The New Gluttony

People are obsessed with food. I learned this in high school when I had a job at Chick-fil-a. Before I got hired, a friend warned me.

“Look out, people turn into jerks when it comes to food.”

He was right. Apparently people don’t like it when you give them soda water instead of Sprite and run away from them when you see them coming to your register with a confused look and 41 coupons. Jerks.

It’s been twenty years since I had that job and not much has changed. We’re still obsessed with food. But it may not be the kind of obsession you think.

The kind of obsession that first comes to mind is gluttony. Drive by a Golden Corral right now and tell me what you see in the parking lot. I’ll wait here.

Okay, what did you see? About 130 cars in the parking lot, right? Go back in two hours. Same thing. And, no doubt, some of those cars you saw two hours ago are still there. If you dare to walk in, you will find at least one guy in his pajamas, socks and Crocs trying to figure out how to rescue the mashed potatoes he accidentally dropped in the chocolate fountain.

This dangerous obsession with food is what we call gluttony. It’s probably the first thing that came to your mind when I mentioned our obsession with food.

But there is another form of gluttony. The New Gluttony. The food obsession is still there. It’s just that the typical results aren’t. The New Gluttony isn’t concerned with mashed potatoes and chocolate fountains but rather body mass index and all-natural, gluten free pita chips.

The issue isn’t the food. It never is. The real problem is the heart. Old school gluttony convinces my heart that one more trip to the buffet will satisfy me. The New Gluttony promises the same result with one more trip to the health food store. But the difference with New Gluttony is that it tends to make me look down on all of the food pagans who aren’t quite as health conscious as I am and dare eat at Hardees.

Take Maria Kang, for example. She is the mother of three kids and she likes to work out. She’s also not too happy about the fact that you’re not working out. That’s why she posted a picture of herself in minimal workout attire on Facebook with her three kids under the headline, “What’s Your Excuse?”

Translation: I’ve had three kids and I’m in shape. Why are you so fat?

You can imagine how this brought joy to the hearts of moms everywhere.

“Yippee! Another crazy standard to live up to. When can I start?”

Food is a gift from God. Some people like God’s gift of pork chops wrapped in bacon and marinated in various pig juices. I’m not one of those people. Others like God’s gift of Newman’s Own cereal. That’s me. But who cares? We’re all different and we all have different tastes in food. Gluttony, either the old or the new variety, is the result of worshiping the gift instead of the gift giver. In their own unique ways, both forms of gluttony prevent us from enjoying the gift of food by making us slaves to it.

The pork chop eater and the Newman’s Own disciple have at least one thing in common. They will both die. And when they do, God will not ask for their body mass index or if they had a good time with the chocolate fountain.

His concern will be worship.

And if we worship anything other than him, no matter how enjoyable or healthy it may be, there will be no excuse.