Ronald J. Sider says this in his book “Rich Christians Living in an Age of Hunger”: Hunger and starvation stalk the land. Famine is alive and well on planet earth. Millions of people die of starvation each year. Even the most conservative statistics reflect a horrifying situation. One billion people have stunted bodies or damaged brains because of inadequate food. Can over fed, comfortably clothed and luxuriously housed persons understand poverty? Can we really feel what it means for poverty-stricken parents to watch with helpless grief as their baby daughter dies of a common childhood disease because, like half of our global neighbors even today, they lack access to modern medicine? Probably not.
Certainly, without a doubt, one of the greatest sins in the United States is gluttony. Gluttony “looks the other way” from the poor in the world who die from starvation.
Gluttony leads to obesity. Obesity has become an epidemic. Obviously, not all obesity is from gluttony. Some of it may be genetic. But remember that you don’t have to be obese/overweight to commit the sin of gluttony either. Food can be a drug for people like heroin is for the drug addict or alcohol for the alcoholic.
Gluttony may reduce emotional pain so we think in the way of comfort food. When we are a little down, which bar down the street, refrigerator shelf, fast-food store, or ice cream shop to we retreat to provide solace for our weary souls? Someone has said that the “drug of the yuppies is gourmet food and fine wines.”
For example, I live in the state of Wisconsin. With its beautiful lakes, pastoral plains, and forests, sadly to say, it is one the more obese states in the nation. Being a dairy state, it has
a high consumption of cheese and meat. People here “live to eat” and it seems at times food has become a god. It’s not only the food but the types of foods that are the problem. Foods with high contents of sugar and saturated fats are “plugging” our arteries by the time we are 40 years old. Beer isn’t considered alcohol here like wine or whiskey is. It’s a staple drink that one has with their meals. Ask any college student at the University of Wisconsin.
On the other hand, there is emphasis on proper eating and exercise here in America. Some people have overemphasized it and have become consumed with their physical body while ignoring the spiritual side. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
The other extreme is being very spiritually minded but neglecting our bodies by overeating and not exercising. We can’t break God’s physical laws of health and get away with it. We can’t serve the Lord fully if our bodies are run down and not functioning the way God desired. The overweight, gluttonous body just does not function properly.
The Bible addresses what is healthy for us to eat. Since the Lord created the human body, He certainly knows what is best for us to consume. However, our eating habits have been sometimes established according the traditions of our families. Natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, certain meats and dairy products are best for us. Junk foods which are highly refined/processed are ones we should stay away from. For example, in Daniel 1:12-17, Daniel and his Jewish friends proved the wisdom of eating appropriately when they refused to eat the King’s meat and instead asked for vegetables, grains and water to have for 10 days. After that they appeared more healthy than the other servants. Bottom line: We need to learn to be good stewards of our bodies.
No doubt that God wants us to enjoy the good food that He has created for us. (Psalms 22:26) It is only
when we abuse our bodies through wrong eating (excess or junk food) that is sinful. Remember the first sin in the Bible that led to all of mankind’s downfall was when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate something they were told not to eat. (Genesis 3)
There is certainly nothing wrong with cooking and serving guests in our homes. But when our time revolves around eating rich and expensive food, and God is left out of our lives, there is a problem with priorities. We become obsessed with consumerism in many ways, and food is just one of the things we consume. How about clothes, cars, houses, things for the new baby, electronic gadgets, etc? This is materialism at its best.
In my next blog, I’ll finish my discussion on gluttony.
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