Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 12:8, ESV),
This is the time of year when many think about going to the gym. And to be honest, “many” should think about going to the gym.
I go to the gym.
I’m there six days a week, and on the seventh, I walk 4 to 6 miles outside with my wife. Three days a week, I do the aerobic machines, and three days a week, I lift weights. I have exercised my entire life. I started competitive swimming when I was six, then football, then racquetball, then jogging, and now the gym, along with cycling in the summer.
I write my credentials touting my “gymness” because when you see me, my body doesn’t look like it has been in a gym thousands of times, swam hundreds of miles, or cycled for tens of thousands of miles.
My favorite verse for working out is Ecclesiastes 1:15 …
What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered.
Despite the fatalism of my exercise philosophy, I continue trudging to the gym simply because I love to exercise. Twisting the Apostle Paul’s teaching on the flesh, I would say that I love the body that I hate (Romans 7:14-15).
Below are a few things that I have learned about my body and perhaps even a confession or two …
- My body gains weight by drinking water and breathing air. My metabolism is so slow that I fast and exercise and then gain a pound.
- As I’ve aged, I’ve noticed that I can’t lift as much weight. Those that know about anatomy (and they should be shot) explain that a male reaches physical prime in his early thirties – which means that I cycled “over the hill” decades ago.
- My solution for losing muscle mass is subterfuge! When someone younger, stronger, looking like they bench press 600 pounds, or a differing gender is coming after me on the weight machine that I’m using …
I notch up the weight 30 pounds when I’m finished, and before they get on the machine.
- The gym is the only place where it’s socially acceptable to be rude. If you see me, ignore me because my plan is to ignore you! I want to get in my workout and not talk. Call or text me later if you have something that you need to discuss.
That’s it, what I’ve learned at the gym.
I will be there next week and throughout 2023. My Dad often said, “I’m not going to live forever, but I want to feel good until I go home to be with the Lord.” I think what my dad on earth said is the reason that I’ve developed a love for the gym and exercise.
My heavenly Father also has some words of encouragement for us …
- We will get a new body in eternity that will never have a weight problem
- The food at the marriage feast of the Lamb and at all other banquets in heaven will not have calories as we know calories on earth
- I will be able to run a four-minute mile, cycle a hundred miles, and bench press 600 pounds twenty times – all before a huge breakfast
- I won’t need to add weight to the lifting machines
Now, back to the book of Ecclesiastes for more despairing advice …
Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 11:9-11).
Everything that we do in life, including going to the gym six days a week, means nothing if we don’t have Jesus as our Lord and Savior.