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Tired of being Big Will – Stewardship of the Body

September 29, 2006

I’ve been absent for a few days. This is because I have been in the hospital. I went in Tuesday for bariatric surgery.

This was a difficult decision for me. My loving wife Katy is a physician assistant (and a really good one, I might add!) and she pointed out my health concerns to me and we discussed my options. My first reaction to the notion of surgery was “HECK NO!” but the more we looked into it the more it seemed like my best option.

My risk for adult onset type II diabetes was really high, especially since I was tipping the scales at over 300 pounds and both my parents are obese and diabetic. My liver enzymes were beginning to elevate and I was beginning to worry. I was also concerned about my rising blood pressure. Not to mention sleep apnea, knee pain, shortness of breath, and a lifetime of failed attempts at weight loss.

As a United Methodist pastor, I have also been concerned that many clergy meetings I attended looked like a Blues Traveler band meeting. Since clergy self-care is a growing issue in the UMC (and in the church nationwide) I came to the difficult decision that I had to take some risks and engage in genuine stewardship of my body. If I am to care for the spiritual needs of others then I need to attend to my own spiritual and physical needs. Therefore I made a significant investment. I would face the potential risks of surgery in exchange for the benefits.

Surgery alone is not the answer. Significant lifestyle changes are in store for me now. I am commited to a lifetime of smaller portions, healthier foods, vitamin and mineral supplements, exercise and activity. In other words, I am taking a vow of stewardship for my body.

In the last year I have been developing a more robust, holistic theology of stewardship and I am certain that none of my thoughts are original. And yet these thoughts are not part of the popular church conversation. Currently I am seeking ways of communicating my thoughts and musings. How do I communicate that we engage in stewardship not because it’s good for the church, not because God commands it, not because the pastor needs to get paid or because we need a new fellowship hall, but because it’s good for us? Healthy churches are made up of spiritually healthy people, including the pastor(s).

It’s obvious why I as a pastor need to be healthy. Now I need to communicate why the congregation needs to be good stewards of the church, the self, the family and the community in order to bring the church to a healthier state of being.

Lesson 2 from surgery: recovery can be (and usually is) painful.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kansas Bob permalink
    September 29, 2006 3:16 pm

    From Albert Schweitzer:

    “Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”

    Blessings to you for happiness in this new post surgery world.

  2. Willie permalink
    September 29, 2006 6:44 pm

    Thanks, Kansas Bob. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

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