We often dismiss gluttony as being unimportant and inapplicable. If it matters at all, we rationalize, it is something committed by other people. We cavalierly claim that gluttony is a sin of the obese.
No matter our condition, we do whatever it takes to toss this aside. God, however, did not consult us before writing Scripture. We are to adhere to what God says as humble servants rather than picking what we like in the spiritual buffet line.
We must understand that it is a false assumption that gluttony is simply eating too much and making ourselves fat. The truth is more complicated.
Gluttony means to gorge ourselves to the point that we feel we will explode. It would often refer to those who would attend banquets, eat prodigious amounts of food, purge and return to the table for more. The true importance of gluttony is in the mind rather than the fork. It is a life of excess and waste.
One quick word before we move on about the myth that gluttony is the fat sin. People are overweight for a variety of reasons. We can stereotype people in violation of Matthew 7:1-2 by unfairly accusing them of being gluttons. At its core, one’s weight is a complicated matter that is determined by far more than the amount of food we consume. Our genetics, overall health, medications and physical condition all play a part in our weight, in addition to what we eat.
One woman I know needs to lose a lot of weight but she has almost debilitating problems with her legs, feet and back. Her physical condition makes it very difficult for her to exercise. She eats one meal [constituting one plate of food] a day and yet does not lose any weight.
On the other hand, some thin people can eat amazing amounts of food and not gain any weight. We must be careful not to speak authoritatively when we have no idea of what we speak.
Overeating is bad stewardship and should not have a place in our lives. Proverbs 25:16 says, “eat only as much as you need.”
The word gluttony refers to squander, waste and excess. We can improperly use the blessings God has given us. Scripture describes a glutton as one who cannot control their appetites.
“Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags” (Proverbs 23:19-21, NKJV).
Scripture ties gluttony and laziness together (Proverbs 6:9-11). “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God is clear on how he feels about laziness (Proverbs 18:9).
“When Jesus was accused of being ‘a glutton and a drunkard’ (Matthew 11:19) it was in this expanded sense of being one given to loose and excessive living. Gluttony makes one sleepy, leads to laziness, and eventually to poverty.”/1
We must be careful with God’s things. He provides his children with what they need (Matthew 6:25-34). However, his standards are significantly different than ours are. Thus, we violate his standards and become poor stewards (Psalm 24:1; Exodus 16:16-21). He desires simplicity while we command excess. We must fight this impulse every day.
One final word about eating is important. Too many of God’s people are not taking good care of their bodies. If we all destroy our health by our lifestyles, who will carry the gospel to the lost and help the poor if we are all dead. Think about it.