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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Life on the Margins: Gluttony

Woe to you who are full now,

for you will be hungry.

This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. ~ Ezekiel 16:49

(God said to Moses) I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit that is on you and put it on them; and they shall bear the burden of the people along with you so that you will not bear it all by yourself. And say to the people: Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wailed in the hearing of the Lord, saying, ‘If only we had meat to eat! Surely it was better for us in Egypt.’ Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you—because you have rejected the Lord who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” ~ Numbers 11:17-20

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!

The great big greedy nincompoop!

How long could we allow this beast

To gorge and guzzle, feed and feast

On everything he wanted to? ~ Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, (Oompa Loompa Song)

God had a particularly clever way of punishing the former Hebrew slaves for their food complaints: force that favored food until it becomes loathsome. Force it until they couldn't even look at it anymore. Force it until it finally wasn't more important to them than God. Or anyone else.

Our mothers were right: this is the classic "too much of a good thing" punishment!

For the citizens of Sodom, the punishment was a bit different: total destruction. There has been a huge misunderstanding of the sin of Sodom. We associate it with homosexuality, but in fact, that was not the issue at all.

The issue was hospitality or the lack thereof. It was about greed and gluttony: not sharing the bounty with others.

Leaving some with empty plates while others gorged themselves.

Not extending the good food and welcome to strangers.

Today, we have more scientific ways of understanding the punishment of eating more food than is our fair share: ill-health from heart disease, diabetes, eating disorders, certain cancers, and other diseases.

In addition, diseases and problems that arise in places where malnutrition is rampant while others have more than they need can lead to global security issues.

Turns out that too much of a good thing really is bad, just like my mother always said.

Questions for thought: What are ways food has been misused in your life or in the lives of those you know? What are the ways we as a culture put pressure on each other about eating habits? What are ways you can share food more with those who need it?

Pray: Ask God to guide you in healthy eating habits and in sharing your bounty generously.

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