Yesterday at the gym I saw something interesting.
As I was lifting, I looked over and saw a couple of teens lifting. One of the teens was struggling on the bench press, trying to lift too much. His friends either didn’t know what to do or didn’t have the strength to help him, for they were just standing around frozen. I started to head that way to help when an older gentleman came to his aide. (I say older, as in he was balding and looked older than me..real age unknown). I paused my music and listened in on his conversation with the teen. He began telling him how he needed to not over estimate how much he could bench but also encouraged him to keep trying to bench more. He then walked the teen through the proper steps of benching and how to gauge how much he could and could not bench.
I remember back in my weight training classes back in high school Mr. Festerling doing the same thing. He very patiently walked me and the others through weight lifting and proper form. What he taught me has stuck over the last 16+ years since. What was taught to me then has helped me in my pursuit of being healthy now.
I also started thinking of Eddie, Doyle, Merle and Bob, all older gentleman at church who walked me through my faith. They taught me what it meant to be a man of God. Through their actions, conversations and even instruction, they taught me what it meant to be a person of integrity, to be honest, to be loving, to be like Jesus in all I do.
This is what is commonly called in Christian circles discipleship. And it is important in the formation and development of our physical and spiritual health. In his book The New High Intensity Training, Ellington Darden laments how this type of discipleship has gone to the wayside in weight lifting. And I think it has gone to the wayside in our churches as well.
In my own pursuit of spiritual and physical health, I realize that I need to take the time to help others learn and grow in their own health but more importantly in their own spiritual journey. I think this is a charge to us all to do so.
As we work on getting healthy and as we grow in our spiritual journey and faith walk, we need to help others do the same.