Nutrition, Exercising, and . . . Pastors?

In our young adult Bible Study (Faith Cafe) we looked at what the Bible had to say about our eating habits and whether it is biblical to watch what we consume, or do we have a license to eat whatever we want no matter how big or out of shape we get?

We hear pastors rail on the evils of society (drinking, drugs, etc…) but how many speak on taking care of our selves when it comes to food and exercise? I am in South Carolina. Every church outing or meeting has Krispy Kreme and/or something fried. Most of the time, both. Now to his credit, my senior pastor has spoken about diet and exercise and he takes great care of himself. But does he represent the majority of church leadership?

Four years ago my blood pressure shot up and wouldn’t go down. The doctor told me to change what I eat and exercise or I may not be around long. I was 32 and not overly big, but much bigger than I should have been. And I was eating fast food and living a sedentary lifestyle. But I didn’t realize it. I had always been active and in good shape. Somehow over about a 4-5 year period it crept up on me. It never really occurred to me that what I eat made a difference.

But luckily I married a very health conscious Jersey girl. She didn’t even know food could be fried, and still doesn’t. But we were married 4 years before I ever caught on to what she was saying. Because I travel around town a lot I would eat out all week. I finally had a “come to Jesus meeting” with myself (after the doctor visit) and made some changes, slowly but surely.

I starting cycling about a year and half ago and it has made a huge difference in how I feel but also in how I feel about myself. I no longer see myself as lazy and out of shape. I have a long way to go, and my blood pressure hasn’t changed much even though I’ve lost over 25 pounds, but I’m getting there. (I’m 5’8 1/2 and was at 223 lbs. when I went to the doctor) To me it is as much to do with stewardship of this body God gave me as it is living long enough to see my kids grow old. (which I know is no guarantee, but I don’t want to die of something I could have prevented)

Both of my dad’s parents died of heart attacks in their 60’s and my dad, 60, had a heart attack earlier this year. I want to break that generational curse.

What is the role of pastors and church leadership, (pastors, Sunday school teachers, deacons, etc…) when it comes to stewardship of our bodies? Is it something we should be teaching? If so, how about the example we must set? What are some ways we can creatively engage our congregations or classes in healthy studies in exercise and nutrition? It seems more and more people want to eat healthier but don’t know what proper nutrition is. It’s not a matter of healthy vs. non-healthy, but what in the world does healthy mean?

With the obesity levels growing every year, and our children being offered more and more reasons to stay in doors, now is the time to actively seek the heart of God for our health.

For an excellent article on pastors and obesity read this blog by Perry Noble. (This is the second of a 2 part series. You should read the first part to hear his story. It is from the heart)

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