The Perils of a Fat Faith

A few months ago I had a horrifying epiphany that will impact me the rest of my days. In a moment of time, I caught a glimpse of all the teachings and insights God had poured into my life—most of which have never been shared with anyone.

I saw my large filing cabinet of sermons that have never been delivered…my books never completed or never published…my discipleship materials and leadership tools that few people have ever seen.

It was a sickening sight. What a tragic waste, I have murmured to myself ever since.

This caused me to reflect on the great model presented in Ezra 7:10, where we see God’s desire for us to Learn, Do, and Teach.

By God’s grace, I’ve learned a lot over the years, and I’ve also endeavored to put His Word into practice. But what about the final leg of the stool, teaching others the things He has taught me? Of course, I have done that to some degree, but it’s distressing to see how much of this content has never been fully utilized and shared.

My epiphany came into even clearer focus recently when my pastor gave a sermon about the frequent comment in Leviticus that God wants us to give Him “the fat” of our offerings. For example, Leviticus 3:16 says, “All the fat is the Lord’s.” Over 50 times, God refers to “the fat” in the book of Leviticus!

While listening to this message, I suddenly saw what fat really is: unutilized fuel. Our body puts on fat when we ingest more fuel (calories) than we burn. It’s a hoarding mechanism, our body’s method of storing fuel for another day. And anyone who’s tried to lose weight knows that once the body stores unutilized fuel as fat, it’s extremely difficult to get rid of it.

Finally, I had a framework to explain my epiphany. Put simply, I’ve ingested a lot more spiritual calories over the years than I’ve burned. And while it’s a blessing to be so well fed, the downside of this situation is spelled F-A-T.

It would be one thing to store fuel for your future if you knew you had to make it last for many decades to come. But it doesn’t work that way. You must “use it or lose it.” The fat does you absolutely no good—and instead does you harm—if you store it instead of burn it.

I can’t think of a more repulsive word picture than a morbidly obese person lying motionless in their coffin. What a tragedy. All that unutilized fuel going to waste.