Is Gluttony a Sin? – A Book Review

Every now and then I’m asked by a publisher to do a book review. Not long ago, Zondervan offered to send me the book Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas for free if I’d be to write a blog post about it. Well, uh…yeah! I love to read and stuff that is free. Plus the topic of the book intrigued me.

The title is a play on words – it’s not talking about everybody but every body matters. Thomas connects our spiritual being with our physical body. When you take care of your body with healthy eating and physical exercise, you’re empowering your spirit with zeal to do good work for God.

Thomas is quick to point out that he’s not promoting one to build his or her body to be admired by others, but instead to strengthen it in order to serve God.

One point he made that stood out to me was that Satan is not concerned with “what” brings our ministry down but only that it ends. For some that may be poor health. God desires for us all to have many years serving Him and if our health is depleting, we rob God and ourselves of the opportunity to bless others.

In one chapter he mentioned Nelson Mandela who spent twenty-seven years in jail. His jail cell was no bigger than a queen size bed but Mandela would run in place for an hour, do push-ups and crunches in order to keep him from dwindling.

In his youth, Mandela had been an amateur boxer and devoted runner. He learned lessons of perseverance and strength from these sports that he was able to apply it to his extended stay in jail.

Mandela was 75-years-old when he became president of South Africa and remained in office until he was 80-years-old. He physical strength enabled him to lead his country once he was free. He was able to fulfill the role that God had created him for.

Thomas does warn about idolizing our body and exercising. He’s sensitive to those who may be struggling with food. However, he’s very bold in stating that the church needs to address (in love) gluttony how we care for our bodies.

Overall, this was a really good read that challenged and inspired me to see that caring for my health is a spiritual thing. I don’t need to feel guilty for taking an hour of my day to exercise. He does a lot of quoting to prove his points. At times this disrupted my reading, but not too badly. Plus, most of the quotes were really good so in a sense it negates it.

So what are your thoughts on exercise and healthy eating?

Do you see exercise as a spiritual discipline?

Is it a sin if we neglect our bodies and eat junk food?

Let me know what you think. I’m eager to hear!


  1. Aw shucks. I just put a pan of brownies into the oven. But I agree with this! Th

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Did you say brownies! The only sin I see here is that you didn’t invite me over! ha

      Thanks for reading!


  2. Gluttony is sinful. However, seeing an overweight person as saying “glutton” automatically is as well. It is judging upon appearances, not upon the person. This is where I believe the church would fail, in miserable fashion, addressing the issue. We like our little boxes and everyone to fit.

    I am a mid 30’s male who is overweight. I have had brain surgery, liver surgery and host of other things because of a genetic pre disposition. I am healthy now. However, my B.P. gets about 150 for more then a minute I have a very high risk of irreparable brain damage. I do not fit the box.

    For me to be overweight is O.K. I eat balanced, I walk and do other things. However, I am a writer and cubicle dweller. I do not get much excercise. Am I a glutton for doing these things to take care of the ministry to my family?

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Hi Carl,

      Thank you for sharing this! You bring up a very good point. We’re never to judge others. That is God’s role alone. Thomas, in his book, was very proactive in addressing this and I apologize if I didn’t communicate it clearly. He in no way talked in a judgmental tone and went to great lengths to be sensitive to this. His main point is that our service to God is enhanced when we take care of ourselves.

      Reading your story, I would not consider you a glutton. We do the best with what we have. Due to work and family, I, personally, don’t have the time to put in hours of exercise and it’s hard for us to always afford to eat healthy. I believe Thomas’ main point was to not give up and do nothing. I believe that is why his story of Nelson Mandela resonated so well with me. From what you have shared, you’re doing great in the midst of your circumstances. My hat is off to you. Praise God you are healthy now and I pray it will continue to improve.

      Thank you Carl for sharing this. It’s an important message to share, that we’re not to create a box and try to get others to fit into it.



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