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

By Andy Bates, DCE, director of programming for KFUO Radio and ACE-certified personal trainer

All the gifts

In Luther’s Small Catechism we hear about the gifts and provision we have for this earthly body we inhabit for a short time:

“… He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them … He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life.”

God has given me my body and life and still takes care of them. He provides all that is needed to care for them … richly and daily!

It’s all gift.

What do you do with gifts? Perhaps some you treasure and set aside for special occasions. Some you use daily.

But we are given to take good care of all the gifts entrusted to us. We are given to be good stewards of the gifts entrusted to us.

Do you think of your body, health, and even the care of these as gifts?

What about exercise? Why do we think of exercise as a chore or something we should do?

Maybe we can reframe that with the knowledge of the words from the Catechism:

Is going for a walk a chore or a gift?

Is playing a game of pick-up basketball with the kids a chore or gift?

When was the last time you enjoyed physical activity or exercise? Even viewed it as a gift?

Rom. 5:12–15 gives us a foundation to view all things through the grace of Christ Jesus:

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

That which is given from God the Father is gift! The Old Adam tends to view the gifts as chore or work, and sure, all good gifts come with some stewarding.

But thanksgiving is where grace leads us, rather than the weight of responsibility. We can thank, praise, serve and obey Him in word and deed.

Our stewarding is really an outcry of our thanks. What do you do when you fail to steward the gifts faithfully?

Confess your sin. Drown the Old Adam. Hear the Words of forgiveness for Jesus’ sake (more gift!). Remember your Baptism (also gift!).

And rejoice in the mercy and love of your Savior as you start anew in all the good gifts given — body, soul, spirit, strength, forgiveness, exercise, joy and more.

Dear Savior, help me to see Your gifts clearly each day, whether in body, mind or spirit. In Your name and to Your glory I pray. Amen.

“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.