by Karen B.
While most people are resolving to lose a few holiday pounds, my goal to be fatter in 2014.
But this has nothing to do with weight, and everything to do with behavior and attitude.
My freshman year of college, a campus ministry worker named Greg met me for breakfast one morning. He told me they would be looking for leaders in three years, and he asked me to work on getting FATTER in preparation. After a brief explanation of the qualities of a FATTER leader, I agreed, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
I still fail at much of this weekly, even daily. God has not finished with me yet. It is who I desire to be, not who I am. (Many of you will read these and know I still have a way to go.)
Would you join me in getting FATTER this year?
The dictionary says faithful means to be true to one’s word, promises and vows. So when I join a Bible study, I want to be faithful in my attendance. I want to go each week unless providentially hindered. I may have to stay home if I am sick, or my child is sick. But I won’t stay home because I don’t feel like going on a particular day. I won’t be out having coffee with a friend instead of being at Bible study. And my study will be completed to the best of my ability. I cannot always guarantee it will be completed. There may be a death in the family, one of my children may need surgery. But on the normal week of ups and downs, I want to complete the work that the leaders are asking of me. I want to be faithful to the commitment I have made.
Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you.
– 1 Samuel 12:24
I want to be available to those in my life who may need help. This can only happen if I don’t fill my schedule with back-to-back activities. That’s no easy task with young children! I want my kids to have fun and be involved in their school and community. But even more importantly, I want them to see how we can serve others in need. And that can only be done if we reserve some time for serving.
If someone needs a meal, I want time to make it and take it. If someone hears troubling news, I want to be there to hold their hand and talk. If someone needs time away with their spouse, I want to watch their children. I want to be available to help out in times of need.
This is a hard one. Let’s face it: none of us likes finding out we are wrong. I want to be a person who can see my sin when it is pointed out. I don’t want to make excuses. I don’t want to blame the other person. I want to see it, confess it, and make it right.
That may mean swallowing my pride. That may mean seeing that what I had done was sin, when I didn’t realize it was, then asking forgiveness and making it right. I want to do this right away, not weeks later, but as soon as I have the opportunity.
Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
A trustworthy person is one deserving of trust, who is dependable, reliable. The word is a synonym of faithful. I want to be someone with whom a friend can share her difficulties, without worrying about who else will hear about it. She knows I am looking out for her best interests. She can trust me to do what I say.
I said I would bring a meal? She knows it will be there. I said I would watch her kids? She knows I will take great care of them. She knows that she can count on me to follow through with exactly what I said.
Different personalities make this characteristic easier or more difficult. But if my purpose in life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, am I excited about that? I don’t want to attend Sunday worship begrudgingly, but with joy and excitement about what God has to show me. I want to teach Sunday School out of delight, not duty. And sometimes, being enthusiastic will mean putting my phone on mute and giving the people I am with my full attention. I want to be all there with the people in my life.
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.”
Respectful of Authority
This means all authority. Some authority is easier to respect than others, isn’t it? I don’t behave disrespectfully to authority when I agree with their opinion. But is that really respect, or just agreement?
The true test of whether or not I respect someone is how I react when I do not agree with their position. At these times I need to remind myself of the opening verses of Romans 13:
For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.
God has established the authority over me. He works all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. My job is just to submit.
A lifelong quest
I am thankful for breakfast that day with Greg. I still vividly remember that conversation, even 20 years later. I had no idea that being FATTER would become a lifelong quest.
I stumble and I fail, but by the power of the Spirit I get up and try again. I hope that you will consider what He has taught me. And I hope you’ll join me in making this a FATTER 2014.
Karen and her husband have been members of ECPC since 2012. A striving minimalist, she loves helping people part with their stuff so they can live simpler lives. She has been married for 16 years and has two sons.