Jump Start # 2051
Nehemiah 13:31 “and I arranged for the supply of wood at appointed times and for the first fruits. Remember me, O my God, for good.”
I was watching segments of Billy Graham’s funeral last week. There are many things about Billy Graham that I admired. I always liked the sound of his voice. I liked the way he conducted himself. He always seemed honorable. Back in the 1980’s, when preacher scandals were destroying the careers of dishonest televangelists, Billy Graham seemed to be a class above those others. He was gone a lot and it seemed to take a hit on his kids and one cannot over look the fact that Billy never preached the whole counsel of God. He left the message short and encouraged people to attend the church of your choice, rather than God’s choice.
But at the funeral, one of his sons, in tribute said that his father was fat. That seemed shocking, because Billy Graham wasn’t fat. It seemed like an odd way for a son to remember his father. Then he explained fat. That was an acronym for Faithful, Available, and Teachable. FAT.
Faithful, available and teachable. That stayed with me. FAT. That’s easy to remember. Faithful, available and teachable. Consider the different areas where that would be so helpful:
First, in the home. Having FAT parents. Parents that were faithful, to God and to one another. A home in which kids grow up with natural parents all of their lives. No divorce. No shuffling kids around. Parents who were faithful to God. Sunday was God’s day. Imagine the choices that would be decided ahead of time because one was faithful to God. Then Available. Available to talk. Available to attend games and activities. Available to parent. Then teachable. There to instruct and guide. There to grow. There to show God’s love and grace. FAT parents, what a difference that would make.
Second, in the church. Having FAT shepherds. Elders who were faithful to their tasks God has given them. Not managers of the estate, but shepherds among the sheep. Faithful to God in leading these people to Heaven. Shepherds who were available. When you need them, they are there. You can call them. You can reach out to them. They’d use their lunch break from work to meet with you. They’d give up a Saturday to help you. And, teachable. Through their examples and through their words they show you what a godly marriage looks like. They answer the dozens of questions we ask. They help us with our attitudes. They helps us to make the right choices. FAT shepherds.
Third, among our friends. Think what a great advantage your life would have if you had FAT spiritual friends. Friends who are faithful. They stick with you, even when you disagree. They stick with God no matter what. Friends that are available. They have journeyed with you and seen you at your best and at your worst and they remain your friend. And, teachable. They are always pulling the best out of you. They are always reminding you what God would want. FAT friends, how amazing that would be.
Fourth, we have a God who is faithful, available and teachable. That is our God. He is always God. He is true to His promises. He is always there. Always. He is always showing us through His word what we ought to be. Faithful, available and teachable.
Finally, are we that way? Will our kids remember us as being FAT? FAT, in this sense, or fat in being lazy, complaining and doing little? Do our friends see us as being FAT? Are we faithful or fair weather friends? Are we available or always busy? Are we teachable or do we just look the other way at wrongs? Does our church family see us as being FAT? Are we faithful? Are we available? Are we teachable? Or, are we hit and miss?
Our passage today, the final words of Nehemiah, ends with a short prayer. Remember me. O my God, for good. A similar prayer is uttered by King Hezekiah when he was told to set his house in order because he was going to die. Remember me, for good. They didn’t ask God to forgive them. They didn’t ask God to forget things. Remember. Remember me. Remember me always. Remember me for the good done. This is a prayer that can be asked by those who has made themselves faithful, available and teachable. F.A.T.
Some can be more loyal and dedicated to their sports team, hunting seasons, TV series than they are to God. F.A.T. – it would be good to remember that. It’s good to lose weight physically. But when it comes to spiritual matters, we ought to be FAT.