As you are reading this right now people all over America are sitting in waiting rooms due to obesity-related disease because of poor-health.

Excess weight may increase the risk for many health problems, including

  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease and strokes
  • certain types of cancer
  • sleep apnea
  • osteoarthritis
  • fatty liver disease
  • kidney disease
  • pregnancy problems, such as high blood sugar during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and increased risk for cesarean delivery (C-section)

According to the Journal of Health Economics authors, J Cawley and C. Meyerhoefer say, “Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Currently, estimates for these costs range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year.”

Reducing obesity, improving nutrition and increasing activity can help lower costs through fewer doctor’s office visits, tests, prescription drugs, sick days, emergency room visits and admissions to the hospital and lower the risk for a wide range of diseases.

Steve Reynolds author of the book, Get off the Couch says, “Christians are the most overweight people group in America.  Among the Christians, Baptist is the most overweight.  Fifty million men in America are obese.”

Pastors are Overweight

One time I went to a conference with my mentor Nelson Searcy and he brought in medical Doctors from Loma Linda Hospital without telling any of us.  He then challenged all of us to take a survey and go in and have several of our vital numbers taken by the professionals.

At the end of the conference, he revealed the results.

  • Seventy-Five percent of the pastors in that room were overweight.
  • Did you know that a pulpit and pew study of 2,500 clergies found that 76% were overweight or obese?

Once I heard a pastor say, “We only have so many steps in life why waste them on a treadmill.”  Gluttony is not a message that we hear pastors preach on.  As a matter of fact, I can’t say that I’ve heard any message series on the subject until recently.

Perry Noble once said, “Baptist pastors brag that alcohol has never touched their tongue, and I’ve also noticed that a treadmill has never touched their feet.”

A lot of pastors, growing up said, they don’t cuss, chew or go out with girls that do, but they say it with Gravy going down their check.

Cutting my teeth in ministry in the independent, fundamental world, there was this belief that you could be as unhealthy as you want to because God wouldn’t call you home until it was your time.

Unfortunately, your time often came right after that second bite of fried chicken.  Some of us did begin to believe that some people’s time was cut short because they were digging their grave with a knife and fork.

The Effects of Sickness

Think about when you are sick for a moment.   I’m not talking about something life-threatening.  I’m talking about the common cold or the flu.  When you are sick even the smallest of assignments are difficult.  Just getting out of bed or taking a shower can seem like a challenge.

Have you noticed that Nyquil is the pastor’s liquor?  My parents never drank but when the family got sick we could down a few of those bottles and feel a lot better.  I called it, “The good stuff.”

When your sick things that normally might take you fifteen minutes take you thirty minutes.  Things that are normally part of your day fall off the to-do list.  You can’t write good sermons when you are sick.  A lot of people, unfortunately, live like this most days.  By midafternoon, they are so shut off they lack the energy to keep going.

Missing Out on God’s Plan for Your Life

Some of you reading this right now can’t do something that God would want you to do because of your complacency when it comes to your health.   God may want you to go on a mission trip and make an eternal impact, but you can’t do it because of your health.

Matthew 26:41 (NLT) Keep watch and pray so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

It is possible your spirit is willing, but your body is weak?  That wasn’t a good excuse in the garden of Gethsemane and it’s a bad excuse today as well.

Physical Complacency leads to poor health, lack of desire, less productivity and low energy.  You will never reach your full redemptive potential in this state.   You’re also going to miss out on some incredible adventures.  It’s not enjoyable to be in poor health.

I’m aware there are some health issues that you can’t avoid.  This is about the preventable, avoidable things that you can control.  If you don’t face this subject, you are going to miss out.

“Your body is an amazing machine designed by God, but it doesn’t come with a warranty, you can’t trade it in and repairs can be costly.”