Getting Fit for the Kingdom of God

Week of June 26, 2016

Jesus speaks in the last line of the Gospel of how some are unfit for the Kingdom of God.  We have all at some point or another worried about fitness.  How often have we said, “I am not in the shape I used to be?” Sometimes people buy a book or some DVDs to get into shape.  One can find diets for any occasion, body type or age bracket to which we belong.  Getting in shape sometimes involves a personal trainer.  Some like the challenge of being challenged.  We become members of fitness clubs.  There are so many ways to get in shape and be fit. But do we do the same for God?

Getting fit for God is something that involves eternal fitness.  It involves Jesus as our personal trainer, it involves the Holy Spirit as our inspiration.  Getting fit for the Kingdom of God, just like getting our physical bodies fit, involves work and training. It involves sacrifice and determination. When I have been in my best shape, I have followed a training program for a marathon.  I am taking lessons now for my golf swing.  My instructor talked about the importance of practice and hard work.  All of this is a reminder that if we are willing to do these things for the experiences of this earth, how much more important is the eternal fitness program and getting fit for God? Today Jesus says if we are looking to what is left behind, we are not fit for the Kingdom.  If we live in the past, we are not looking to the present moment, nor are we looking forward.  Heaven and eternal life are always forward, not in our past.  To train with Jesus we are called to love our neighbor and our enemy.  We are called to live for God and Him alone. We are to embrace sacrifice and the cross as the foundation of an everyday work out.  Getting fit is presenting ourselves to God.  Getting fit is realizing we need a Savior.  Getting fit is knowing God will not abandon us.

Scripture, Sacraments and Church Tradition are all aspects of teaching us what is of eternal value.  For me, getting fit means losing myself into the throws of what God has in store for me, each and every day.  So often judgment is cast on our bodies by the size of clothes we wear, how fast we run, how far we can hit a ball.  The measurements of God’s Kingdom are different.  God measures us by our eternal worth.  God measures us by how we treated the least of our brothers and sisters. God invites us to visit the imprisoned, feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

Getting fit for the Kingdom, getting fit for eternity; how often do we start that kind of fitness program?

Rev. John J. Ouper