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FIRST-PERSON: Fit for ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Are you able to do what God calls you to do whenever he calls you to do it? Are you ready spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically for ministry? Because we are whole people created to live in physical bodies, we must be physically fit for effective ministry.

A wonderful biblical example of physical fitness and ministry readiness is found in Acts 8:26-39, in the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch.

Phillip was prompted by the Holy Spirit to start walking down the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. We are not told how far he walked before he saw the eunuch and was prompted by the Holy Spirit to approach his chariot. Scripture tells us that when Phillip was told to go and he had to RUN alongside the chariot and talk to the man all before he was invited into the chariot to share Christ. Remember, chariots were pulled by horses and even at a trot, Phillip would need to run at a good pace to keep up.

While running, Phillip spoke to the man in a loud enough tone that the eunuch heard him over the road noise and horse hooves. Running and talking at the same time indicates good cardio-respiratory fitness. Phillip was physically and spiritually fit to accomplish this mission from the Holy Spirit. The result of Phillip’s readiness was the salvation and baptism of the eunuch. Only God knows the full impact of this one life as he returned to Ethiopia to serve the queen.

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Notice a few things Phillip didn’t do. First, he didn’t argue with the Holy Spirit about the arrangement of the assignment. He didn’t say, “That’s great, I’d love to share Christ with that man. Could you just have him pull his chariot up beside me? I don’t think I can run that fast.” Or, “We could meet at the Waffle House for coffee and I’d be glad to answer all his questions.” No, Phillip just did as the Spirit said.

Second, Phillip wasn’t gasping for air as he talked to the eunuch. We know this because the eunuch understood what he was saying and was able to respond. Third, Phillip didn’t ask the eunuch to go out of his way to listen. Phillip accommodated the situation by running alongside and waited for an invitation to join the eunuch in the chariot.

How often do we use excuses and negotiations to alter a call to minister? God has equipped us with everything needed to do anything that he calls us to do. He gave a body designed to be strong and fit to respond to his call. Yet many of us find ourselves diseased, stressed, fatigued, weak and wimpy. When we are not in good physical shape, we cripple our ministry effectiveness.

Improving your fitness level requires commitment, discipline and the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal to you the areas that are not in top shape for his service. Accept the answer and develop a plan for improvement. Consult your physician or other health professionals for healthy guidelines to better eating and more activity through exercise. Healthful food and exercise keeps our bodies in shape and ready at a moment’s notice to answer God’s ministry call.
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Branda Polk is a certified fitness instructor, wellness coach and conference leader in Memphis, Tenn. For more information on developing a wellness plan visit the Health & Wellness section at www.lifeway.com [2].