In John’s third epistle, he writes “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Perhaps we could rephrase his petition this way, “I pray that your physical health were just as good as your spiritual health.” He is writing in a day when Christians had suffered many deprivations for the sake of the gospel, and whose health suffered even as their souls flourished.
But I’m afraid that if we were to pray that same prayer today for many modern-day Christians, that request would be more of a curse than a blessing. We have strong, healthy, well-fed bodies, but malnourished, undeveloped, weak little souls. If suddenly our bodies were to be only as healthy as our souls, they would have to roll us straight into intensive care.
We live in an age where people care way more about what they put into their bodies than what they put into their souls. Our generation is way more concerned about how well trained and toned our bodies are than how we are exercising our faith. We are anxious over our access to health care should we get sick, and stress the importance of seeing our doctor when needed, but we reject the attention and Spiritual health regimen that we would receive in the care of the Church.
If John were writing to us today he might say, “I wish your souls were as healthy as your bodies!” with the underlying commentary being that your body is going to wear out one day, no matter what. Your soul is eternal.