The following was a column I was asked to write for The Republic (local newspaper) that was featured in this past Saturday’s, 3/9/14, “Faith and Community” section. Enjoy the quick read!
Get Fit. Take Action.
It is 5:43 pm in Haiti on a hot June afternoon and Dr. Doug Harty is working on his last patient. He has been working on this patient for over an hour and sweat is beading up on his forehead. Plaque that has built up for over a 15 year span is much more difficult to address than the six month rotation of patients back in the states. Doug is a dentist and travels to Haiti every year to provide dental care to children and adults who lack the resources to take care of their teeth, gums, and mouth. Doug has a servant’s heart and embraces his calling as a believer and witness of Christ.
As I got to know Doug growing up being friends with his son, I learned very quickly that Doug values his own life and appreciates every opportunity God provides for him. I remember very vividly visiting Doug in the hospital after his liver transplant and again after he went in to remission, twice. I remember him fighting for his life, winning it back, and responding to the calling God laid on his heart as a servant for the Lord.
As you can imagine, post liver transplant, physical fitness is a very important, difficult, and a delicate aspect of Doug’s life. He needs to stay as strong as he can in order to stay healthy and he needs to be fit in order to serve out the extraordinary opportunities God lays before him.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to SERVE OTHERS, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
There are many benefits to exercise; more energy, increased mental capacity, better rest and recovery, strength, and the list goes on and on. Being in shape does not need any more convincing as a good idea. What does need convincing is the connection between how one’s physical fitness plays a role in one’s spiritual wellness. What does being in shape have to do with my relationship with God and ability to serve?
We are all instructed to honor our body as it is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). How can we be fit to serve if we are not able to physically or mentally? Exercise is a missing ingredient to this recipe and allows us to take action with our relationship with God. Once we are spiritually fit enough to understand how God is calling us to serve the action needed to take place to fulfill that calling is dependent on God’s temple. It is dependent on the shape of your spiritual, emotional, and physical fitness.
When Dr. Doug Harty is in the best shape he can be he is prepared for the Kingdom opportunities God brings his way. This is the same for all of us. When God lays an opportunity in your lap to further His Kingdom, are you prepared? Are you confident in your relationship with Him to take action? Are you fit enough to take action? Would you be able go with Dr. Doug?