March 16, 2009
The Inclusive Secret to Life
by Charles R. Swindoll
No one is immune to problems in the areas of exercise, digestion, and diet---not even those in ministry.
For example, consider a middle-aged minister of the gospel named Timothy, who was the pastor of a church in the busy, heavily populated city of Ephesus back in its heyday. Timothy was one of Paul's closest and most loyal companions, but Timothy was neither as healthy nor as strong as he could have been. Knowing this to be true, Paul served as what we would call a mentor to Timothy, giving him solid counsel, reliable advice and, occasionally, strong words of exhortation. More than once Paul urged him to "get with it," to stop neglecting the gifts he'd been given by the Lord. Who knows? Timothy was probably a little too passive . . . or, perhaps, lazy. "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness" (1 Timothy 4:7) was another of Paul's urgings, followed by a reminder that "physical exercise" (4:8 NET) had some things going for it from which Timothy could benefit.
Both terms---discipline and exercise---come from the same Greek root term, gumnazo, from which we get our English word "gymnasium."¹ Paul prodded his younger friend to step up and pay closer attention to his use of time, exercise, and diet.
Part of what initiated Paul's concern was Timothy's periodic bouts with illness, including digestive complications. It was that which prompted the mentor to tell him to "use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (1 Timothy 5:23).
Understand, wine was one of the chief remedial agents in ancient days when the science of medicine was in its infancy among Greek physicians. Paul wrote here of wine to be used, not so much as a casual beverage, but for its medicinal benefits. He was suggesting it might be of help to Timothy's digestive ailments.
The foundational rule for those who wish to honor the Lord in the midst of any complex civilization (and ours certainly is that!) is clearly set forth in 1 Corinthians 10:31: "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Underscore the little word all in your mind. It may be small, but it's the inclusive secret to life. No matter what---rather than calling attention to yourself or being driven by those things that will highlight and elevate your own importance---seek to glorify God!
Seriously, now . . . do you? Is that what is motivating you these days?
1. See Frederick William Danker, ed. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, 3d ed. (Chicag The University of Chicago Press, 2000), 208.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.