(This post may be controversial – the issue is complicated, but I think it is one worth engaging).
One of the reasons that I miss seminary may seem surprising, but going to seminary motivated me to take care of myself physically. I would go to seminary and spend time with some great men and women. But there was always a very small minority of male students that were not seriously overweight. And I decided that I did not want to be the stereotype. You know, the “overweight, lethargic Baptist pastor who cheats on his wife and “burns out” in ministry”. You say “Wow! That’s kind of harsh.” Yeah, but there is a lot of truth in it.
My experience in seminary was watching my brothers in Christ and colleagues who survived on coffee and Super Big Gulps filled with Pepsi – who pontificated about the growing sinfulness and depravity of our nation, all while ignoring their own sin in not honoring God with their temple, often expressed in gluttony (which is the “elephant in the room” sin in many Baptist churches).
I was very inspired by blogger and author, Ed Stetzer, primary speaker at the ACE Conference at North Phoenix in 2007 and 2009. He lost over 125 lbs and began to compassionately and empathetically encourage Southern Baptist leaders to do something about this “elephant in the church”.
Statistics I see cite that 90% of men who attend seminary will not retire as pastors. 1,700 pastors a month around the world leave “the ministry”. I see pastor after pastor who give up their legacy and influence for a few seconds of pleasure. And it breaks my heart.
I have been inspired to take some steps of my own. My plan looks like this – exercising 5 days a week, eating healthier, sleeping more regular hours, and managing the coffee and soda intake. And I have accountability with my wife and some other friends who know these things.
What destination have you decided you will not arrive at? What are you doing as a result of this value? Who knows and is holding you accountable?