OK, let?s play a word association game ? what do you think of when you hear the word ?gluttony??? My mind goes immediately to food.? My increasing girth is an indicator that, despite my attempts to blame my genes and sedentary lifestyle, I have at the very least a potential for gluttony.? I am selective though ? it usually has to be something sweet which could be the reason that after finishing this post I am off to the dentist (again).
But if we think of gluttony more broadly as excessive consumption, as having too much of a good thing as suggested by Stevens and Ung, then gluttony can encompass all sorts of things ? television, sex, social media, leisure, company and, of course, work.? ?People can be described as gluttons for punishment, work or even attention.? In these contexts, gluttony speaks of a lack of self-control.
Thinking about food gluttony, the authors made the observation that Christians are hardly troubled by it. ?Gluttony has become a respectable sin,? they assert.
Of course, the Bible has much to say about food and eating that is positive and affirming:
- God?s first gift to humankind was food (Gen. 1:29
- Jesus taught us to pray daily for our food (Matt 1:29)
- Eating is a picture of God?s blessing (Psalm 23:5)
- Provision of food can be a ministry (Matt. 25:35)
- Enjoying food as part of festivals and celebrations is encouraged (Deut. 14:22-26)
- Feasts are a motif for the Kingdom of God (Luke 14:15-24)
- We look forward to a wedding supper in the new heaven and earth (Rev. 19:7)
The authors cite some give some thought-provoking indicators of gluttony at work:
- Eating too often throughout the day without paying attention to what is being eaten (a real temptation when you work from home)
- Eating food that is too expensive
- Being too fussy about the food we eat (even if it only small amounts)
- Wanting more and more (though even dieting could be considered a form of gluttony if it is being pursued solely for the sake of beauty)
Finally, some suggestions for overcoming gluttony to think about:
- Start with self-knowledge: ?Develop a growing awareness of your relationship with food.?
- Make small lifestyle changes: For example, decide on some partial fasting by eating desserts only on special occasions (that one hurt!)
- Develop and attitude of thanksgiving for what is available (1 Cor. 10:31)
Food for thought?
Next time: Self-control: resolving the work-life dilemma (Chapter 13)
Stevens, R. P., and Ung, A. (2010).?Taking Your Soul to Work: overcoming the nine deadly sins of the workplace.??Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eerdmans