I tend to focus on the big picture.

I’m good with long-term goals and I like to have a reason behind everything I do. Yesterday I started blogging about running with a purpose, as opposed to just simply running.

The great thing about running is that it can mean so many things to different people, so not everyone needs a grand purpose driving their desire and ability to run. But I feel I do.

I mentioned yesterday that in Biblical times people who ran did so in order to transmit an important message as fast as possible. I want to carry a message like that, and transmit it powerfully through my running and nutrition. I want to say something important.

I’ve thought about what my message might be for a long time.  In short, it’s about good health and nutrition. But also more than that. The Bible verse that I mentioned yesterday hints at a more eternal, spiritual purpose:

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NLT)

My experience growing up in a church led me to believe that the body and the soul were two separate things. The soul was holy and the body was evil. What stemmed from that was an attitude that there was no point in worrying about your body or taking care of it. It was only temporary. Our time was much better spent focusing on eternal things.

But I don’t believe that’s what God meant.

The Bible also says that our body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). A temple is a place of worship. A holy place. You can’t worship in a temple that’s destroyed, a mess, or diseased. For any kind of worthy sacrifice to be made, the temple must be clean. Purified. Holy.

The Bible also commands us to love God with all our heart and all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). How can we do that when our physical hearts are beating sluggishly? When our strength is failing? If God deserves our best, that includes our full energy potential. A sharp mind and a powerful body.

We must be healthy.

There’s another Bible story that I feel applies here. It’s known as the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25:14-28)

This is the story of a man who goes on a journey. He calls his servants and he entrusts his property to them. To one servant, he gives five talents (a monetary unit), to another two talents, and to another one talent. Then he goes away.

The man who received five talents put them to work and made five more. The man with two talents did the same and gained two more. The servant with one talent dug a hole in the ground, buried the money, and left.

When the man came back from his journey he called all his servants back and asked about his property. The man with ten talents presented them all and the man replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The servant with four talents presented them and the man responded the same way. Then the man with one talent dug up the money that was entrusted to him, and gave it back to his master. The man was enraged.

He declared that the last servant should have at least put it in the bank and earned some interest on it. He took the one talent away from that servant and gave it to the man who had ten.

The moral of this story is: Be faithful with little. Because if you cannot be faithful with little, how can you be faithful with much?

This is important to me because that’s how I view the physical and spiritual realms. It puzzles me to see pastors and spiritual leaders who are clearly unhealthy due to poor lifestyle and nutritional choices, yet they preach regularly.

The body is less than the spirit. If you cannot control and manage your body which is temporary, how can you manage that which is eternal?

Ruling your body is about respect for what God has given you. It’s your ONE talent. Is it really wise to neglect it?

And that’s my message.

In short, good health and nutrition. But more than that. Good physical health is just the starting point that sets the stage for a healthy mind and a healthy spirit. And once that is achieved, the potential is endless.