Wholly Healthy: How to be Thankful for Our Bodies

It will soon be Thanksgiving, and we’re thankful for so many things! But, in the mix, let me remind you to be thankful for your bodies. And in addition to mentioning this to God, I urge you to express this sentiment by taking care of the physical form in which you dwell.

The thing is, when you’re thankful for something — really thankful — you take care of it. You guard it and treasure it. So should it be with your earthly form, because it is the means through which you do much of the work of God’s kingdom on earth. Also, it may be a very nice, very incomplete hint of how our bodies will be when we live in that “new earth” we’re promised. (Hopefully, kingdom body will be skinnier — but who knows, what with all the kingdom feasting?)

So, to express thanksgiving for your body, there are some things that you, and all the rest of us, should do. This is not about medical procedures, screening tests, medications or anything else. I want you to show your gratitude by living a healthy life.

That means maintaining a normal, healthy weight. Don’t eat snacks all day long. Eat healthier food. And when those wonderful church-dinner and picnic foods come out, limit yourself. A proper weight reduces the likelihood of many bad things — like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, joint destruction and back pain, just to name a few. Thankful for your body? Stay fit!

Next, I urge you to help maintain your weight by exercising. Exercise is one of the greatest prescriptions I could write for you. Do not die of recliner poisoning. It’s a terrible waste of a perfectly good life.

Be active. Walk. Carry things. Go to the gym. Stay in motion. Serve others; do yard work for the elderly couple next door. Some research actually suggests that health isn’t so much a factor of the amount of one’s exercise as it is the amount of time not spent sitting in a chair, lying on a couch, etc.

Finally, avoid alcohol and tobacco. (I know, I know — we’re Southern Baptists and don’t need to be reminded. How about this: Let’s remind our non-Southern-Baptist friends to avoid alcohol and tobacco. The two together cause enormous misery in the world and are best left alone.)

Our bodies are precious things. They are magnificent beyond description. The human body is important — so glorious that a body like ours was the chosen form of incarnation for the Son of God.

So go forth and be thankful! And enjoy Thanksgiving. But do it wisely. Then walk around the block a few times.

I think you know what I mean.