I love ice cream. I love fried chicken. I love chips and queso. I love doughnuts.
I hate running. I hate jogging. I hate walking up a hill. I hate sweating.
Okay, enough with the confession. But be honest, does this resonate with you?
A Series of Choices
If you open your Bible, it won’t take you long to find out that humans don’t always make the best choices. Most of the time we make the worst possible choices. We make choices that do more harm than good.
We know what is right but we desire what is wrong. Sin wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t tempting, right?
It should come as no surprise then that many of us struggle with making all the wrong choices when it comes to our physical health, especially in three main areas: Rest, Diet, and Exercise.
When you read those words you cringed. Admit it.
We church planters are a busy bunch. We are driven by godly ambition to burn the candle at both ends.
Our days are filled with meetings, phone calls, sermon preparation, content creation, fundraising, team building, culture-making, and I hope a good deal of praying and meditating on God’s Word (though we’d probably admit this area of our lives could probably be better).
Some of us might be able to squeeze in a date night with our rockstar wife who is just as busy behind the scenes. Yet many of us neglect our physical health in pursuit of the worthwhile goal of seeing a local church planted in a community where it can shine for Jesus.
We know all the right answers. We grow up knowing that a person needs a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
But what good is this knowledge if you choose not to act on it?
You Are Not a Robot
Many of us grind and hustle day in and day out like we are a machine and not a human. We act as if we are the Terminator and we have been reprogrammed and sent from the future to plant churches. But Genesis paints a different picture.
In the first chapters of Genesis we see that we are made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), we are flesh and blood (Gen 2:22-23), and we aren’t invincible (Gen 3:19).
In the fallen world there is now disease, fatigue, and frailty. Many of us choose to ignore this reality, supplementing our sleeplessness with coffee and energy drinks, grabbing a burger or taco in between meetings, taking symptom relief instead of going to the doctor.
These quick fixes help patch the hole in the ship, but I assure you that it is taking on water. To truly recover we need two important ingredients that most of us struggle with: Rest & Discipline.
Rest & Discipline
On the seventh day, God rested from His work. In the middle of a storm, Jesus was taking a nap. Don’t miss this. Jesus took naps. Jesus was also the one who said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not the man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).
Then later in the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus describing the Kingdom of God through a parable about a guy planting seed and then going to sleep.
“He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how” (Mark 4:27).
When you read these verses, can you sense Jesus inviting you to rest? To embrace the unburdened life?
Unfortunately, our pride oftentimes won’t allow it. We like to be busy. We like to be productive. We like the results. But what kind of results will we see if we are too sick and tired to scatter the seed?
What we need is a good, healthy dose of discipline. It takes discipline to go to bed early and wake up early. It takes discipline to spend 30-60 minutes doing a workout or going for a bike ride. It takes discipline to opt for a healthier option at the drive-thru.
It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. The benefit of these better choices will be an improved quality of life, longevity in ministry, and a better public witness.
If you want help with diet and exercise, check out PastorFit.com. It is a great resource for ministry leaders who might not have a lot of knowledge and experience in this area.
Church planting isn’t easy. Don’t make it harder by neglecting your physical health. This Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. So prepare to run far and run well.
Logan is a missionary church planter with the IMB in Reykjavik, Iceland. Learn more about Logan and The Iceland Project.
Have you heard this week’s podcast episode yet? Listen as Logan & Jared discuss the opportunities for evangelism and discipleship that have arisen as a result of COVID-19!