The dictionary defines gluttony in very simple terms: “excessive eating or drinking.” It surely is that. But I believe it is more than that. Gluttony is the sin of finding your chief joy in food, drink, & sloth while despising the responsibility to actively love & serve others. Gluttony plays itself out in eating too much, eating too often, and spending too much time & money on the consumption of food & drink. In addition to that, the glutton does not regularly work hard with his hands. He does not exercise frequently. And he does not prioritize helping others in physical need. Basically, he lives to eat rather than eating to live. He desires food and despises work. He loves the dinner table and loathes the workbench. He runs to the lunch buffet and retreats from the church workday. That is the glutton.
Is food bad or sinful? Certainly not! God has given us food to enjoy. He has graciously provided all kinds of wonderful fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats so that meals never have to be boring. God wants us to gather around the table and richly enjoy His provision. He wants us to appreciate the variety of sweetness, saltiness, creaminess, crispness, crunchiness, and richness of food & drink as we eat together at the table. But when it is all said and done, He does not want us to stay at the table! He wants us to get up, get out, and get going. He wants us to use the food we’ve enjoyed as fuel to fulfill our God-given privileges & responsibilities.
So here is the principle: If you regularly feast on the wonderful food God has provided, but rarely work to love & serve others around you, then you are a glutton. Your joy is in feasting, not in serving. And this is sin.
Here is where it gets even deeper for us. There is such a thing as gospel-gluttony. This is the sin of feasting on the good news of the Gospel without leaving the table to love & serve others with that Gospel. It is played out every week in the lives of Christians like you and me. We drive to church and revel in God’s love for us. We celebrate communion and are overwhelmed by the cross-work of Jesus. We sing “Oh the Deep, Deep Love” of Jesus and our hearts are captivated by the Savior’s affection. We hear the Gospel preached and our hearts are moved to profound worship of our glorious God. And then…we do nothing. We wait a week for another feast. We gather around the table again and enjoy the Gospel meal. We eat. And we wait to eat again. We eat. And we wait to eat again. We eat. And we wait to eat again. And so goes the cycle of Gospel-gluttony.
Here is the principle: If you regularly feast on the Gospel that God has provided, but never give that Gospel to others around you, then you are a Gospel-glutton. Your joy is in feasting, not in serving. And this is sin.
Danger awaits us if we always feast on the Gospel and never give the Gospel. These dangers include pride, selfishness, callousness, laziness, doubt, fear, & faithlessness. Please allow me to expound on a few of these dangers: Pride – If we always feast on the Gospel and never take others the Gospel, we will begin to think highly of ourselves because we are so full of Gospel truth. Instead of being a lean, mean Gospel machine, we will become overweight know-it-alls who are full of ourselves, rather than full of Christ. Selfishness – If we always feast on the Gospel and never take it to others we will begin to think that the Gospel is really all about “me.” My life. My joy. My circumstances. My family. My church. Me, myself, & I. We will want to eat all we can, can all we eat, and sit on the lid so no one else can have any. Callousness – If we always feast but never serve, we will lose compassion for the hurting & lost. We will drive by our neighbor’s house & never consider his lost condition. We will sit in a cubicle next to our depressed coworker and our hearts will no longer break for him. We will become hardened to his needs.
You can see how this works can’t you? Is there anything wrong with enjoying the feast of the Gospel? No! Please go to the table as much as you can. It is an all-you-can-eat-buffet of love, mercy, grace, and peace. By all means, go to church every Sunday. Take communion regularly. Sing Gospel songs. Listen to Gospel sermons. And read Gospel books. Get your heart happy in our Gospel God. But please, please leave the table, take the Gospel with you, and give it to people who haven’t ever had a legitimate meal a single day in their life.
The spiritual climate around us is cold & dark. These are lean times. People are starving out there. So get some Tupperware, put some Gospel in it, and take it to work with you today. Take it to the gym with you this afternoon. Take it over to your neighbor’s house tonight. There is plenty of the Gospel to go around. And while you’re at it, invite them to the feast on Sunday.