Posts Tagged "poverty"

Take and Eat

Posted on 12 Jan 2011 | 1 comment

Again, something from a bit further back in time… originally written in 2005, and revamped a little in January. Hey, it’s good to look back.

The first sin had to do with food. The Serpent said, “chow time” and humanity lost everything. Innocence, good times in the Garden, and relationship with God. Gluttony took over and humankind … wait. Gluttony? What is gluttony anyway? has a rather vague definition, something along the lines of “eating or drinking in excess.” But really, why is that a “deadly sin?” God seems intimately concerned with our food. His first commandment regarded food in the Garden. Under Law, kashrut (keeping kosher) governed many aspects of daily life. Under grace, freedom in diet became a prominent issue. God is involved with our diets. He cares that no one go hungry, that we ask him for our “daily bread.” And yet, so few of us surrender our diets to him. How often do we “drive thru” because we’re running late? Or grab junk food because it’s easy?

Eating disorders are rampant. And, I’m not simply discussing those who are refusing to ingest calories. I’m also talking about those people like me…the ones who get stressed out over finals and drive 20 minutes to 7-11 to get the pack of peanut butter M’n’Ms and the Yoohoo. The stress-eaters, compulsive-eaters, fidgety-eaters, boozers, winos, munchers, and gourmets. Anyone who surrenders their self-control to food or beverage rather than Christ. This, my friends, is gluttony. And the consequences of this sin are both vast and manifold. Obesity, heart problems, diabetes, self-esteem issues, depression, cavities, high cholesterol, and liver problems to name a few. Yet, we eat what we want, when we want. We are defiant and “in control” of this area, leaving God to deal with the “spiritual” stuff. Gluttony takes over when we allow our own desires and wants to fill our bodies in the same way that pride takes over when we allow our own desires and wants to fill our souls. I believe that our bodies are just as important to God as our souls. Food has left the realm of fuel or art and entered the realm of instant gratification and hedonism. “If it tastes good, eat it!” Portion sizes are out of control, and people are needing to staple their stomachs in order to learn how not to eat. And yet, the church rarely confronts this as sin. As we in the US have more food in our trash each month than a microstate sees in a year, are we really being faithful with *all* that God has given us?

Our gluttony no longer affects just us and our bodies, or our relationship with God, but also the world. Jesus reinstates Peter by asking him to feed his sheep. He is constantly concerned with feeding the hungry. Jesus’ view of super-sizing a meal is multiplying bread and fish to feed 5000 people, not so that the boy can make himself sick to his stomach. His prophets reveal wrath unto Israel for allowing his people to go without food. Is it really necessary to “super-size” it in our way? There is a huge discrepancy between the amount of food we consume and the labor we produce or the effort we expend feeding the hungry. Our assumption that all food is ours for the taking and consuming and throwing away blatantly goes against God’s desire for those who are hungry to be fed. We’ve been blessed with wealth for God’s goodness and pleasure, not our own.

I’m not perfect. I’ll admit. I struggle with stress-eating. I’m having to radically transform my life in order to submit my food and diet to God. But it’s worth it. Just because we can afford to eat whatever we’d like doesn’t mean that we ought to. “Everything is permissible” but not everything is beneficial (1 Cor 10:23). With Lent just around the corner, I encourage you to fast from some food that you hold precious. Four years ago, my first fast was potatoes – do you have any idea how many things are based on potatoes? But it was worth it. Now, I don’t have to have the fries at In-N-Out, but I choose to. And the blessing before the meal really means something. As I’ve been surrendering food back to God, it’s amazing how my “Dear Jesus, yay for food” really becomes meaningful to me. I can delight in my food, be present to my meals, and remember who provides it. And by allowing myself to say no to myself sometimes, it allows me to often say yes to other people – like giving the guy holding out the cup my banana and power bar for breakfast because he needs it more than I do.

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