“What is a calorie?” my oldest son asked as his Dad and I attempted to find something low-fat and healthy for lunch. “A calorie,” Michael responded, ” is a unit of heat and in relation to food, it represents how much energy must be expended to produce that amount of heat. If you eat more calories than your body needs for energy, it will store them for later in the form of fat.”
Fat. Most of the world does not have much of problem with unused calories being stored as fat, but here in the United States of America it seems we have far more calories than we need much of the time. I am usually careful to exercise regularly and eat well but at the beginning of the summer I decided that I would skip the gym for a week and work in my yard instead. The week turned into two and then three and before I knew it, I had been out of the gym for most of two months. During that time, I also became lazy with my eating and consumed far too much of all that tastes so good- mainly fat and sugar.
(When I get to Heaven, I am going to ask God why he made fat and sugar taste so good. I mean, he could have made steamed brocolli that irresistable to us. But I digress…)
Finally, the day came when I realized my pants were uncomfortably tight and I steppped on the scale to discover I had gained about 10 pounds. I knew what I needed to do, so the next morning I grabbed my towel, water bottle and bike shoes and headed to spin class with about as much excitement as a condemned man walking the long hall to his electric chair. I knew I was in for some pain before I lost the gain.
As soon as I walked through the doors of the Franklin Athletic Club I was greeted with a hugs and a chorus of “Where have you been?” from all of my fellow gym rats. I muttered something about working in my garden to which they responded with looks of appropriate skepticism as I climbed up on my bike.
About two minutes into the class I was sure I would die and when the notes of the first song faded away the instructor, who is a friend of mine, grinned at me across the handlebars and singing the chorus of the 70’s television show “Welcome Back Carter” into the mike for the whole class to hear.
That was a month ago and I am finally beginning to get back in shape. Slowly, I have lost the first few pounds. Gradually, I am witnessing the return of muscle tone and endurance. I have even begun running some. I have found a secret that makes it bearable. I find something to think about while I am pounding the pavement. So, this past Sunday when I decided to go for a run before church, I picked up my scripture reading for the day and laughed out loud at the irony of this verse:
“To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” Mal. 4:2
I don’t think this is God’s mandate to us to run down to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and get a triple scoop of Phish Food on a sugar cone. I think this scripture is a picture of what God desires our spiritual state to be.
Soul fatness, people.
As I ran that morning, I envisioned a stall fed calf. There she was, the color of caramel with dark brown fur at the tips of her ears and the end of her tail. She stood contendedly in her stall while the farmer busyed himself all around her sweeping out the old bedding and replacing it with new. She chewed a mouthful of hay peacefully while he filled one trough with abundant grain and another with clean water.
She did not have the least worry about how to secure her meals. She did not fret over who would provide for her care. She knew no hunger. She was full. Satiated. Peaceful. Contented. She had all she needed and then some.
She was fat.
Can you believe with me that God wants your soul to be fat? Dare you embrace the truth that He stands waiting to pour out into your life such companionship, fulfillment, and abundant blessing that your spirit is satiated and then some? The Psalmist puts it this way:
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”
Every single soul must be fed by the Master or it will find itself ravenously hungry and will stop at nothing in the quest to fill its need. Far too often we reactively attempt to fill that longing with all the wrong things (including a triple scoop of Chunky Monkey Ice Cream on a waffle cone from Ben and Jerry’s.)
But those things just won’t satisfy, not for long. You were made for eternity friend and the one relationship that will last throughout it.
Soul fatness. It is when fat is a good thing.