by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
Several weeks ago while at the gym I saw a rare sight: a person sitting down on a gym couch. I chuckled as I saw this person just sitting there reading something on a smartphone. You just don’t see many people sitting down in a gym!
This caused me to start thinking. In fact I went around the gym to count how many places there were to sit at the gym. There were less than 50 chairs in the entire gym. This YMCA is one of the largest ones in the area, as far as membership, with thousands of members. Yet there in the gym, they have less than 50 places to sit.
This made me think even more (a mental and a physical exercise!)
Christians can learn a lot from gyms starting with these four lessons:
- God wants us to be active Christians. Totally involved. Gyms are meant for us to exercise and become stronger and to get the blood pumping. They are not meant as places to sit down. Even in the chapel at the gym there are only places for about ten people. They don’t plan for very many people to even want to sit down. They plan for them to move. In fact, the Bible has a similar plan for us to move and go into all the world (Matthew 28:19). This is an action word that people at the gym know all about and we can learn from that. When we are a going Christian who is going into the neighborhood and the communities in which we live, we are going to be a healthy Christian. It gets our heart moving for God when we are a going Christian. The same thing goes for us a church body.
- Everyone is doing something different at the gym. The gym has many options for different people. There are machines for cardio, machines for weight lifting, free weights, swimming, basketball courts and more. The church is also filled with people with different gifts that God has given them for building up the church. I Corinthians 12:4 states it well: “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” God gives each of us something to do and it may be very different than what someone else is doing. But it is still from God and it still leads to individual Christian and church health.
- Everyone is at different stages at the gym. The great thing about the gym I attend is that it has all ages there. There are those at the gym that look so buff and strong that they could be on the pages of a magazine. There are those at the gym like me that are just happy to be moving. There is one man at the gym that pushes his walker around the walking track. He doesn’t go fast, but he is there and he is moving. There best part is that no one is being judged. Everyone is just there doing what they need to do at the gym. Romans 12-3-8 says that there are different gifts, but each one with gifts are expected to use them. That leads to Christian and church health.
- There is a time for rest. Personal trainers will tell you that after a workout you do need time to recover. While it is rare to see someone sitting down at the gym, it is OK because there is a time to rest and recover. I feel that way every time I finish on the stair climbing machine. Jesus knew that there is a time for rest as well. After a particularly stressful time, he told his disciples that they needed to come aside and rest for awhile (Mark 6:31). There is that time to rest. But the thing that happened right after that was the feeding of the 5,000. They went aside to rest and then God immediately started them back into serving. Resting when Jesus tells you to leads to health and service for both the Christian and the church.