April 2, 2008

Jeff is outside. His coat is zipped up to his chin, his gloves are pulled on tight, and his pant legs are tucked inside his snow boots. In his hand he holds the weapon of the day — a snow shovel. Armed and ready to face the snowdrifts across the driveway, he marches to the front of the pile, takes a deep breath, and digs in.

Snow starts flying. A shovelful is flung to the right and buries the cat. Another shovelful is tossed to the left and buries the dog. Three shovelfuls are flipped backward, and little brother becomes a snowman.

He’s on a roll now. Pretty soon it looks like a blizzard has hit the front yard. Jeff puts all his effort into clearing the driveway because he knows his mother is waiting inside with a steaming cup of hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie with his name on it.

But what’s this? It looks like Jeff has slowed down a bit. His hat comes off, and steam curls above his head. Sweat glistens on his forehead. The shovel becomes a little heavier in his hands and the snow doesn’t fly quite so far. Before long he’s unzipped his coat, and he pauses to take several deep breaths before continuing.

Eventually the driveway is cleared. Jeff stumbles across the yard, dragging the snow shovel behind him. He staggers into the house, leaves his coat and boots in a melting puddle in the entry, and falls to the floor in utter exhaustion. Even his baby sister banging her rattle against his head doesn’t rouse him.

But wait. He’s stirring. Yes! He’s alive! The aroma of hot cocoa and warm cookies fresh from the oven has revived him. He forces himself to his hands and knees, crawls across the floor to the kitchen, and pulls himself into a chair.

His mouth starts watering. He wraps one shaking hand around a warm cup and another around a soft cookie. With a grateful smile to his mother, he opens his mouth and lets his taste buds jump into action. Mmmmmm. Nothing ever tasted so good. A few more bites of cookie, a few gulps of cocoa, and Jeff can feel life returning to his body. Within minutes he is leaning back in his chair with a satisfied, albeit chocolaty, smile smeared across his face.

Jeff has put his body through something we call exercise. Exercising is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Whether we get our exercise from shoveling snow, running, playing, climbing stairs, or chasing our brother across the yard, the act of getting our muscles moving, our blood racing, and our heart pumping is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.

God designed our bodies to move and to get exercise. How do we know that? Let’s find out together.

Bible Study

Let’s see what God says about our bodies. Older children can copy and study these verses. Many of them mention the body, but the context is referring to something else and simply using the body as an illustration. I use them below to show the importance God places on our bodies.

Younger children can copy the verses or memorize them.

     •   Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and memorize it. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. Paul is very clear that we are to take care of our bodies.

     •   Read 1 Corinthians 12:18. “But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” If you read this verse in its context, you will see that Paul is referring to the parts of the body as parts of the church, that there are many members and each with his own task. I do not want to take this verse out of its context, but I want you to see that God made the parts of the body with specific tasks. We will learn about those further on.