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    Gluttony

    June 21, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    In order to discuss gluttony, it seems appropriate to define it: “Excess in eating; extravagant indulgence of the appetite for food.” I would add that I believe the sin of gluttony to be an ongoing action. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I see instances in Scripture where people feast. I do not think that eating more than usual on a feasting day {think Thanksgiving} is sinful. Also, I think that context is everything. We recently had a 17-year-old boy stay with us for a few days. I couldn’t believe how much he ate! However, I wouldn’t call this gluttony. He is simply a growing boy, and growing boys eat a lot.

    The modern American life seems to be full of indulgence. Stores are full of stuff for people to buy {note the word usage there…stuff implies a certain filling of something and is akin to gluttony in many ways}. People buy this stuff. If it is food stuff, they eat it. If it is stuff stuff, they simply amass it unto themselves, and then rent a storage facility to store some of it in because their homes are literally stuffed full.

    Since being overweight has recently become taboo in American culture, I have noticed that being overweight is now the sin. We have forgotten that gluttony is the sin, and being overweight may or may not result from partaking of said sin.

    There was a time when gluttony was tempered by one’s wallet.

    Be not among drunkards
    or among gluttonous eaters of meat,
    for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
    and slumber will clothe them with rags.
    {Proverbs 23:20-21}

    In this affluent country, gluttony is more affordable.

    Gluttony can be born of various motivations. The Preacher in Ecclesiastes, in his vain searchings, was trying to cheer his body with wine. The appetite, he learns, is never satisified. But he does decide that every matter has an appropriate time. Even princes should feast at the proper time.

    Virtue is often the antidote for vice. Joseph Hall once observed, “Moderation is the silken string running through the pearl chain of all virtues.” Indeed. In cultivating the virtue of moderation, one would necessarily eliminate both drunkenness as well as gluttony.

    Gluttony, remember, is an excess of indulgence. Gluttony is not one bite of chocolate once per week. It is a whole box of chocolates at once. Gluttony is not one-and-one-half servings because the day’s toil was unusually intense. It is three servings regularly for no reason at all. It is in excess that one is tempted to replace enjoyment of God’s little graces with an idolatry of a created thing.

    I wish I could end there, but I feel the need to add that, as a parent, it is my job to weed the vices from my child’s life. I have a child who would tend toward gluttony if we allowed it. This particular child obviously eats for sport. In teaching her to savor a small treat {rather than demand a large one}, we are helping her to cultivate the virtue of moderation. Of course, when presented with sweets, most children tend toward gluttony! Moderation must be modeled as well as instructed.

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