“One of my elderly neighbors,” Stan commented one morning,” is a real inspiration for me.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“Plural,” Stan replied. “Ways. Not only is he a committed Christian who has continued to pursue spiritual transformation and maturity as he has aged, he keeps physically fit so he will be able to pursue what God has for him to do before it’s time for him to get on the train to glory.”
“But isn’t God in charge of how long each one of us is going to stay on this side of eternity?” I observed.
“Absolutely,” Stan replied, “but my neighbor’s approach is that for as long as God chooses to leave him here, he wants to be as fit as possible so he can do what God has for him to do.”
“That is a real inspiration,” I commented. “Any idea where he got that?”
“I asked him that very question one day,” Stan replied, “while we were together after he had asked me to join him on a long walk.”
“What’d he say?”
“He pointed to something the apostle Paul had written in his second letter to the church in Corinth, where Paul was writing about being renewed.”
“Being renewed?” I replied. “How so?”
“Paul was addressing the fact that he was getting older and what he called the ‘outer man’ was decaying, but that his ‘inner man’ was being renewed. My neighbor said that he viewed what Paul had written to the church in Corinth to be a letter to him encouraging him to stay fit, both spiritually and physically, so that he would be and could do all that God had for him.”
“As long as he’s here?” I commented.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “The body will decay as a part of the aging process. That’s a given. But it doesn’t mean that I am to ignore that each day I have a role to play in slowing and not encouraging the decay so I will be available for whatever God wants to do in and through me for as long as He wants.”
Bible verses to consider: Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16.
This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.
So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the free and gracious gift of being able to spend eternity in your presence when my time here is done. Thank you, too, for the life you have given me to live for you before I step into eternity. Only you know how many days I have before it’s time to board the train. I confess that too often I do not pursue the fitness you have for me, both spiritually and physically. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am as fit as I can possibly be. Fit spiritually so I am drawing ever closer to you, and fit physically so I can do all you have for me to do in helping others come to the truth of your provision for both sides of eternity. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you have the assurance of spending eternity in God’s presence when it’s time? If no, why? Do you not know it is a free and gracious gift that only needs to be accepted? If you do have that assurance, how are you doing in keeping fit before your time here is completed? Fit both spiritually so you are drawing ever closer to God in a deepening relationship, and fit physically so you can do what God has for you to do? If you sense changes are needed in either or both, how is that going to happen? Do you want it to happen? Why or why not?