The covered dish dinner or the image of having the pastor over for fried chicken after Sunday service. Along with that comes the fact that Christians, particularly evangelicals focus on the outward sins of promiscuous sex, excessive drinking and smoking. But if the body is a “temple” why is it that Christians in particular tend to look the other way (or around?) when it comes to members and clergy being overweight?
In “Every Body Matters” Gary Thomas says, “the challenge we face plays directly into our sin nature, which is naturally disposed toward comfort and ease and naturally inclined against sacrifice or denial of any kind.” In other words, not doing something about being overweight falls into our comfort zone. It’s too hard, so we don’t. And Thomas says that for Christians, that’s wrong, and it could lead to less effective ministry.
Thomas doesn’t hold back when he says that while being overweight isn’t a sin “in the History of Christian spirituality, gluttony and indulgence receive an abundance of attention, and we would be foolish to ignore it.”
“Every Body Matters” isn’t a new diet book. Thomas doesn’t offer brilliant suggestions on how to lose weight. But he offers practical and Biblically based advice to believers who need to lose weight or who just want to stay in shape.
Thomas acknowledges that it’s not easy and that there is no quick fix. He compares physical discipline to spiritual discipline and shows how the two are intricately linked.
Thomas writes in a style that’s easy to read but provides a book that is full of information and encouragement. He draws from the writings and biographies of some of the great Christian leaders over the centuries who knew, and practiced, the importance of physical discipline.
In the end, physical discipline is not just about looking better or buying smaller clothes. It’s about preparing and maintaining your body as an instrument that can be used for God’s kingdom. For one thing, how many Christians don’t go on that mission trips or don’t walk that extra mile, symbolically at least, because they’re carrying extra weight? In the words of the Apostle Paul, our bodies should be “instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work” (II Timothy 2:21).
If you struggle with weight, or your health, or if you are already on the path to treating your body as a temple and focusing on physical fitness, then “Every Body Matters” is a book of encouragement as well as conviction.
Other books by Thomas include Sacred Marriage, Sacred Pathways, Pure Pleasure, Sacred Parenting and Authentic Faith.
Disclaimer: “Every Body Matters” was provided to me without charge from Zondervan for the purposes of this review.