Las Vegas is often referred to as ‘Sin City’. There’s gambling, drinking, prostitution and other harmful pursuits. There’s also the Heart Attack Grill. It’s a famous burger joint known for offering huge amounts of unhealthy food with names like the ‘Triple Bypass Hamburger’ and ‘Flatliner Fries’. People over 350 pounds are welcome to eat for free. Basically, it’s a celebration of overeating and binging, or what can be called gluttony.
For most of world history, food was not always available in abundance. A good harvest was necessary to get through the winter months. A bad harvest would mean famine or worse. Wasting food or taking more than your share was immoral.
In our world, we joke about gluttony at Christmas time or other holidays when we overeat. However, it is really more about a lifestyle than one feast. Jesus tells us in John 6:27, not to “work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Gluttony isn’t always diagnosed by stepping on the bathroom scales. It refers to over-indulgence and overreliance. It’s about looking for material things, food and drink, to satisfy a hunger that is not physical. If we live with the expectation that food, drink or other physical things can nourish our soul or give meaning to life, we will be disappointed. And yet, our commercial society runs on the belief that we must have more and more.
In a world where millions go to sleep hungry every night, we do need to carefully consider the way we approach food. Gluttony is about our attitude to things that satisfy our stomachs and fulfill our tastes but do nothing for our spirit. Are we addicted to consuming more than we need? Followers of Jesus need healthy inputs so we can produce the fruit of self-control.