The Church of Potluck
Isn't it ironic that we claim to follow the God of the bible with our words and yet our actions sometimes say otherwise. I'm well aware that we all do this from time to time, but what about when it is blatant? What about when we don't care? What about when we are ignorant of our own sin? There are times that we even believe that we are following God's word in totality, yet we are not, due to our lack of study or interest. As long as society, even the "Christian society" doesn't have a problem with it, neither do we. This is concerning to me. In particular there is one thing that is very troubling to me. The reason it is so troubling to me is that no one within Christianity is talking about it.
We constantly hear remarks on sexual immorality, divorce, wealth, hell, heaven, etc.. But how often have you heard someone speak on the topic of gluttony? That's right gluttony! It's spoken about in the bible believe it or not. Long before we decided to throw the topic of gluttony off of the spiritual buffet, God had some things to say about it.
The word "Glutton" is translated from the greek word gaster. Essentially meaning "stomach"or "bellies", so the act of gluttony finds its root in our appetite. Gluttony also is referring to a life of "waste and excess."
Paul references gluttony when referring to the "enemies of the cross" in Philippians chapter 3 when he says that "their god is their stomach."
Proverbs 25:16 says "eat only as much as you need."
When looking at the topic of gluttony it's important to realize, just because your are skinny doesn't mean that you aren't a glutton and just because you are fat doesn't mean that you are a glutton. Gluttony is living in excess of what you need. Whether it is food or something else. Let me give you some statistics.
In 2010 63.1% of Americans were obese or overweight. You can be skinny and still be obese. WebMD said that percentage was increasing and the only way to stop it was for the government and businesses to get involved. We outrank all other countries in obesity significantly.
We throw away more food and waste than any other country. America produces roughly 250 million pounds of trash annually. Not to mention the amount of electricity and water that we waste. The numbers are huge.
Is God pleased with this gluttonous lifestyle?
Paul says in 1 Cor. 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, that you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's".
I know that in the context of 1 Cor. 6 Paul is referring to sexual sin, but does that truth not also apply to our eating and living habits? Is God pleased with a temple that we fill with toxic food and things that slowly deteriorate that temple?
I'm still amazed that I've never heard a sermon or seen a publication over this topic within the church. Are we afraid we are going to offend people? Or do we love our gluttonous habits to much to speak against them? The problem with that, is that God has already called us out on it.
Think about this. What if you were to attend worship service next Sunday and the preacher got up and said; "After services we will meet in the fellowship hall and we will be providing you with the opportunity to commit adultery if you would like. The wives will line up on one side of the room and the husbands on the other. You are free to choose your spouse, but you are also at liberty to choose another."
That would be ludicrous! That would never happen, unless it was a swingers church.
Yet a similar scenario often takes place within our own church buildings. The preacher gets up and says; "After services we will be having a potluck. Everyone has brought a different meal and you are free to load up as much as you want. There will be plenty so please, eat up!"
I have been to potlucks where people eat 4 or 5 plates worth of food, including dessert. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with potlucks or having a meal together. I'm not against potlucks or anything like that. But, there is something very wrong with gorging ourselves and living in excess of what we need.
I realize the first example is extreme and there are different consequences for different sins. But I have to think, "Sin is sin." Whether it is adultery or whether it is gluttony it separates us from God. And as a church are we simply not seeing the sin that is spread across the table in front of us. How tempting that must be for the person that struggles with gluttony? Again, I'm not trying to promote the removal of potlucks, it's just a thought.
We live in a culture of excess and overeating. We eat fatty foods and throw everything away and don't give it a second thought. We don't recycle and we don't re-use. We don't eat in moderation and we don't eat healthy. Shouldn't we as disciples of Christ be different?
Why is this sin swept under the rug?