A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dave's Deep Thoughts - God's Champs

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.

When he first came to the gym,
no one paid much attention to him.

In my head, I called him Gramp,
because he looked like he had celebrated his 100th birthday.........
10 years prior.

Usually any elderly patron in the gym
migrates to one area of the weight room,
where they focus on reps with light dumbbells
similar in weight to a can of peas.

Not Gramp......

My first clue that something was different
was when he went over to the pull up bar
and quickly notched 10 reps………
without breaking a sweat.

I quietly did my 15
as Gramp motored over to the incline
and promptly barked out 20 crunches....
at a 45 degree angle

He must be getting ready for Spring Break,
I jealously thought to myself...

Gramp pulled off another set of pull ups....now up to 12
It was then, I thought, that Gramp must have overheated himself,
because He went to the men's locker room to remove his baggy outer sweats.

When he returned,
He was in gym shorts and a muscle tee.
It was then that the entire gym noticed......

Gramp was ripped.
Really ripped.

He had guns that would have made the NRA happy.
His chest screamed V for Victory,
and his thighs could have passed for tree trunks.

Take away his wrinkle lined face,
you would think this guy was getting ready for his prom.

As I got off the leg crunch,
I began to remove the four 45 lb weights that I was using

"If you're finished, just leave them on there"
Gramp said politely.

I scurried over to the other side of the weight room,
trying to look busy,
but keeping one eye on Gramp.

He took care of my four 25 lb weights easily,
10 reps as if they were styrofoam.
He then proceeded to add two more to the rack.
I think he was making out his grocery list while pumping,

Not finished, he added two more.....
Some younger ladies in the gym who remember World War II like it was yesterday,
were swooning over Gramp.
He then went  to another machine
to pick up 2 more 25 pounders…………
because he had used all the weights at the leg crunch.

Inside my head I was feverishly trying to do the math....
10 times 25lb....add the weight of the bar.......
I shrieked at the weight total.
He just leg crunched a small car.

Gramp came back
and knocked off another set of pull ups (now up to 14),
20 more crunches, this time while holding a 10lb weight.

In 25 minutes, Gramp had become a rock star.

If I am honest with myself, my first impulse is to look upon the outer appearance.
It is an impulse deeply engrained in our culture.

Jesus warned us about doing so.Looks can be misleading.....

Because the Lord reminded Samuel not to look on outer appearances (I Samuel 16:7),                                                                                                                                        
it was small of stature Dave who became the giant slayer and King of Israel.

James reminds us that preferential treatment of others based on appearance,                                                                                                                                                
rises out of our own egos to be judges, and reflects our own evil thoughts. (James2:1-5)

Widows with their mites can be the most the most vital of all givers, short tax collectors can become giants of the faith, women of ill repute can become mothers of The Way, an ordinarily looking Nazarene can be the Savior of humanity.
How grateful I am that God does not judge me on my outer appearance, but on what He knows of my inner being.
We won’t be spiritually mature, until we take time to see what's on the inside of each person, and not judge on outward appearances.
Over time, I talked with Gramp and learned more about his life………
his service to his country in the Korean War,                                                                                                                                                                                                            his love for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren,                                                                                                                                                                    his love for the Lord,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
his commitment to physical health so that his last years                                                                                                                                                                                   
would cause him not to be a burden to others, but to allow him to continue to serve others. 

I no longer call him Gramp.I call him Champ.

Do not judge according to appearance,
but judge with righteous judgment.
John 7:24

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