This post is part of a series on some things that really are not ok for pastors or ministry leaders to be. In fact these things can speak to all Christians. In this one we will look at why:
It’s not ok to be FAT.
I know, even as I write this, that some people will be offended by the title. Some may pass judgment simply based on the title. For some they may decide to comment without ever reading the post. Others may decide not to read the post because they deem the title to be offensive. If you have read this much I thank you. If you are offended by the title, then I would ask that you take a moment to click on the “ABOUT” link at the top of the page and take a look at the picture that’s there. That picture is three or four years old, but I look about the same.
I’m fat. As I write this I’m sitting at around 290 pounds. If I were like seven feet tall that might be ok. However, at 5’10” it means I am very much over weight. So, as I write this post understand that this is written first to me. I understand the struggle. I’m not saying the you can wake up tomorrow and be skinny. I’m not saying that not being fat is an easy thing to do. I GET IT! For me I would never be over weight except that food tastes good. In fact I believe that we were created in such a way to enjoy food. I believe God wants us to like food. However, like everything else in God’s creation there is a proper way to enjoy food and an improper way.
Being fat is not a sin. That’s right, I said it. Being fat is not a sin. If I feel that way, then why would I say that it is not ok to be fat? Why would I be writing post about this if I didn’t think that being fat was a sin? Well, hear me out. Being fat, in and of itself, is not a sin. However, it IS the result of sin. Proverbs 23:1-2 says,
“When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”
Is this verse suggesting that you should kill yourself if you are given to gluttony? No. The image that is being painted here is one of restraint. Imagine a scene from a movie. The bad guy sneaks up behind the good guy, reaches around and places a knife against his throat. With the knife to the good guy’s throat, the bad guy gives him instructions. The knife, in this moment is not intended to kill. If that were the goal then the knife would not have been “put to” the throat of the good guy, but would have been used to cut or stab him instead. The goal, in this scenario is to RESTRAIN the good guy; to gain control over him.
This is the same image that is being painted in the verses mentioned above. They are saying that, if you are given to gluttony, then you need to find some way to restrain yourself. Going against the instructions that the Bible gives us is sin, as I understand it.
Pastors shouldn’t be fat. If the Bible says that gluttony is sin, then how can we, as pastors, stand in front of people and speak out against any other sin if we are fat? How can we stand in front of people and preach from the Bible while we are guilty of this sin? This is the sort of thing that the Bible would call hypocrisy. I am certainly not saying that we all need to be marathon runners. I’m not saying that every pastor needs to have six pack abs. But, for many pastors, myself included, it’s not a matter of a few pounds that need to be lost. For many it is 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds OR MORE that need to be lost.
So, what’s the answer? Well, changing the way you eat and becoming more active are certainly great starts. In fact, without these things you will not conquer your battle with weight. However, I think that there is something missing from this approach. You see, to change your eating habits and to exercise makes the entire issue about YOU. If gluttony is a sin, then it is not simply about you. When someone is addicted to pornography, alcohol or drugs we understand that a major part of them conquering this is confession to God, praying for forgiveness, and asking for God to HEAL them. However, we seldom take this approach when we seek to lose weight. Seldom do we admit, even to ourselves, that being overweight is a result of our sin. I have come to believe that TRULY conquering out fatness (for lack of a better word) means we need to confess, to ourselves, to others, and to God of our sin of gluttony. Skipping this step we may be able to lose some weight and see some improvements in our health and appearance, but I fear that without confession, we will be unable to truly conquer the gluttony that is the root of out fatness.Matt Norman
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