Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bodily Exercise Profiteth Little


Lots of thoughts, folks. Lots of them. Loads of them. Thoughts about unpopularity. Thoughts about sweaty armpits. Thoughts about gravity. I'm going to let the thoughts spew out on this in no particular order. First, Spurgeon. He smoked cigars. He defended them on many different occasions, and didn't ever really quit, despite the urban legend, made-up-story about his seeing an advertisement on a tobacco shop that said, "Smoke the cigars that Spurgeon smokes." Nice story, but no cigar. He had a lot of health problems. Is it possible smoking cigars and his rotund profile could have been cause? I've never thought smoking cigars sent anyone to Hell; however, they might just make you smell like you've been there. That gets me to D. L. Moody. Moody spoke and wrote a lot about the fullness of the Spirit. And R. A. Torrey wrote a book about Moody entitled, Why God Used Moody, that dealt again with the fullness of the Spirit. One of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 is "temperance." That's self-control. You notice that it says, singular, "fruit of the Spirit." You either have all of them or none of them. You are either filled or you're not. If you aren't temperate, then at that moment, you are not filled with the Spirit. Was Mr. Moody temperate? Do you know Proverbs 23:2? "And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite." The Bible speaks specifically about this one, doesn't it? With Spurgeon, we could say that the medicine of that day didn't deal with the health risks of cigars. From what I can gather, cigars are far less unhealthy than cigarettes. Moody was a little more husky than Spurgeon, but these two needed to learn the push-away, both of them. You know, push themselves away from the table.

I recognize that some out there can't quite get laughing at all this. I am speaking about Spurgeon and Moody. Really though, I could start naming more than a few modern preachers who have more chins than a Chinese phone book. For one.....I'm not going to say. You might like this though. A husband let his wife's birthday go by, so he promised that he would get something for her the next day. She said to him: "All I know is that tomorrow morning when I get up, there better be something in the driveway that can go from 0 to 200 in less than four seconds." She got up the next morning and looked out the window. There was a wrapped package in the driveway. She put on her robe and walked out to get it. She unwrapped it. Inside was a bathroom scale. He probably didn't see her for a week after that. And then one eye began to unswell and open just slightly. This can sound like a cruel subject. People are very sensitive. It's much easier to preach against something else that someone else does that's really bad. However, here are five possibilities for the overweight: (1) Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, so you sin against the Holy Spirit. (2) You can't help others because of this gigantic beam sticking out of your eye, or at least a tent at your midsection. (3) You die younger and lose years of service. (4) Your service is less effective because you are literally and metaphorically bogged down. (5) You lose respect with people of which you could be a better leader. By the way, right now I want you to stop using moral equivalence. Stop thinking things like, "Well, you drink pepsi, and pepsi's bad for you." So you think that's an excuse for that inner tube around your waist? Only some more thoughts.

1 Timothy 4:8 says, "Bodily exercise profiteth little." In its context, I don't think it is saying that it profits a little bit. I believe it carries a temporal understanding, as in, bodily exercise profits for a little time. Bodily exercise won't result in you living forever. It isn't as important as godliness. Godliness goes on for all eternity. However, it does profit. Not much can be said to truly profit, but God says this does, and it does at least while you're on this earth. Hmmmmm. What other time while you are on this earth should you be concerned about except when you are on this earth? If it profits while you are still here, it will profit. So, two words: diet and exercise. Just some thoughts. No one is waiting in line up at the track.

11 comments:

Cathy McNabb said...

As a RN in the pediatric field, I see both sides of the spectum. I will be the first to admit that being overweight is not healthy, but being underweight, anorexia and bulima isn't healthy either and has far worse health outcomes.

My question is, Why don't pastors preach against anorexia or bulima?

Jeff Voegtlin said...

I think this article was particularly aimed at preachers or pastors. Since you are in the medical field you see both sides of the spectrum. Those of us in the pastoral field (the one with grass in it and fences around it ;-), pretty much only see the fat side of the spectrum. This is a much needed exhortation, especially for pastors.

Bobby Mitchell said...

OK. I've tried to stay away from commenting--but just this once. ;)

First, I do preach against anorexia and bulimia. I am pastoring a lot of young people and I am aware that these are tremendous problems in our society and even in our churches.

Second, I am 5'9". I weigh 165 lbs. I run. I lift weights. I exercise. I generally eat like a pig, but lately I've been trying to be a little wiser. Before I lifted weights I really ate like a pig and weighed 140 lbs. That's right. I had NO discipline concerning diet and weighed 140 lbs.

The greatest man I know, on the other hand, consistently eats in a very disciplined manner and exercises. He has struggled with weight all of his life and currently weighs in at about 270 lbs. and standing 5'9". He has massive calf muscles, a tremendous neck, wrists that are as big around as my arms, and a chest cavity that is massive compared to mine. No, he is not a body-builder and he doesn't look like one. He is built very big! He is overweight, but he is also naturally a very big man, and his weight is not related to lack of discipline or lack of exercise. Now, he carries himself extremely well, is always dressed impeccably, and looks like a handsome big man. He is not at all sloppy or slobby.

Now, this man's wife can eat like a vacuum cleaner. She'll finish her meal, his meal, and lick the serving bowl clean. She weighs about 110 lbs. She is tiny.

Do you get the point?

I am the son of these two. Guess which one I take after in this regard?

I think we must acknowledge that there are definitely factors beyond our control that contribute to body-type, body-size, and body-weight.

In the context of 1 Timothy 4:8 the "bodily exercise" refers back to "commanding to abstain from meats and forbidding to marry." However, I would agree that we can safely make an application to exercise in the sense of "working out."

Conclusion to my little soap-box speech: It is wise to eat right and exercise. I would agree that it does profit a little. We must also acknowledge that there are differences in the physical make-up and build of people that result in different issues regarding weight and size.

Well, I'm off to the gym . . .

Kent Brandenburg said...

Lots of good comments. I agree with everybody. I agree with further context to 1 Timothy 4:8, to big bodies, to bulimia, to anorexia, to licking plates, to hitting preachers more than anyone else in particular, and even more. I haven't actually ever heard a message preached on overeating. I've never preached one. I've mentioned it in other sermons in a very, very sensitive way. I have also preached on the other eating disorders at one time or another. I have what I call BP, bloat potential. My metabolism has slooooowed down and I can eat a chip and gain four pounds. If I create enough heat here, maybe it could work like a sauna, and we could sweat off some weight.

Cathy McNabb said...

Have you ever heard the term "That thing is heavier then a dead preacher"? ;0)


So Pastor Voegtlin if this is meant only to exhort pastors, what I am saying also can be used to exhort pastors as well, unless of course simple lay people don't have the spiritual ability to exhort pastors.

Kent Brandenburg said...

I don't know if you are still checking here, Pastor Mitchell, but thank you for your comments. Now, Cathy, how are you exhorting pastors, exactly? Is it about preaching against bulimia, etc.? Most pastors would know if individuals in churches have that problem, and at least in my experience, overweight is the bigger problem. And yes, I was going after at least Christian leaders, ones who are taking a lot of responsibility in their individual local churches.

Cathy McNabb said...

How could most pastors know that anorexia or bulima was a problem if most parents/spouses don't know about it? It is often called the secret illness.

Being overweight also maybe secondary to medical conditons, I know less then 1% of the time. But to false judge someone because they are fat, is inexcusable. I personally am overweight, but I have a medical problem that leads to that. I shouldn' have to go to my pastor and explain to him why I am fat. I also shouldn't have to worry about him thinking it is because i'm lazy or I have no self discipline.

Kent Brandenburg said...

If your conscience is clear, Cathy, you really have nothing to defend, because no one has even judged you here on anything. And then, how do you know that pastors don't know about issues like bulimia and anorexia in their people? That's also something that no one truly has the capacity to judge. I don't understand a few of your statements; for instance, your last two. Do you know of a Baptist pastor who expects his people to come to him and explain why they are "fat?" I think an article like this one is the kind of thing sufficient enough to get someone thinking about their own diet and discipline. When you study the root cause of bulimia and anorexia, lots of good pastors preach on those subjects regularly, especially if they preach expositionally, since the Bible adequately covers everything we need.

Anonymous said...

Point taken. However, when you preach like Spurgeon and evangelize like Moody, you'll have more credibility to write stuff like this. I've also heard of a thing called a critical spirit . . .

Torrey had an amazing comment about why God used Moody. That, in itself, should humble us and wonder why we aren't used that way.

Some men's sins go before them, other sins trail behind. All will be revealed. Let's not be embarrassed by what will be revealed.

J said...

Thanks anonymous,

I went to think about your post but then realized that I didn't know if you preached like Spurgeon or evangelized like Moody. I also don't know if you sang like Maria Carey or ran like Carl Lewis, and other important tests in the Bible to discern whether a teaching should be given credibility.

Please report your fastest time, a song recording, street preaching vid and examplar sermon so I can determine if you have any credibility.

Anonymous said...

Its no sin to be overweight. It is a sin to be gluttoneous and lack self control but these aren't mutually exclusive.