian and the carnivore make exceptional caretakers. As for you vegans, well, you might want to consider hiring a maid or something. Come on vegans, give us a ha-ha-ha. Of course I’m kidding. When we all get to heaven, I’ll buy you a kelp smoothie.
Together, let’s strive to be caretakers of our bodies out of love for the One who constructed it and dwells in it. As for me, I will continue the hunt.