“Eat, drink, and be merry” is a famous adage that we have grown up with from the 1960’s to now. It’s about living in your comfort zone and feeding those comforts with endless wants. People will do anything they can to “be merry”. It’s about clinging to things on this earth to get meaning in life. It’s filling that “God-shaped vacuum” we all have in our souls with earthly consumption. We joke about our eating habits and the other ways we consume. Our cars have bumper stickers that read, “Born to shop” or “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping”. Led Zeppelins’ famous song “Stairway to Heaven” is about a person who used consumerism in an attempt to get to heaven. “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven” may
have been the theme of the day, but only a faith in Jesus Christ our Savior brings us to heaven. The 1980s brought the rise of the urban professional whose motto was to have it all, do it all, and by all means make it happen now.
Generation Xers (1965-1983) complain that Baby Boomers (1945-1964) are a generation of over consumption of material things. However, the Xers aren’t immune to gluttony either. This generation is more focused on the consumption of experiences than the Boomers. Life’s meaning is derived in having done it all–from extreme sports to world travel. That’s why “Fear Factor” is so popular on television. Television commercials feed on our gluttony problem. Messages we receive say that if we eat more of this, drink more of this, have this in our wardrobe, this new car parked in our garage, or this new computer set-up, we will be happier. We spend billions of dollars searching for that happiness in a gluttonous fashion. Billy Graham has said, “God has given us two hands-one to receive with, and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding-we are channels made for sharing.”
We can’t blame the abundance of food on our “food gluttony”. On March 10, 2004, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure known as the “cheeseburger bill.” The bill is designed to protect the fast food industry from potential lawsuits filed by overweight customers. Caesar Barber, 56, pointed the finger at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Burger King for his two heart attacks, diabetes, and weight problem. Gregory Rhymes, a 15-year-old high school student, joined his mother in blaming fast food restaurants for his obesity. Rhymes’s mother stood before a judge and stated she “always believed McDonald’s was healthy for my son.” Gregory weighs nearly 400 pounds. The purpose of the “cheeseburger bill” is to stop these kinds of lawsuits. As Representative f. James Sensenbrenner Jr. says, “Don’t run off and file a lawsuit if you are fat. Look in the mirror because you’re often the one to blame.” (John Beukema, Western Springs, Illinois)
Gluttony can be a subtle sin. We often consume more than we need just to consume. It causes us to “impulse buy” and to buy excessively. “Buy now, and pay later ” just increases our debt. Garage sales, rummage sales, and flea markets are very popular in this part of the country. People live for the shopping spree. We may not need “another person’s junk”, but the lure of getting something “on sale”, or close to nothing, makes us buy it anyway. We should go through our closets every year and give to the poor the clothes that we don’t touch or wear (and wouldn’t think of wearing)! Simply said, gluttony is a sign of misplaced priorities.
Rearrange your life’s priorities. Do a mental and spiritual check where you are at regarding gluttony. It’s good to “de-clutter”!
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