Greed and Gluttony – the Howell’s


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Cast Away                   Greed and Gluttony

Luke 12:13-21

13 Someone from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus said to him, “Man, who appointed me as judge or referee between you and your brother?”

15 Then Jesus said to them, “Watch out! Guard yourself against all kinds of greed. After all, one’s life isn’t determined by one’s possessions, even when someone is very wealthy.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “A certain rich man’s land produced a bountiful crop. 17 He said to himself, What will I do? I have no place to store my harvest! 18 Then he thought, Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. That’s where I’ll store all my grain and goods. 19 I’ll say to myself, You have stored up plenty of goods, enough for several years. Take it easy! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself. 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool, tonight you will die. Now who will get the things you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 This is the way it will be for those who hoard things for themselves and aren’t rich toward God.”

In our Western culture of relative luxury, it can be hard to tell the difference between needs and wants. Is a functional computer a need or a want? What about shoes for different types of occasions? We are driven to succeed and hope that, when we do, we will use our status and wealth to advance the kingdom. But are our motives really so pure? Rather than wishing and working for more, we should strive to cultivate gratitude for what we already have.

Philippians 3:17-21

17 Brothers and sisters, become imitators of me and watch those who live this way—you can use us as models. 18 As I have told you many times and now say with deep sadness, many people live as enemies of the cross. 19 Their lives end with destruction. Their god is their stomach, and they take pride in their disgrace because their thoughts focus on earthly things. 20 Our citizenship is in heaven. We look forward to a savior that comes from there—the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform our humble bodies so that they are like his glorious body, by the power that also makes him able to subject all things to himself.

Jesus himself was accused of this sin, called a glutton and drunkard by his critics, and whether or not he took pleasures of eating and drinking to excess, he generally did not embody the aceticism (extreme self-denial and austerity) many other holy men and philosophers have embraced throughout history. Gluttony is an odd sin to number among the Seven, seeming to harm only the glutton himself and hardly so damaging as anger and greed, but for the early monastics among whom the list of Seven originated, Gluttony signified overall preoccupation with matters of the flesh. It is as much a sin to obsess over the minutiae of what one eats as it is to lustfully consume an entire feast.

John Wesley’s four priorities for how to spend our money
1) provide necessities for yourself and family (1 Timothy 5:8)
2) Be content with necessities (1 Timothy 6:*)
3) One’s only debt should be to love each other (Romans 13:8)
4) Take care of others as you are able (Galatians 6:10)
 
Reflect on…
 1) When I spend money, do I act more like I own it, or am I acting like God’s steward?

 

2) What in our culture encourages greed and gluttony?

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