Confessions of an Over-Consuming, Gluttonous, Squanderer of God’s Wealth: Rethinking How the Church Handles Food and Finances

   

Image by Taylor Summach

When one thinks of gluttony, images of some morbidly obese person stuffing himself with five cheeseburgers while sitting in a car is the sort of image one gets. Because very few people see this sin in themselves. Most look past the sin of gluttony in the various lists of damnable sins which if practiced cut one off from the kingdom of God. But the reality is, gluttony is a very major problem for most if not all people in America. Simply put, gluttony is the focus on and overconsumption of food.

But how is this measured in our lives? Perhaps some of the more difficult aspects of identifying sin in our lives is the need for close examination of our motives and our soul—not necessarily a common practice in our society.

But when one examines the way we think about food and treat it in our lives, one is lead to the inevitable conclusion that we are a very gluttonous people.

How many times have you or I eaten more than what was necessary? And not just “stuffed” but more than satisfied. I dare say we in American society overeat more often than not—I certainly do, to my shame.

The problem lies in the way I or any other glutton thinks about food. When one eats, it is not about satisfying the needs of the body or gaining the proper strength to continue on working. No, it is about the food. It is about the taste. It is about how good it is.

I was struck with several images over my thanksgiving meal last night. My Grandfather, an old school Christian to be sure, prayed over our meal. And I found it odd.

“Most precious Father, thank you for the bounty of food you have provided and placed before us. May we use it to strengthen our bodies and give us energy to do your work here on earth…”

There were several more minutes of prayer, all thanking God for the food He provides.

What struck me was his attitude toward the food. It wasn’t about the amazing feast, the tastes and smells. The food was not meant to be eaten simply for the pleasure of eating—because it tasted good. No, the food was meant to give strength to out bodies to do the work of Christ!

few people truly see food in this way. It is always about what “sounds good” to eat. It is always about the physical pleasure.

We can so easily turn food and the stomach into a god.

While God clearly has given and created and blessed the art of cooking and making food taste good—something He has undoubtedly taken great pleasure in—we so quickly and easily turn something beautiful into something disgusting.

Much like how the world has perverted sex, a once beautiful and divine creation to be enjoyed in marriage is now tainted by random and illicit sex accompanied by pornography and other contortions of God’s design.

And the consequences of gluttony are grim.

There is the obvious conclusion of an unhealthy body and one being overweight.

But there is something much deeper.

A loss of money.

Think of how much money you or I, or an entire local church, wastes in buying more food than what is necessary. Thousands upon thousands of dollars consumed for the pure pleasure of it, and all of these resources could be spent expanding the kingdom of God even further.

The heart of gluttony is greed. A lust for more.

And while difficult to accept, with every gluttonous bite one takes that is one less bite you could provide for some starving and hungry child.

How greedy are we, the rich and wealthy sitting atop our mountain of Western wealth stuffing our faces as we watch the starving eyes of Children around the world look up to us begging for just a crumb.

So next time you supersize your meal or decide to eat more than you need, keep in mind that a child dies of starvation every five seconds.

Christ charged the church to feed the hungry.

Let’s wake up and start doing his work, seeing food in it’s proper place in our lives.

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  • Dude,

    I just read this (close to the same) thought in Pipers book "Pierced By the Word: Thirty-one Meditations for Your Soul". This day was titled " How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God". IN this Piper speaks of how we as people are completely deprave because we are unable to keep the simple of command of 1 Cor. 10:31 " SO, whether you eat or drink, or what ever you do, do all to the glory of God." He makes the point of saying and showing that we are unable to do or give glory to God if we are not Christians 1st. Then he continues talking about do we need seconds when it comes to eating? No! We need to realize, as you put, that food is there to help sustain our physical wellbeing nothing more than that. Yes it is ok to eat a burger or have a cookie but to over indulge is no worse than looking at porn on the web, having unrighteous anger and the list goes on.

    Great post, as always Jon.
    Keep it up sir.

  • Jonathandkeck

    Shawn, Awesome thoughts. I haven't read anything from Piper. I know, crazy huh? I hear great things all the time. I need to get on that one. Anything specific anyone can recommend for my first venture into Piper?

  • Jonathandkeck

    Thanks Eric. Sounds good. It's going on the "to buy" list!

  • Desiring God is one of my all time favorite books and also his most well known. If you pick that one up, you will have a good understanding of Piper’s theology.

  • Scott

    I can't say that I agree with all of his views but "A Sweet and Bitter Providence" is a great book that jumps into the book of Ruth and thus far Piper has blown me away!

  • Jonathandkeck

    What views do you dislike or disagree with Scott? Curious.

  • Eric

    Piper is a reformed theologian, so I imagine that many would disagree with his views on predestination. Regardless of his views on specific doctrines though, Piper has a strong heart for God and has been one of the more influential people in my faith recently.

  • MorganaPendragon

    Nothing wrong with enjoying food and “overweight” includes muscle mass, water weight and bone density as well as fat!

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