Yesterday we visited the first two bays in the Soul Care Garage. Today we visit Service Bays 3&4.
Service Bay 3: Recreation
Bodily exercise is profitable (1 Tim. 4:8). Moderate physical exercise helps to expel unhelpful chemicals from our system and stimulates the production of helpful chemicals. Outdoor exercise has the added benefit of the sun’s healing rays. Spurgeon said: “The next best thing to the grace of God for a preacher is oxygen.”
John Wesley attributed his great age and remarkable usefulness even in his eighties to God’s power, prayer, and his regular exercise in the fresh air! William Blaikie said: “It is very certain that due attention to physical exercise is an essential condition of sustained vigorous preaching. The command to be ‘strong in the Lord’ includes strength of body as well of strength of soul.”
Is God glorified in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:20) when we rob them of what they need to function properly? Do we glorify our Creator when we remain willingly ignorant of or reject the knowledge He has kindly provided in His created order, information that we need to keep our re-create our bodies and stay healthy?
Service Bay 4: Rest
A Christian psychologist said to me that he starts most depressed people on three pills: “Good exercise, good diet, and good sleep!” That’s great advice, and I would encourage you to make use of the plentiful resources available today on these subjects.
As regular sleep patterns enable the body and mind to repair and re-charge, set fixed times for going to bed and getting up, and try to get at a minimum of seven, and an ideal of eight hours, of sleep per night.
And remember God’s gift of weekly rest. Secure a weekly intellectual Sabbath to refresh your mind. The devotion of one day to rest will not lose you time but rather help you to gain it as the other days will be more decisive and vigorous.
My wife has forced me to take one day off a week throughout my ministry; usually it was a Monday as we were home-schooling. Perhaps twice I managed to persuade her that I really needed the rest day to be a work day, but both weeks were a disaster. Overall I accomplished less than I would have had I taken the day off and properly rested my body and mind.
Small print for pastors?
It doesn’t say, “Six days you shall labor…unless you are a pastor who must work seven.” It’s a command…”Six days you shall labor, but the seventh is to be a Sabbath of rest.” It takes faith to obey this. Reason and society says, “If you work seven days you’ll get more done!” But as you practice weekly Sabbath, you will begin to see how gracious, merciful, and wise God’s commands are.
Tomorrow we’ll visit another two service bays in the Soul Care Garage.
This is an edited version of an article that was first published at Gospel Centered Discipleship.