A healthy lifestyle is its own reward


A friend of mine passed away recently. He was a runner and had completed more than 35 Peachtree Road Races in a row. All that running helped keep him in good health and then he was struck by cancer.  
     Toward the end, the rest of his body was shutting down but his heart was beating strong, so healthy from a lifetime of fitness. God bless you Jim Blasingame, as you run the streets of gold!
His passing made me consider: Why engage in healthy living or fitness?  We’re just going to die one day regardless, so why go through all that effort?  Jim’s running and fitness didn’t stop the disease from taking his life.
But his running and the health gained from it did enrich his life. He took pride in all those Peachtree shirts. Whenever I saw him he had a smile on his face—fitness made him feel better about himself and about others. He had a much longer life than if he had not engaged in regular fitness and exercise. He had energy to serve long after he retired.
Maybe that’s the secret: living healthy, exercising regularly and seeking to stay fit enable us to enjoy the life we have right now. Perhaps we gain a more positive outlook, feel better about ourselves, and appreciate the renewed energy we have. As Christ-followers, we humbly seek to serve our Lord for as long as possible, in any way possible.  Being healthy allows us to do that, and more.
We may have a variety of goals for staying fit—losing weight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, fitting into our clothes, competing in a race, or many others.  Longer life also factors in for people who exercise regularly and eat more healthily.  Nothing wrong with any of these desires and goals; we should keep pursuing them!
But all of the positive results won’t stop death from knocking on our door one day and we can be at peace with that — death is not the end for us, but a new beginning. All of our fitness pursuits won’t keep us from dying one day, but being healthy and engaging in fitness can give us better health for life right now. Who doesn’t want a better life right now? Fitness, exercise, and healthy eating are what gets us the prize.
Keep on moving forward!  Let me know what fitness challenges you are facing and what victories you have experienced.
Enjoy daily devotionals from The Almighty in the Ordinary:  Spiritual Insights from Everyday Life, available at www.amazon.com .   You can reach John A. Page at john.a.page@ngumc.net