How would you like to leave lockdown healthier, wealthier, and – empowered? While so many sit and watch lots of television, many of us can use the extra time given us profitably. And maybe learn things we can apply at other times. (And I do appreciate that some, such as parents doing home-teaching, are in a very different category from a grandfather such as myself).
I have started by trying to get myself into shape. You see, my shape has not been good. Too rotund. How’s your shape? I have been around 3 stone too heavy, with a large tummy. It’s crept on, little by little. Wrong shape. What’s the problem with that? –
- Being overweight can take years off my life, through increased likelihood of cardiac problems, strokes, and malignancies. Less years to enjoy abundant life, and less years to serve the King of kings.
- Being overweight can lead to a less active life, due to debilitating illness. Arthritis, and the effects of the conditions mentioned above, may not kill me, but can limit my enjoyment of life, and usefulness in the kingdom.
- Being overweight is a bad witness. One of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control. Obesity says I am not using self-control. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit – how am I treating His temple? My mouth may say one thing, while my shape says something different.
Visiting our 6 daughters around the world, visiting numerous restaurants and hotels with the Full Gospel Businessmen, and a few holidays, has seen me get bigger and heavier over recent years. And so during lockdown, while many sit and watch television and consume snacks, Wendy and I have taken control of our diet. One meal (lunch) a day, but always something we really enjoy and look forward to. And no snacks. Our bodies are now used to this, and we must use self-control to continue this regime after lockdown, to the best of our ability.
Wendy and I have also walked every day, enjoying the sunshine and absence of rain.
Not everyone can do so, but there are other ways to exercise. In general, burn more calories than you consume, and your weight has to go down. We have each lost over one and a half stone, and should leave lockdown healthier. Healthier does enable us to do more – for the Lord, for others, and to enjoy life.
I aim to leave lockdown wealthier. For me, that should not be difficult, as my pension continues to roll in, whilst I have less travel, and fewer short breaks, restaurants and hotels. But a cool objective look at ones finances periodically is a good exercise for each of us. What’s coming in, and from where? What’s going out, and to where? What savings have I got, and are they performing for me?
Some more questions for myself. Am I putting the Lord first in my finances? Am I aware that everything good comes from Him? Am I thankful? Am I being a good steward? Am I trusting the Lord in finance?
Is my income more than my outgoings? If not, can I increase my income, or decrease my outgoings? If I need to increase my income, is there extra work I can do (difficult at present) or be more efficient with existing work? Ask the Lord. Listen. Expect. Be creative.
Income is either spent, saved or given away. Giving should come first, of course. We are called to be like our Father in heaven, Who is outrageously generous. Am I? As I have written in my book on finance, there is no place in the kingdom of God for meanies! And those who give, also receive. We don’t give in order to receive, but finances being tight can be a wake up call about our giving. It has been for me at times. And reviewing spending can pay dividends.
Savings. If I have some, I need to take a look at them from time to time. Am I spiritually comfortable with what I have? Should I save more, or less, or give some away, or put them where they will yield more income or grow faster? Am I satisfied they are ethical? Should I obtain advice? Pray. Consider.
There can be creativity. One family we know are noting money saved during lockdown, and putting each sum in a little bag, with a label reading, for example, ‘McDonalds’, or ‘Car Park at National Trust’, or whatever else they might have done. Savings for a family treat after lockdown. At least one of my daughters has a ‘giving jar’ for the family. My grandchildren give from pocket money and gifts, into the jar. Then as a family they give to mission or the needy.
I hope to come out of lockdown wealthier? Wealthier does enable us to do more – for the Lord, for others, and for ourselves and our families.
There are two things we are given to spend during our life. I can spend each however I choose. My choice. My decision. And I can spend each once only. Then it is gone. One is money, and the other is time. I’ve looked at money – now let’s look at time.
In general terms, we are called by God to work. Six days a week. I was a dentist for around 35 years, and a bookseller for around 20. I retired from those professions in 2004 (books) and 2007 (teeth). But I still work. We host church in our home. We have travelled in order to teach and preach, both in the U.K. and abroad.
I have written several books. I do a lot of work with the Full Gospel Businessmen. And I have leisure, used in walking, writing, and playing golf (badly).
Am I using my time wisely? Efficiently? Am I putting the Lord first? Am I doing things that the Lord is pleased with? Wendy and I start every day by reading just one chapter of the Bible together, considering what the Lord might be saying to us through it, and then praying together. Later, we each have our own devotional time. I recommend both practices to other married couples. We watch little television. In a world that seems to me to be obsessed with ‘entertainment’, I think minimal television time is good. But it does leave gaps in my knowledge. Balance and responsibility is called for.
For many of us, lockdown gives more time. Time to get healthier, time to get wealthier, and time to become empowered. More time to read scripture, worship the Lord, and get filled with the Spirit. I often schedule such time, writing it in my diary. Like an appointment – because it is an appointment. Because I am serious about it. About the Lord. About serving. About being empowered.
Lockdown – an opportunity to become healthier, wealthier, and empowered. If you want to!