We begin this week on gluttony by asking our friends at Merriam-Webster for a definition of this third deadly sin. MW defines gluttony as (1) excess in eating or drinking; (2) greedy or excessive indulgence.
Definition one is my normal “go-to,” but definition two is even more challenging when it comes to choosing how we live our lives. How do I practice gluttony? Let me count the ways. As a baby boomer, I have seen self-indulgence as a sadly defining dynamic of my generation: bigger houses, enormous SUVs, exotic vacations. Keeping up with the Joneses is how we keep score. I’m not proud of this.
The Bible says much about gluttony’s deadly trap. But today’s text warns of the elemental dangers of excess consumption—and of keeping company with those who overindulge: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat (v. 20, NIV). If we’re looking to improve our diet, showing up for “Chicken Wings and Nachos Happy Hour” may not be our best choice. In that environment, we tend to encourage everyone to overindulge…a not-so-subtle justification for our own “I’ll have another” decision. The author doesn’t focus on the negative impact on our bodies here, which we’re keenly aware of today, but on the broader impact of overdoing it, specifically, the hangover effect. No one is at their best the morning following a food and wine bacchanal. Put enough of those “morning after” moments together and poverty is sure to come—both economic and spiritual.
Solomon implicitly encourages us to make each day count to its fullest and admonishes the reader to focus on what goes into our bodies. It impacts tomorrow.
Intentionally making good choices about what we eat and drink honors our bodies and our Creator. How does this assurance affect your menu today?
God, give me the wisdom to make good choices today so that I can avoid asking for forgiveness tomorrow. Amen.