Life Notes—June 27, 2013
“O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes, and remove evil desire from me. Let neither gluttony nor lust overcome me, and do not give me over to shameless passion.” Sirach 23:4-6
At my home I am the trash man. Every Tuesday evening I empty the various trash cans throughout our home and take our large trash container down to the road for collection on Wednesday morning. Another part of the job is removing food that has passed its prime from our refrigerators. Most weeks I throw away a quantity of food equivalent to what might normally feed us for another day or two. Just as bad as or worse than the food I throw out is the food I consume, which is consistently more than I need for sustenance. When I was a child I was taught to clean my plate, meaning to eat everything I had been given so nothing went to waste, a practice that has been hard to break as an adult. Of course, excess food that is consumed may not go to waste, but to my waist!
The second of the seven deadly sins is gluttony. Gluttony can be defined as the over-indulging in or over-consuming of anything to the point of being wasteful. One reason the excess desire for food is considered sinful is because what we consume beyond our need is, in theory at least, food that is not available for the poor and hungry. Indeed, as a child being told to clean my plate, the reason given was that there were starving children elsewhere in the world that would love to have the food I didn’t want (never mind that I would’ve been happy to send them my broccoli). The underlying trait for gluttony is selfishness, or placing priority for my own satisfaction above concern for the well-being or need of those around me. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval church leader, listed six ways to commit gluttony, including eating too soon, eating too expensively, eating too much, eating to eagerly, eating too daintily and eating wildly. While I don’t remember ever eating daintily, I am probably guilty of the other five ways several times each week!
But if we restrict our understanding of gluttony only to food, we probably let ourselves off too easily. Like lust, gluttony is a sin of excess and can manifest in many different areas of our lives. Whenever we are too stingy in sharing our blessings—be they time, money, talents or other commonly-needed attributes—we run the risk of succumbing to gluttony. The verse above is from a book in the Apocrypha, a collection of books similar to those in the Bible that were not included in the official biblical literature. We are called to be generous in sharing our blessings. We came into this world with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. In between, we are to share what we have been given.
Life worship is at 10:00 in Brady Hall and traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Our west campus has two worship services at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. Where may gluttony be separating me from God?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator