What if God used Fitness Bracelets?
It is a wonderful time of the year; cool weather and houses decorated for Christmas to enjoy. It is a great time to walk around the neighborhood in the evening to see the lights and get some exercise. Christmas a year ago I used a gift certificate I received to purchase a high-tech watch that records how many steps I take each day, calories consumed, distance travelled, heart rate, quality of my sleep at night, and it even tells you the time. Sandy also wanted one of these gadgets, so we purchased one for her too.
I ride my bicycle to work several days a week and walk every night so I figured my new fitness tool would record several miles of distance covered each day. What surprised me was how many thousands of steps I take on Saturday evening and Sunday morning preaching and leading worship-enough to be measured in miles. I have joked that the Liturgy, (stand up for this prayer, sit down for this lesson, stand up for the Creed etc.) was Lutheran aerobics, but little did I know!
But then sin entered in. I noticed how many more steps I was taking compared Sandy. My stepping works righteousness exceeded my wife’s. Being a polite and humble front range Pharisee, I did not brag; but I knew!
Being a pastor, I wondered if I could I invent a Christian fitness bracelet, to assist God. One that measured minutes at prayer, hours at Bible study, and percentage of giving to income with a built in “less than a tithe” alarm, just like my bracelet has an alarm if I haven’t moved in an hour.
Then I remembered what St. Paul wrote in the third chapter of his letter to the Romans “We hold that a person is justified by faith apart from” steps, oops, I mean, “works prescribed by the law.” It is not the good things we do that reconciles us to God. It is God’s grace through Jesus Christ that reconciles us to God. And as a response to God’s love and grace, we are transformed and freed to be shaped by Christ to love our neighbor, care for those in need, and be good stewards of creation.
So, go out and exercise this new year, and let your exercise be a prayer that God will continue to wake you up to God’s grace and love.
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