The venerable Avon Malone was fond of saying, “Bodily exercise profiteth little, but I need the little that it profiteth.”  Joe Decker would likely agree.  Decker is a 31-year-old fitness trainer from Gaithersburg, Maryland.  One day he decided to become the best so:

  • He bicycled 100 miles.  He ran 10 miles.
  • He hiked 10 miles.
  • He power-walked five miles.  He kayaked six miles.
  • He skied on a Nordic Trac 10 miles.  He rowed 10 miles.
  • He swam two miles.
  • He did 3,000 abdominal crunches.  He did 1,000 jumping jacks.
  • He did 1,000 leg lifts.  He did 1,100 push-ups
  • And he weight-lifted 278,540 pounds, cumulatively.

This would be an impressive amount of exercise for an entire week, but Joe Decker accomplished all this in 24 hours, in front of witnesses.  For his herculean efforts and pain, the Guinness Book of World Records named him the fittest man alive.  What is his secret?  When some suggest that Decker is a genetic freak, he says, “Hang out with me when I work out and see how much is hard work and how much is genetics.  So many times, people sell themselves short.  But if you set your mind to it, you can do it.” Decker’s latest goal is to complete a triple ironman triathlon in Virginia Beach.  That’s a 7.2 mile swim, a 336 mile bike ride and a 78.6 mile run.  One after the other, without resting.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, ”For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  If physical training is important enough to be deserving of our time, toil, blood, sweat and tears, then how much more effort should we put forth to cultivate godliness in our lives?  The fitness industry turns over billions of dollars each year as people sacrifice to get into shape physically.  A much greater need is to get into shape spiritually.  What a waste to spend so much effort on dressing up the temporary earthly tabernacle while neglecting the eternal spiritual temple.  Physical fitness will serve us well over the years, but godliness will serve us well through eternity.  Knowing the difference should have a profound impact on our priorities.


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