“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” is a series of church worker wellness devotions. Visit lcms.org/wellness for more resources.

By Karen Sue Murdy, PK (pastor’s kid) and exercise physiologist

Simply a steward

“Who wants to come join us?”

These words were music to my young ears. Each day, my parents walked or biked, and my siblings and I were invited to join in the family fun.

As a pastor, my dad typically walked right before supper if he had an evening meeting, or, if not, right after supper.

My mom joined him, and all six of us kids were welcome to walk or bike along with them.

As I entered my teen years and other activities busily filled my life, I could not always exercise with them, but they faithfully continued, even up to the time of their death in their later years.

Moment by moment, we live our lives, by God’s grace, in response to His incredible, redeeming love for us in Christ.

How do you live your moments?

  • Have you considered the benefits of practicing good physical stewardship?
  • Have you considered the benefits of exercise as a church worker, as a child of God, as a person?
  • Have you considered the invaluable moments of “rest” that exercise provides for you?

As the psalmist declares,

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” (Ps. 139:14–15)

God has created amazing bodies that are designed to move.

Making the good physical stewardship of exercise a habit not only honors God, but it also helps you function better, both physically and emotionally.

Exercise positively affects almost every part of the body including the cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, circulatory, digestive and endocrine systems.

Exercise can help reduce many of the risk factors for heart disease (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, obesity, lack of exercise).

Exercise improves concentration and alertness, and it promotes sounder sleep, contributing to emotional and physical wellness.

Wow! There are so many benefits from simply embracing God’s design for your body.

For my parents, and for you, too, exercise can be a healthy way to deal with stress.

(Do church workers get stressed? Of course!)

Also, exercise can be a fun way for you to connect and create fond memories with loved ones, like it was in my family.

As you exercise with others, one idea is to ask each person to share his or her junk, joy and Jesus moment from that day.

In addition, exercise can be a time of teaching your family. Deuteronomy encourages the teaching of the Word and connecting it to all things in our lives.

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” (Deut. 6:6–7)

Finally, exercise provides a brief respite from the rigors of everyday life.

Jesus offers, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

What a blessing to take a break, a “rest,” from life for 30–40 minutes each day as you exercise.

Bask in God’s presence while you listen to His Word on an audio Bible or app. Memorize a verse or two. Pray.

God works as He rejuvenates you for service in His kingdom, providing rest for your internal Spirit with His Word and external body as we steward care for our joints and muscles.

My parents’ legacy of exercise was passed on to each of their six children. We each continue to exercise, renewed each day by the physical stewardship of exercise and going out to serve God in His kingdom on earth.

May you, too, reap the benefits of God’s design for the body as you exercise each day.

Karen Sue (Hinz) Murdy, a certified clinical exercise physiologist, attended Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Mich., and Central Michigan University. After living in Wisconsin and Michigan, Karen Sue and her family reside in Texas.

“Building Up the Body: Worker-to-Worker” devotions and prayers will be released Monday mornings on the LCMS Facebook and Twitter pages. Church Worker Wellness devotions will also be archived online.

LCMS church workers and their families are invited to offer encouragement to other workers and families by submitting a 500-word devotion for the Synod’s worker-to-worker wellness devotion series. Email questions and submissions to workerwellness@lcms.org.