The title of this blog is a saying my brother Jim often uses. It’s about greed, and how greed can overtake us. But this particular blog is about gluttony, when our eating habits get greedily voracious and out of control. There are ample warnings for us in the Bible about our attitudes toward eating. Let’s face it; gluttony in the good ole USA IS an “in your face” issue. Personal or cultural. Live to eat or eat to live. It’s a choice.
And gluttony is something we don’t hear about as Christians. It isn’t something preachers preach about, that is for sure. Nobody wants to hear about it. It’s SO close to us. But God certainly has something to say about the topic, and it’s all negative, as you would imagine. When we will turn from our gluttonous ways?
It’s one thing to have a feast in celebration. In Luke 15:23-24, the father of the returned Prodigal son says, “Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”
We love to celebrate. And we should.
We have found good excuses to “celebrate” almost daily. What do we come together and celebrate? New pregnancies, new babies, new engagements, weddings, graduations, holidays, sporting events, etc. Any excuse we can to have a party. What do we do at these celebrations? EAT!
There is such an abundance of all kinds of foods. Our social agendas often revolve around a meal. We are especially tempted to overeat during the holiday season. Vacationing is another time when our “guard” for overeating goes down. The average American gains over five pounds on a vacation cruise! Ask anybody about their cruise, and they all say, “You can’t believe how much great food they had, and it’s ‘All you can eat!’.
Proverbs 23:1-3 says this: When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony, do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
These verses say we need to be careful (like we have a knife at our throat) when we are invited to the table of a person of importance, in this case the king. Think about where you are; what impression will your conduct make? We can have a negative impact on those around us by our over-consumption of food or “pigging out”. It shows a lack of self-control. If you are trying to be an example with your conduct, then don’t be gluttonous. If Jesus warned the disciples about gluttony, then we must also be warned. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.” (Luke 21:34) Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that he “beats his body, and makes it his slave.” He tried to not let the lusts of the body (which led to gluttony) rule him. The king may be a glutton himself, but you don’t have to be like him.
The tendency for us is to abuse the many gifts of plenty that God gives us. “God makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate–bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.” (Psalm 104:14) The gift of wine (and alcoholic drinks) is frequently abused, and in so doing gets us in trouble. (Proverbs 23:20-21) Isaiah warns us in Isaiah 5:11-12, “Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.”
We live in a “land of plenty”, but we often have problems from abuse of our abundance. When we over-eat or over -drink, we can often get physically sick. Remember when the Israelites were fed by God with manna bread and quail from heaven in Exodus 16? They had been complaining about His lack of concern for them, so He gave them so much
manna and quail that it was literally “coming out of their ears”, and they got sick of it.
In my next two blogs, I will continue to delve into the sin of gluttony. I need to. Let’s all admit that we stumble in this area and need to be forgiven at times for our “piggish” ways.