Summary: We look at the sin of Gluttony and examine the spiritual issues concering this largely ignored sin
October 1st, 2006
Well today we continue our series on the Seven Deadly Sins and we only have two more left in our series. Today we’re looking at gluttony. Now for many it’s hard for us to think of gluttony in the same light as pride, or anger. We reason it’s not one of those bad sins like adultery or stealing. All gluttony does is make you soft and huggable. It’s a cute sin.
The reality is that gluttony can make you do things you would never do normally and it can have terrible consequences. An old man and a young man worked in office next to each other. The young man had noticed that the older man always seemed to have a jar of peanuts on his desk. The young man loved peanuts.
One day while the older man was away from his desk the young man couldn’t resist and went to the old man’s jar and ate over half the peanuts.
When the old man returned the young man felt guilty and confessed to taking the peanuts.
The old man responded "That’s ok since I lost my teeth all I can do is lick the chocolate off the M&Ms."
Once more, as I did my research for this sermon, I’m stunned at how this sin too has gripped our society. It seems that every other week we’re hearing some statistic about the dangers of being overweight, how we’re raising a generation of overweight children, how fast-food is contributing to the crises is health care. And then I came across this. (play Video - I downloaded and edited for length the promo video from the International Federation of Competitive Eating website http://www.ifoce.com/)
Perhaps more than any other, of all the Seven Deadly Sins, this may be the one which the church is least vigilant with. One statistic I came across said that 60% of all professing Christians are overweight and out of shape because they are mastered by their appetites. Apparently the path to the potluck supper table and the path to sanctification lie in opposite directions.
Its easy thought to see how eating can get out of control. Between the ages of 20 and 50, the average person spends about 20,000 hours – over 800 days – eating. And it is really the first pleasure that we experience in life. All we had to do was cry, kick and scream loud enough and we were rewarded with sweet, warm milk. Almost all of our attention was focused upon that one pleasure. Soon we began to grow and we’d hear compliments from our Aunts like, “Oh my, he’s such a good eater” and our Uncle would add, “You’re certainly getting to be a big boy now.” And of course our reward from Grandma and Grandma for being so cute and eating all our supper was candy and desserts. Now all of a sudden everything is different.
Now, don’t get mislead regarding all this talk about food. The Bible is very positive about food. In fact the word gluttony is scarcely mentioned in the Bible and the bible encourages us to enjoy food as much, if not more then they warn us against it. Right in the first book of the Bible we’re told that Eden was planted with “every tree that is pleasant to sight and good for food.” In the final book of the Bible we are told there is “the tree of life, with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month.” In the Song of Solomon the lover takes the beloved to “the banqueting house.” The great climax of history will be celebrated at the “marriage supper of the lamb.” And Jesus Himself taught us to pray for our “daily bread.” Even the way we are encouraged to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus is around a meal. No gluttony is not primarily about eating.
Gluttony like all the other Seven Deadly Sins has to do with our hearts attitude. It is not about appearance. As one author put it external dimensions are no predictor of internal rebellion. There are many thin people who are overtaken with the sin of gluttony.
A glutton is a person debased and excessive in his or her eating habits. It is not primarily concerned with food itself and certainly we have a need to eat, it has to do with how we go about our eating and in the thought we give to our eating. Perhaps the fact that we don’t think of it as being that bad shows that gluttony has already taken a greater hold of our heart than we would like. Oh sure, we may think its bad for our waistline but a sin which destroys our soul? I’ll have to think about that one over a coffee, maybe a slice of cake too, even though I know I probably shouldn’t.