The Fat Guy Up On Stage
From The Fat Guy Up On Stage
Here is a brief view into the life of the fat guy up on stage singing for his Lord. He sins, daily. He suffers daily for his sins. He wishes he were thin and healthier because he fully believes he could be a better servant for his King were he of a smaller stature. He is absolutely correct in that thought, he could sing better, hold notes longer, and be able to load in and out faster. There is not a part of his ministry that would not be benefitted by the loss of his extra poundage. Nevertheless, he trudges on, waddling across the platform because the cartilage in his knees is gone knowing standing for the next hour is going to be extremely painful. His struggle is real.
He stands and testifies about the things God has done in his life but the effects of his ever present sin sticks out like a sore thumb. His sin is no different than the sin the others up on the platform struggle with on a daily basis. One may struggle with fidelity; one may have difficulty controlling his language, while another may have an issue with addiction. God looks at all of these sins the same but the one who worries about losing his spot on the platform is the one who needs this the most. Remember, His sin is no different in God’s eyes, only in the eyes of those he is ministering to and with.
His struggle with sin, gluttony (among others for sure), is the epitome of a roller coaster relationship. He thinks at times of how weak minded he is because he knows how to eat properly and take care of himself but then one negative comment from one unknowing or thoughtless individual only pushes him to that 3,000 calorie meal at Cracker Barrel after church on Sunday. If he does well there, then comes the homecomings and the jokes that comes from the pastor or moderator for the service. “Looks like he hasn’t missed any meals.” makes the people laugh but what really has happened is they’ve just discounted the proper dieting and 10+ pounds lost during the preceding week. The mouth is such a powerful thing; one phrase can change a person’s state of mind.
All of this begs the question, how can a simple phrase or thought change the mind of a committed Christian. It’s fairly simple; he knows you can see his sin. He knows that the world can see his sin. Other sins only God can see. His sin sticks out like a hot air balloon. His mind is stable but he is so disappointed in himself that disappointment from anyone else only adds to his shame. Many times he considers not getting back up in front of anyone but he presses on sharing God’s promises. It’s the calling on his life. Sitting at home is not an option although it is appealing at times.
Consider the words of your elders. These sage words were ingrained into his head and heart for years. He learned so much from his grandparents and parents that he has no choice but to listen and heed the words of those who are his senior. Those who are the wisest among us are likely the most hurtful because their words are not masked with tact or concern; they just come out like those of a four-year-old. “Look how big he is.” from a four year old is understandable because hey, they are four. But what about someone who is 70, shouldn’t you be more concerned about the person you are than the temporary vessel? Remember, Jesus was more concerned about the individual than he was their particular ailment.
Why haven’t you lost weight? The struggle is real folks, I mean real. The addiction to food needs to be viewed the same as the addiction to nicotine, alcohol, pornography, or any other drug. The difference is that we can live without the other things, we cannot live without food. How do you successfully moderate something you are addicted to and still have to take in every single day and multiple times per day at that? If you can answer that, you will have the key to every dieter’s worst nightmare. But then, if we look at overeating as the sin that it is, then perhaps we need to look at our relationship with God before we consider our relationship with food.
Does he love God? There is no question here, of course he does. But if he got down to the deepest part of that affection for his Savior, he may be like Peter and have a deep feeling for his Master but not have the true unconditional love that his Savior has for him. Maybe he is not capable of that type of deep, unconditional love. Maybe he has not opened all parts of his heart to the Lord. See, that’s the part of his relationship with God that is between him and God. NOT YOU! Every time he opens his mouth and inserts food, he has to think about his relationship with a holy loving God. He shouldn’t have to worry about what Sister Bertha Buttinski is going to say on Sunday morning just before he steps up on the platform to sing.
Please do not get me wrong, I am not advocating for this sin to be accepted by the church. Quite the contrary, I believe that it is the duty of Christians to eradicate sin from their life. Understanding that we will sin on a daily basis, we should not live in sin. Just as the one who struggles with alcohol shouldn’t go to a bar, the one who struggles with food should stay away from the words “all you can eat”. If you know someone in your group struggles with food, it is a sin to suggest they go to a buffet. It is not edifying. Remember what Paul said about this. It may be fine for him but he shouldn’t cause another to be in a position to stumble.
Let’s look at this from an industry perspective. The music industry wants a certain visual image as well as a certain sound. Some of the best vocalists will never be heard because visually, they are not what the world calls attractive. I can hear some of you now, or Lord, he’s saying that we are worldly because we want a certain look for our group. Well, in a way, you are. But in another way, and this is what I choose to believe to be the case in most instances, groups want to present a Godly image. While all may be fighting their own sins, weeding out those with obvious issues from the beginning is essential.
From the perspective of the fat guy on the stage, I cannot be more humbled and ashamed at the same time. A couple of decades ago, I had a career change that took me from a super-active job to a super-sedentary job without changing my caloric intake. Until this point in my life, I ate pretty much what I wanted. Exercise was never mentioned since we were extremely active. I worked in construction every day and played softball four or five nights per week. Physical activity was part of my everyday life. Sitting behind the wheel of an eighteen wheeler while still taking in the same calories I was taking in when I was outside every day, it did not take long to pack on the superfluous pounds.
In the last couple of years, I have lost a total of 250 pounds while gaining most of it back. I’d like to think that if I had lost all of the weight at once I’d be in better shape now but I didn’t. I lost 40 here, 60 there and 150 here. The last attempt was perhaps my most documented but even now, I have gained a lot of that back. It seems clear that my walk with my Lord has been as varied as my waistline over the last few years. I’m not saying that one is directly proportional to the other but in some of us; the two can go hand in hand. It seems prudent that we seek out this connection and search deeper than we ever have before in order to find where the connections are and exactly where the disconnect is located.
Perhaps we, the fat guy on stage, are like Paul. Paul was said to have poor eyesight and referenced the size of his letter not the length of it. Maybe God can use us better this way. Maybe he can use our words because we look so different from everyone else that does what we do. I simply don’t know the answer. I do know however, that the Bible tells us not to desecrate the temple and by destroying our joints, our chemical balances, and limiting our ability to breathe we are doing just that. So today and every day, my focus is on Him. Not food, not calories, not the perfect balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, but I will focus on the one who gave His life for me. Perhaps craving His word is more sufficient than craving some ice cream topped with peanut butter, chocolate and more ice cream. I think craving His word would be much healthier.
The perception of singers, pastors, or evangelists is that they live a perfect life. Oh, quite the contrary. We battle Satan every day. He knows where we are at our weakest and he tempts us with it often. I’d like to say we win the battle more often than not. It may not be factual, but I’d like to say that anyway. While my particular sin is obvious to me and those around me, every person that ministers to you in some way sees their own sin just as blatantly as you and I see my own. Each of us carries around the knowledge that we have faults, we fail daily, and we are just as much products of grace as we’d like for you to be. The only difference between you and any of the rest of us is our particular location during a worship service or concert. Just remember, no matter how big our sin is, our God is bigger.