When Pam and served on the mission field, blessed visits from U.S. short-term mission teams took various forms. One of them was to facilitate a Wellness clinic. We set up stations at the church and nurses on the team gave medical checkups and performed some rudimentary blood work. The church also hosted nutritional work shops to teach healthy eating habits. The wellness clinics were a huge hit with the community surrounding the church. They received instructions with humor. For instance, when the lecturing nurse said that the amount of grain (rice) in a meal should not exceed the size of a fist, some folks from the church had Pam hold up her rolled into a fist and held it up against brother Luis’ hand rolled into a fist and asked, “Like Rosita’s (Pam’s middle name) or Luis’ fist?” Brother Luis’ fist was the size of a small ham. I still remember my surprise at the number of people who were overweight and whose blood work showed them to be anemic. In my mind, a person who was anemic would be extremely thin and show obvious signs of malnourishment. It never occurred to me that someone who could be both overweight and anemic.
I then came to realize that their diet was high in carbs and produced obesity but did not provide any substantial nutrition. They ate a lot of bread (very inexpensive) and lots of noodles which were also very inexpensive. The result were people who were overweight but with anemic blood.
The word anemic is defined in several ways: lacking force, vitality, or spirit; lacking interest or savor (being insipid or tasteless); and lacking in substance or quantity. When it came to the overweight individuals who were anemic, it meant a person who was large in size but had very little energy or vitality.
I have often pondered the question if that same malady occurs in our life as individual children of God or as the body of Christ (the church). By that I mean, could we feed ourselves on studies and activities that make us feel bloated, busy, and give the illusion of being spiritually healthy but in reality, our spiritual state is actually closer to the definition of anemic. I recall reading the words somewhere, “Satan loves a busy Christian”. The idea being he loved them because they were so busy being busy, they never posed him any threat.
How would we do with such a question when we apply it to us as a church? I am not trying to be critical but hoping to get ministry creative juices flowing. How much of what we do provides spiritual substance; could be considered flavorful; and is evaluated as possessing quality. Have we ever gotten sidetracked with things that may taste good (like bread or noodles) but yield little spiritual nutrition? Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8 [Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.] Let our days as individuals and as a church body be dedicated to such things and strive to be spiritually healthy and thus able to advance His kingdom.
Have a blessed week, Vic.