Fresh off the heels of gobbling down Thanksgiving dinner, and only a few weeks away from chowing down on a sumptuous Christmas feast, I choose to address the topic of gluttony. We are impacted by gluttony in ways we may not even understand. It seems ironic that gluttony is starving our soul. Find out what I mean in today’s message.
As we all know, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. We may not see ourselves as gluttonous, but most likely we are. The word gluttony comes to us from the Latin word “gluttire,” which means to swallow or to gulp down. In its traditional sense, it is associated with an excessive indulgence of food and drink. But gluttony goes beyond just food and drink.
Gluttony can be applied to the overconsumption of pretty much anything. Gluttony may be caused by our obsession with, and/or our excessive appetite for, news, sports, shopping, computer games, smartphones, iPads, clothing, television, travel, sex, social media, and an endless list of other items. In an odd way, our excessive consumption is starving us. Perhaps it is time to change our diet.
Proverbs 25:16 tells us, “If you find honey, eat only what you need, lest you have your fill and vomit it up.” This verse correlates with the modern expression, “too much of a good thing may be dangerous.” The wisdom of that statement can be applied to almost every aspect of life.
Let me give you an example that I am clearly guilty of. In our modern era of 24/7 news, many of us have become “news-oholics.” Just like an alcoholic has a favorite drink of choice, most of us have our news source of choice. It’s hard to find balanced unbiased news. According to a recent report, news sources like CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC tend to lean left, and news sources like Fox News, Newsmax, The National Review and Blaze, lean right.
Those with a ravenous appetite for news usually only consume the news that reinforces their own opinions and beliefs. Just as a balanced diet consumed in moderation is good for us, the same could be said about the consumption of news. News consumed in moderation from balanced sources would likely be healthier. Too much news from one source and from one point of view may be hardening the arteries to our heart. A glutenous consumption of news from one source could cause a type of full body neuropathy leading to a numbness in our views and interactions with others.
I do not want to belabor this point. The overconsumption of news is just one of the endless examples of gluttony. The list of things we overindulge in goes on and on.
Christmas shopping is another example. Reports show us that during the Christmas shopping season, most people will overindulge. Commercials try to convince us our holidays will be better if we just spend a little more. So, most consumers spend, spend, and spend. This overspending is just another form of gluttony. According to an article in Forbes, “7 out of 10 Americans exceed their budgets during the holidays, and 37% of those taking on holiday debt said it would take them at least five months to pay it off.”
According to that same Forbes article, this gluttonous consumption before Christmas will leave consumers with “higher than expected credit card statements, tighter finances than imagined, increased stress, and regret over the amount of money spent.”
In the worst cases, gluttonous consumption can deprive another person or even an entire country of life-giving necessities. Around the globe some countries live in excess while other countries have starving populations. This sounds like the story in Luke 16:19-20, “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores.”
Gluttony can involve the worship of many things and it can be caused by the desire for excessive pleasure from just about anything. Earlier I mentioned that gluttony can come from the overindulgence of sports, computer games, smartphones, iPads, clothing, television, travel, sex, social media, and an endless list of other items.
Jesus tells us in Mark 12:30, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Too often our gluttonous appetite for the things of this world crowd out God. It is hard to love God with all of our heart while we have an insatiable hunger for so many other things. Our Christian faith calls us to self-mastery. If we are honest, many things in life are exerting mastery over us instead. I’ll close with a few discussion questions.
- What things do I overindulge in?
- Are these things crowding God out of my life?
- Have some of these things become gods in my life?
- Looking at where I spend my time, does it reflect that God is number one in my life?
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for all of the times I have eaten more than my fill of the things of this world. Worldly things will never fill the yearnings inside. The only thing that will truly quench my appetite is to have more of Jesus in my life. He alone is the source of everlasting joy and happiness. During this Advent Season I pray, come Lord Jesus come. Amen!
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