(Excerpt from Physical Education within the context of God's creation
From a Christian viewpoint, to educate a child physically is to enable him to develop naturally in stature, to discover the potential of his giftings and make him aware of the need to keep his body in good shape. Three factors are uppermost as these areas are highlighted:
1. Growth and development
In the gospel of Luke, chapter 2 verse 52, we read the following words: 'and Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man' Encompassed within this short verse is the intellectual growth that comes through 'wisdom', the physical development that comes through 'stature', the social and emotional growth through 'man's favour' and the spiritual maturity that develops as a result of 'God's favour'. As an educational mission statement this verse would take some beating!
2. Physical conditioning
The Apostle Paul was keen that his pupil, Timothy, followed the same guidelines as Luke 2:52 but wanted to make a distinction between the physical and the spiritual life. For those of us who are passionate about sport and will teach those who are equally passionate it is a salutary reminder of the difference between that which is temporal and that which is eternal. The Good News Bible's rendition of I Timothy 4:8 says ' physical exercise has some value in it, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way'.
The great news for the physical educationalist is that the Bible says 'some value' and not 'no value'. Dr Kenneth Cooper in his book 'Faith-Based Fitness' says that 'intrinsic belief has the capacity to spark major personal enrichment in every area of life and this particularly includes dramatic improvements in physical health, emotional well-being, and levels of fitness'. If the Christian is to be a 'good steward' of his body then he will want to hand it back to his creator at the end of its allotted spell in as good and pristine order as possible. If my body is the 'temple of the Holy Spirit '(I Corintians 6:19,20) then my task should always be to glorify God by how I use it and seek to become all that I am capable of being through the physical giftings I have been bestowed with.
3. Rest and relaxation
The body can only endure so much emotional, spiritual, mental and physical stress. There is a need to be free from the stress of work and responsibilities. The time to do this is called LEISURE and what we do in this time is called REST and/or RE-CREATION. The word used in Mark 6:31,32 and 7:24 is 'anapauo' which means 'to refresh'. Jesus did this by socialising at feasts, parties and weddings and by getting away on his own and with his disciples. After the task of creating the world the Bible tells us that God rested. He went into a state of recreation and remains in that state even today. As his creation it is our privilege to follow this divine plan and be ever ready for the rebirth and recreation of the things of God in our own lives.
My colleague, Graham Daniels, gets rather carried away on this concept and reads a little between the lines of scripture when he believes that amongst God's instructions to man is the one 'go out and play'.