Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ~ Mark 12:29-31
Gary Thomas takes that seriously. He contends that many of us run the race focusing on our hearts, souls, and minds, but we skip the last part of that verse, thinking that our ‘strength’ is only our outside coating, and how important is that? Thomas believes that our usefulness to God hinges upon our physical fitness – not our thinness, not our ability to wear designer jeans, but our cardiovascular and aerobic health.
When our bodies are fit, we have the endurance and energy that we need to do our work, support our spouses, and play with our children, all of which suffer when we wheeze for each breath and struggle to walk up a flight of stairs. Being in shape allows us to be more productive, fighting off the sluggishness and sleepiness that plagues those carrying extra weight.
Thomas explores a variety of scripture, explaining why our physical health matters to God and just how to find the motivation necessary to make changes.
Unlike most books, this one I read slowly. I found it necessary to stop often and absorb the information Thomas was sharing. I loved the personal stories and examples that he peppers throughout the text, but the best part was the breakdown of scripture through the lens of physical fitness. As Thomas points out, American Christians focus on all sorts of sin but seem to overlook gluttony, for which we are rather infamous. Thomas does not set out to hurt feelings, but he doesn't gloss over the facts, either: for many of us, to be most useful to our Master we must change our physical habits.
I love his quote from Dean Karnazes towards the end of the book:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "Wow!" What a ride!
Who can do that on a diet of doughnuts and an exercise regimen of channel surfing?
If you have ever wondered why your physical health matters or struggled to find the motivation to change for the better, check out this book. With stories, quotes, and scripture, Thomas will show you just why your body does matter.
I received a free copy of Every Body Matters from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.