Want a ‘Bod4God?’ Learn how to get one

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, January 15, 2014

by Brandon Robbins

A few years ago, my grandma asked for a cell phone for Christmas. For months, we had been using our phones to show her family pictures that we had taken or that had been posted on Facebook. She got so excited about the idea of being able to see new pictures of her grandchildren at a moment’s notice that she soon began asking for an iPhone of her own.

There was only one problem: my grandma had no idea how to use an iPhone. In all honesty, she really had no idea how to use any type of cell phone. She’d mastered the home phone over the years, but cell phones always seemed to give her trouble.

So, to get her an iPhone seemed preposterous. She wouldn’t even know where to begin. We’d be throwing hundreds of dollars away each year for something she’d probably get frustrated or bored with after a few months.

This reminds me of a similar story in the Bible. Thousands of years ago, God’s people, the Israelites, were slaves in Egypt. For hundreds of years, they had been crying out for God to save them. And finally, God responded.

God called upon a man named Moses to lead the people to freedom. Moses would go to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and demand that the people be set free. He would perform signs and wonders that would convince Pharaoh to let them go. It would be a piece of cake.

There was only one slight problem: Moses wasn’t really much of a public speaker, or a leader for that matter. Throughout his life, he had suffered from a debilitating speech impediment, which prevented him from ever speaking to large crowds. In addition, he was known throughout the Israelite community as a murderer, which didn’t exactly make him a prime candidate for leadership experience.

What these two stories share in common are characters who are trying to do something for which they have no knowledge or experience. My grandma had no idea how to use a smart phone and Moses was in no way fit to lead an entire nation to freedom. However, even though their obstacles were looming, they were not insurmountable.

In the case of my grandmother, I solved our dilemma by giving her my old, deactivated iPhone with a bunch of family pictures loaded on it. This way, she could have all of the pictures without any of the bills. She never knew the difference. All I had to do was show her how to perform a few simple functions.

Moses, on the other hand, required a little more assistance. He had to rely upon God to guide him along every step of the journey. God would give him the words to say when the moment arose, or provide someone else to speak them. God would change people’s hearts, open their ears, and capture their attention. Moses may not have had the knowledge or experience to achieve his task, but that was okay. God would fill in the gaps.

For many of us, I feel like this is the situation we find ourselves in when it comes to taking care of our bodies. We want to take care of them. We have people who tell us that we need to take care of them. There is only one problem: we don’t know how to do it.

Our entire lives, we have become accustomed to eating a certain diet (good or bad). And while we know that some foods may be healthier than others, we don’t know how to cook them or incorporate them into our lives.

We hear about popular diet programs that seem effective, but none of them seem to provide long-term solutions. Where we really need help is in learning how to formulate a lifestyle of healthy eating.

And when it comes to exercise, we know that we’re supposed to exercise, but we don’t know how to do it effectively. We’ve tried walking, jogging, cycling, ellipticals, treadmills and gym memberships. Some may have worked for a while, but then we hit a plateau. Ultimately, we’re left wondering if there is something more effective. But we just don’t know where to start looking.

For most of us, we have good intentions when it comes to our bodies. We just lack the knowledge to help us carry them out.

That’s why, for the month of January, we’re doing a sermon series called “Bod4God” at Courtland United Methodist Church, based on the book by Steve Reynolds.

Each week, we look at what the Bible says about what it means to take care of our bodies and how we can actually do that.

And this past week after our worship service, we offered a free health fair. We saw it as an opportunity to help people find the knowledge that can turn their desires of taking care of their bodies into a reality.

We had nursing students from Southampton Memorial Hospital offering free health screenings. There were tables hosted by professionals in the field of health and wellness offering nutrition advice, healthy recipes, food samples and free massages. We will also previewed some of our new workout groups that will be starting up in the next few weeks.

The truth is, sometimes the only difference between wanting to be healthy and actually achieving it is knowledge. And that Sunday, that’s exactly what we hoped to offer.

So may you realize that there is hope when it comes to taking care of your body. May you recognize the areas where a lack of knowledge and resources is holding you back.

And this week, may you take the necessary steps to acquire those tools, positioning yourself to achieve the standard of health you’ve always desired, and that God has always longed for you to have.

BRANDON ROBBINS is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or pastor@courtlandumcva.org.