Summary: Christians are often quick to condemn alcoholics and drug addicts for their sin, but the Bible also denounces gluttony as a dangerous sin against our bodies which are God’s temple.
The Deadly Sin of Gluttony
A column entitled “Lite Fare” that appeared in The Christian Reader shares this story by Sherrie Murphree of Odessa, Texas: “My husband has an almost boundless appetite for ice cream, and it was obvious at a Sunday school party where he helped himself to a good sample of every flavor available. Later during a game time, he was asked: ‘If you could choose any famous couple to be your parents, who would they be?’ His answer came without hesitation: ‘Baskin and Robbins!’”
“Someone asked a pastor who had a rather sizeable pulpit blister, how he got that fat. He said, ‘I don’t know, it just snacked up on me.’” That pastor was not me, but it well could have been. For my birthday this past week Liz brought out all the old pictures including my fourth and fifth grade ones. Both clearly reveal that I was overweight; therefore, I got out all the old report cards. At the close of my fourth grade year in 1958 I weighed 102 pounds. One year later I had ballooned up to 116. Now that’s way too much weight for a fourth or fifth grade boy to carry.
Our second appointment at Alton Grace United Methodist Church had two potluck suppers per month. I remember one layman made this comment after we had attended for a couple of months, “Boy, preacher, you certain can put away the food.” That was back in 1978, the year I also started logging my runs and entering races, and it became the first time I became motivated to loose weight. Beginning at that point in my life I have lost and regained my weight a minimum of five times.
Although I lost a modest amount of weight when we first came to Trinity in 2005, I have not been able to return the comfortable, ideal 163-170 range and 34 inch waist I reached in previous attempts. After my fractured fibula one year ago I topped off at the most I have ever weighed in my life. At the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008 I tipped the scales at 228 pounds. On February 4th I joined “The Biggest Looser” at the YMCA and in the first two weeks lost 8.5 pounds. Tomorrow will be my third time to “weigh in.”
I poured out my heart to you in my last message by openly sharing my pilgrimage with Jesus and confessing that my besetting sin has always been envy, but “The Deadly Sin of Gluttony” is not far behind. Believe it or not, I was a picky eater until I had my tonsillectomy at age seven. Mom was the typical Mother in the fifties, as she kept insisting that I must “clean up my plate,” but I never would. However, once the tonsils came out, the appetite became ravenous.
Other than brussel sprouts and asparagus, there is no food that I dislike, and now I can even tolerate a few brussel sprouts. I have a sweet tooth that is usually “out of control,” especially for anything chocolate. I like our contemporary gas stations, for they are all Convenient Stores. When I purchase gas, most always I also buy a “Giant Snicker” candy bar and sometimes a package of Hostess cupcakes too. I’ve come to prefer the new “Almond” Snickers, and I keep telling Liz, “Don’t worry, they are almonds, and almonds are healthy food.”
Gluttony is a continuous temptation and battle for me. Since that tonsillectomy almost 53 years ago, I have been a voracious eater. I’ve always craved seconds—and even thirds, and at funeral dinners or church potlucks I usually fill up a dessert plate. Gluttony is not only a personal problem, temptation, and sin for me but for my dog and cat as well.
Anyone who is a glutton habitually eats and drinks too much. Therefore, Scripture often links gluttony with drunkenness. A glutton is “an excessively greedy eater.” He or she devours large quantities of food. My problem over the past several years is that I have not been disciplined in both my exercise program and my eating habits at the same time. The two are different sides of the same coin and must work in cooperation with one another to maintain an ideal weight and healthy lifestyle. I’ve often heard the question asked, “Do you eat to live, or do you live to eat?” Most of my life I have been “a glutton who lives to eat.” Gluttony is a deadly sin as is anything that is done in excess. As Christians we so often point the finger at those who excessively consume alcohol or tobacco products but remain spiritually blind when it comes to the sin of gluttony. It’s so easy to judge the sins of others while ignoring our own that are equally as wrong.