March 15, 2011

Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Gluttony #1: I Want It All






     The following study is a journey through Lent, the forty-day pre-Easter season (which excludes Sundays).  Easter’s date, determined by the time of the first full moon after the Spring equinox, is very late this year.

     Traditionally, many Christians use Lent for self-examination and a renewal of their commitment to their faith.

     This year I  chose to do a devotional study on aspects of the Seven Deadly Sins, sins identified by very early Christians as key behaviors separating man from God and God’s will. The seven sins are not listed together in the Bible—each is, however, spoken about in various Scripture sites.




#1 Breaking the Mosaic Law

#2 Defying God or rebelling against God

#3 Acts of violence to others

#4 Failing to make proper sacrifices or worship

#5 Not living up to or reflecting God’s glory (not living as one created in God’s image)




SCRIPTURE: 9 “ ‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God. (NIV) (Leviticus 19:9-10)

     10 The crowds asked John, “What should we do?” 11 John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.” 12 When tax collectors came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.” 14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.” 15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?” 16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.” (CEV) (Luke 3:10-17)

DEVOTION: After many products are used, they are passed on for someone else to use. I’ve purchased many used cars. The one I currently own was a stolen car that was salvaged and sold with a reconstructed title. The original owner only put about 15,000 miles on it.

     Many people are regulars at antique shops, thrift stores, and flea-markets, seeking to purchase items someone else finished using. In this way, God entrusts items into more than one set of hands.

     Food differs from reusable items. I can give or lend the reusable items. I cannot lend my food. Food is consumed.

     We consume food: it is one use only. The apple I eat will nourish only  one person: me. In that sense, the way we accumulate, handle, and dispose of food is most important.

     I tend to be a glutton. Just follow me in line at an all-you-can-eat buffet. God’s word from Leviticus sets the tone: Gather what you need. Let the grain field be of use to more than one user—especially the poor and foreigners that are in our midst. Pick the grape vines only once. The needy may need to gather some, too.

     Are we giving from our food supply? Contributors to food pantries and soup kitchens take one step. Makers of community gardens take another step. Large producers that open their fields to gleaning take yet another step.

     The antidote to gluttony is temperance and faith. Do we have the readiness to not over-consume, to not store up food—and to do what we can to share with those in need? This may mean living “a little lower on the hog.” This may mean trusting that God will continue to provide for us day after day. Sharing our food is a big step, since it is a gift that cannot be repossessed.

     Even so, such a gift in no way compares to the ultimate gift of eternity that God prepares for all of us who put our trust in him.

PRAYER: Gracious God, you define giving by your example in Jesus Christ dying for us. Give us the courage to trust you and to share in much smaller ways with those in need in our midst. Amen.


To start at the beginning of this Lenten study on the Seven Deadly Sins, click on: Ash Wednesday: Intro to Lenten Study on the Seven Deadly Sins

To read the previous devotion, Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Lust #1: Love Is Basic, click on:

To read the following devotion, click on: Lenten Study: 7 Deadly Sins—Sloth #1: Failing to Learn and Politicizing Untruth



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