Gluttony and God’s Kids: When is Enough, Enough?
- April 04, 2018
- Lori Travers
Ever go to a “covered dish” event, fill your plate to overflowing with assortments of “salads” saturated with mayo, cheese, bacon bits, and other yummy add-ins, making room for the grilled meats, piling on the broccoli casserole or green beans swimming in butter? It might look like this: My plate is about to burst at the seams, but wait! Where will I fit the cheesecake, butter cookies, and banana pudding?? I’ll have to make another trip to the smorgasbord table in hopes there might be some sugary morsels left for me. But all this taste and texture is making me thirst, so I place my Hefty plate down alongside of the cake plate (this plate nicely doubles as a pudding bowl) and I make my way to the approved drinks. What will it be? Orange Fanta? Cheerwine (which is neither wine nor makes me cheerful)? Maybe some sweet tea (ie, syrup, dunked tea bag, and a little water added)? OK, I’ll opt for the classic Coke (addictions are hard to break). It’s time to dig into the feast, and as I do I will likely engage in conversation with other ravenous diners.
That’s where the hypocrisy can begin.
Before I begin this conversation, let me clarify two things. First, my current church’s covered dish gatherings rarely lead to this scenario. And second, I am likely to step on some toes here.
I’ve been around the church for a good long time and I know what the unacceptable sins are. Don’t sleep around, don’t get drunk, don’t lie, cheat and steal. But for some odd reason, we deeply embrace gorging without giving it a second thought. Meanwhile, our saints are getting sicker by the minute, replete with statin drugs, insulin shots, and gastric bypass surgeries. Why is this topic rarely ever addressed?
Is it possible that we believe that Peter’s vision of the sheet coming down from Heaven where God said to him, “Kill and eat” opened the door for our excessive gobbling? (See Acts 10:9-16) But clearly, this had to do with keeping the Law and how Christ had already fulfilled that. Peter wasn’t told to throw common sense and caring for the temple of the Holy Spirit out the window just because he didn’t have to follow the O.T. dietary laws anymore.
I think about the Israelites as they grumbled to God about their hunger in the desert. Surely God provided for them! He gave them the perfect amounts of food to satisfy their hunger, even though they had no idea what in the world it was! This manna was to be gathered enough for each day and enough for each person (approx. one quart) to eat, and not save any till the morning or it would wind up stinking and full of maggots (ew!!!). Unfortunately, they had to learn that lesson the hard way. But God, in all His wisdom, knew what they needed. He provided for their needs in a perfectly healthy, balanced way.
So, how did we get so out of balance?
This is a huge topic with many facets, but let’s think about it and talk about it. Are we throwing stones at those with the “really bad” sins, yet ignoring our “acceptable” sins? Is gorging actually sin? It depends on how you read scripture, so let’s settle that issue now. In at least 2 Proverbs (the book of WISDOM) there are warnings not to hang out with gluttons (Prov. 23:20-21; 28:7) and in another, to “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”(Prov. 23:2) (ouch!!) The new covenant believer is to “walk in the Spirit” and “not fulfill the desires of the flesh”. And the beautiful picture of walking in the Spirit produces a loveliness that God Himself calls “fruit”, which of course, includes the fruit of self-control.
Maybe it’s an orphan mentality, whereby we feel we need to gather it all up and stuff our faces because we don’t believe we’ll be provided for. Maybe it stems from childhood comfort in a chaotic home, where food was the only alleviation of pain within. But wherever our gluttonous habits have arisen from, like all other idols, they fall short of the abundance the Lord wants to lavish on us. HE is the “bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51). HE is the soul-hunger Satisfier.
Sisters and brothers, I submit this: Could our souls be hungrier than our bellies? Are we trying to fill a craving that no amount of sweets, fats, or salts could ever satisfy? Let’s feast on the true Bread, allowing Him to heal love-hunger, as He gives us true contentment and fullness.
Taste and see that the LORD is good!