Strong Women Stay Young is the title of a book recommended to me after I broke my ankle. It deals with the benefit of weight bearing exercises in the prevention of bone loss. After three broken bones in three years, I figured I need to be proactive. Despite the title of the book, being strong won't really keep me young. I was created to age and eventually die. However, I can stay strong while I age.
We live in society that loves youth. It's tempting to want to stay strong in order to pamper our vanity; to have people mistake us for being younger than we are, or to proudly say we can still wear a particular size. But there are better reasons to stay healthy and strong: so we can serve God.
When I was recuperating from my broken ankle, my mother-in-law, who is a diminutive 75 year old woman with osteoporosis and arthritis in her hips, came over, got down on her hands and knees and washed my kitchen floor. My mother, a year younger, could never do that. She has health issues which make it impossible. My mother-in-law is a strong 75 year old woman, and an actively serving woman. Serving others is an important part of our life in Christ.
Serving connects us with people. Christianity is above all, a people-oriented faith. We are redeemed and adopted into a body of people. We are commanded to love our neighbours. We are called to worship with others. We are commanded to take the gospel to all peoples. Service provides opportunities to connect with people, whether it is in our local church or in our communities. Serving without fanfare and without hope of reward is good for us. It gives us an opportunity to love others through action.
Serving reveals our weaknesses. Service is often difficult. Working with others presents challenges. We may be called on to be gracious, patient, and deferential. We may be faced with a task we feel utterly incapable of performing. Those times are when we must actively seek dependence on God. A number of years ago, my husband and I were the administrators of the youth group at our church. That was a very difficult couple of years, but I'm glad we did it.
Service puts feet (or hands!) to our knowledge. What good is theological knowledge if we are not living what we learn? It is entirely possible to have a lot of theological knowledge without ever putting those principles into practice. I love the verses in Romans 12; they are among my favourite. Paul spends eleven chapters talking about the gospel and with that wonderful "therefore" in 12:1 (NASB), he gives us the implication of our salvation: to present our bodies a living sacrifice, which is our spiritual service of worship. Our faith is reflected in our acts of worship through service.
In 2017, let us seek strength in order to serve. Even within the contexts of our home, we need strength to serve our families. Service can be the smallest of things. It need not be grand or elaborate. Sometimes, it is the smallest thing which provides the most blessing to an individual. We hear a lot about women's discipleship, and the need to direct women to good teaching. Surely, learning to be a servant is part of discipleship.
Ultimately, our bodies will age, fail, and die. That doesn't mean we shouldn't stay as strong as we can, though. But the motive is important. If the motive is for the feeling of looking young, I think that's a hollow victory. It's far more worthwhile to stay strong to serve.