Question: This one comes from Dede. She says, “There are many people in churches overweight. Is obesity a sin? Are overweight Christians false converts? What does the Bible say? Thank you.”
Tim: I’ll tell you this, in all indication, the high priest Eli in the book of 1 Samuel was a godly man. Grossly overweight, but seemingly feared the Lord. He was not the best high priest. He had two evil sons. He was rebuked by the Lord. Samuel prophesied of the Lord against him. That’s just an example that comes to my mind.
Let me tell you something, the size of a man isn’t the sin. (incomplete thought) Now look, how a person is, what a person looks like, the condition a person’s in healthwise may definitely be an indication of their sin. Before God saved me, I did crystal meth. Thank the Lord He delivered me from that. Have you seen some of the folks that have used that? I mean, you can see people, their teeth are rotted out of their heads. I saw what alcohol did to my dad. I can tell when somebody’s old and they’ve been drinking their whole life. They have kind of a yellow hue to their skin. You look at folks that have been on heroin, that have been on crack, that have been on crystal meth for long periods of time, cocaine. People that overeat. One thing about some sins is you kind of wear it on your sleeve. I mean, some of the things we were talking about about the sins of the mind, the sexual passions of the mind, you and I can’t see all those things. But some of the sins we commit, the effects of it are very noticeable. And there’s no question about it that the size of a person may have some indication about their eating habits.
What the Bible doesn’t talk about is necessarily obesity or overweight. What it does talk about is gluttony. And typically in the Bible, it groups gluttony with the drunkard or drunkenness. What do you have there? Is eating sinful in and of itself? No. The fact is you cannot prove from the Scriptures that drinking alcoholic beverage is forbidden in the Scriptures. But what is forbidden is eating more than you need and drinking to the point of drunkenness. Those two things are definitely sin. In fact, so much so, the people that practice those don’t inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Those fall into these areas too of being red flags that if you’re in bondage to these things, there’s a problem.
Gluttons are tied to those who are lazy. “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” “The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.” “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat.” Now look, obviously some people are bigger than others. I mean, one of the questions that has to be asked before judgments are made about anything is why a person is overweight? I mean, some overweight people eat less than those who aren’t overweight. Now, that’s not to let most overweight people off the hook. That probably does bring some thin people into the realm of the possibilities of sin too, even though they may have a higher metabolism and don’t show it near as much. I mean, there are thin people that eat huge meals.
And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know exactly where that line is. You know, it does seem like sometimes in Israel they had feast times, did they not? Three major feasts, and they would eat, folks! They would eat. Some times of indulging in food seemed to be acceptable by God. But doing it all the time does not seem to be. I mean, the fact is this, not all people have the same metabolism. Gluttony basically comes down to eating more than the body needs. Eating more than we need to function.
Well, where is that boundary? You know, in a lot of countries, they don’t eat till they’re full. In a lot of countries, they can’t afford to do that. We have a tendency to eat in America unlike they eat in other places. Does that mean we’re all guilty of gluttony? Maybe. Maybe more than we know.
But you know, folks, I would come back to this. Remember Paul’s words. He’s not going to be enslaved to anything. You know just as much as my wife might not drink coffee for a while, you know what? There’s no question about it. Jesus Christ thinks that His people will fast regularly. Does He not say it? When you fast, don’t be like the hypocrites… Don’t be like the Pharisees. There’s a way to do it.
Well, let me just tell you, if you’re a professing child of God here, you need to give yourself to fasting. If you can’t do it; if you don’t have that kind of self-control and that kind of discipline, then you know what? There may be a likelihood even if you’re a thin person, you’re in bondage to food in a way that maybe you never imagined. And I’ll tell you, you don’t realize it sitting here when you’ve still got a belly that’s three quarters full from dinner. You get in a situation where you fast for 24 hours and fast for 48 hours, fast for three days, and you begin to realize how much food really controls us. Let’s face it, the fact is, most overweight people are overweight because they do eat too much and they exercise too little.
You know one thing I found? Traveling to China, traveling to India, traveling to Indonesia – there aren’t lots of overweight people. And so, what is it? I think San Antonio – is that the number one biggest city in the country? Sometimes – it depends on the year. But we’ve had those honors. I tell you, you go over to other countries you don’t see that. The fact is, you know, typically in those countries, the ones that are overweight, they’re overweight because they’re wealthy. The thing is too being overweight isn’t healthy for you. It’s not good for you. These are to be temples of the Holy Spirit. You know, basically, we have a picture in the Scriptures of Jesus Christ leaving His servants with things – whatever they might be. Sometimes, they’re called talents of silver, whatever they may be called, but you know what that’s representative of. That’s representative of everything that’s been entrusted to us. Not just money, but our time, our energy, our bodies, everything that’s been given to us. And you know the ones who receive the commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? They’re the ones who invested wisely and brought a return for their Lord. And we need to take good care of these bodies. If you’re eating and not exercising in such a way that your body isn’t serving you well, what does the Scripture say? It says to redeem the time. You’re not redeeming the time very well if you’re in a body that requires a lot more rest, gets weary a lot faster, runs out of breath a lot faster, when you could by correct eating habits and correct exercise habits change that. That’s not being a good steward. It just simply isn’t. Folks, if you’re going to run, run well. Run to your maximum efficiency. That’s all I’ll say about that.