Stewarding My Body

  • Dec. 15, 2015
  • #8772

Training the body with diet and exercise results in the ability to become useful vessels in the kingdom of God.

Stewarding My Body

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a word about stewardship.

Now I know that word is usually associated with giving and managing one’s wealth. But I think stewardship is a great word when it comes to managing my body. After all, it’s a gift, and a precious one at that. Even the apostle Paul says in I Corinthians chapter 9, verse 27, “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” I think other translations say that he beats his body into submission. But basically, it means that we need to train our bodies to do what they should do.

And although I have been a quadriplegic for decades, I am dedicated to being a good steward of my body: I treat it well, I keep it free of pressure sores and infections as best I can, I keep my body well hydrated and eat all the right things. In fact, people often comment that I maintain a good weight, but honestly, my primary focus isn’t to look good in a mirror; no, my focus is to keep weight off so that my husband and friends can more easily lift me in and out of my wheelchair. I call my diet (and this really is kind of funny); I call it my “solemn obligation.” If a friend and I are eating out and she happens to say, “Joni, wouldn’t you like French fries with your salad?” I will more than often smile and say, “I am solemnly obligated to say no.”

It’s why I drink so much water. It’s not that I want to keep my complexion clear, although that’s kind of nice, it’s that I don’t want to be weighed down with a lot of bladder infections. So, yes, I'm a good steward of the body God has given me, even though this body doesn’t work like everyone else’s, even though it’s paralyzed. Like I Corinthians chapter 9 says, “I want to train my body to do the right thing.” And just what is the right thing for you and me and the way we take care of ourselves? Well, I do all this so that my body might be a useful vessel – not a burden – but a vessel in kingdom service. Eat right, drink a lot, exercise well so that your body can do the right thing; so that it’ll be a useful vessel in the kingdom. If I do get a pressure sore, if I have to stay in bed? Well, I can steward my time wisely there, as well. I can use that time to pray or read and, yes, I have even on many occasions recorded these radio programs from my bed! I just want my body to be a useful vessel.

Chronic pain and my recent battle with cancer are serious distractions; but over the years, I have developed the wise discipline of just “doing the next thing,” as Elisabeth Elliot liked to say. I do that thing that best redeems time, makes the most of the moment, encourages others, blesses my husband, advances the Gospel, and honors God. And I want you to be able to say the same. Your health, friend, is so important; it’s important because it either helps or hinders your service in the kingdom. If you disregard doing exercises, or if you blow your health on a constant diet of hotdogs and hamburgers; if you don’t keep hydrated, your body will suffer. And in turn, your ability to invest in the kingdom will suffer. So do the right thing. Do the next thing! Get healthy, eat right, stay hydrated so you, too, can redeem the time, make the most of the moment, encourage others, bless your family, advance the Gospel, and honor God. And oh, what a rich reward you will receive for taking such good care of the temple in which the Holy Spirit lives – Christ in you, the hope of glory. Write me today on my radio page at joniandfriends.org.

Photo: Huffingtonpost.com

© Joni and Friends

 

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