Charity/Generosity and Temperance/Moderation vs. Greed and Gluttony

January 23, 2023
SHARE

Daily Scripture

Luke 6:38, 12:13-21, Proverbs 23:19-21, Titus 2:11-14

Luke 6

38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good portion—packed down, firmly shaken, and overflowing—will fall into your lap. The portion you give will determine the portion you receive in return.”

Luke 12

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.”

Proverbs 23

19 Listen, my child, and be wise!
Keep your mind straight on the path.
20 Don’t hang out with those who get drunk on wine
or those who eat too much meat,
21 because drunks and gluttons will be impoverished;
their stupor will clothe them in rags.

Titus 2

11 The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It educates us so that we can live sensible, ethical, and godly lives right now by rejecting ungodly lives and the desires of this world. 13 At the same time we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself for us in order to rescue us from every kind of lawless behavior, and cleanse a special people for himself who are eager to do good actions.

This week’s GPS offers brief overviews of the Christian virtues that can help us overcome the traditional “seven deadly sins.” You can learn more from a historical article by Becky Little at https://www.history.com/news/seven-deadly-sins-origins. Chuck Griffin gave a specifically Methodist perspective in an essay at https://methodist.life/tag/seven-deadly-sins/.

Reflection Questions

Today we’re combining a look at how generosity and moderation can guard us from greed and gluttony. How much do you need (not want)? Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 called greed a type of “idolatry,” of loving anything more than God. Gluttony is about consuming things (food, power, fun, even beauty or thinness!) in obsessive ways that make that desire life’s center. Either can make our use of technology hurtful unless we link it with helping others and practicing moderation.

  • Gluttony is, in some ways, a relatively “respectable” sin, one we often link to “good times” and “fun” more than any moral implications. In the short term, there’s usually no practical way to share resources we consume to excess to help anyone else. What serious reasons are you aware of for limiting excessive consumption to gratify your own wishes (not just of food but of other resources, including tech)? Can you ask, “Do I need this?” without robbing life of all its fun?
  • In the 1987 film Wall Street, Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko said, “Greed is good.” * Many tech advances have happened because the inventors wished to get rich, not to selflessly serve human needs. Yet a Neal Burton article said, “Our culture’s emphasis on greed is such that people have become immune to satisfaction…. the object of desire is no longer satisfaction but desire itself.” ** How can Jesus’ teachings and example help you avoid the downsides of greed?
Prayer

Dear God, you selflessly gave your life for my sake. As I remember your generosity, bless me with a good appetite for you, and teach me how to live more generously in every part of my life. Amen.

© 2022 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

(Lauren first shared this Insight with us in 2021.)

If you have ever taken the Clifton Strengths Assessment, my top three strengths are Achiever, Responsibility, and Discipline. I am a 3 on the Enneagram. I thrive on “gritting my teeth,” relying on my own will to get things done, and single-handedly taking on the problems in the world to solve. That makes me sound really good and hardworking, doesn’t it?

I always thought that these personality traits made me strong and fueled my high capacity that the world so needed from me. No matter what any mentor, teacher, supervisor, or therapist told me, high achieving was believing. Then came a little baby girl, barely six pounds, who forced me to see the world differently.

One of my daughter’s first words was “myself.” One of her first sentences? “I can do it myself,” which was quickly paired with “I can do all the things.” As parents, we often long for the days when our child can “do it themselves,” whether it be feeding themselves, going to the bathroom themselves, getting dressed themselves, etc. Carolina, though, wanted to do it ALL herself, even when it was dangerous or impossible. I could make all sorts of rules and tell her things like “Don’t climb that!” or “Don’t touch that!” but she has always been determined to do all the things in her way. Because of that, I have had to watch her struggle and become frustrated and down on herself when she could not do something perfectly, on her own (most of which are things that any 3 year old cannot do perfectly or on their own).

What I have learned from Carolina Rae is that determination and strength are beautiful things. However, they are things that need to come from Christ. Not from me as her mom, or her by her own will. I have also learned that such traits come with harmful sides when we are not willing to lay them down at the feet of Jesus and let the Holy Spirit use them in us to produce good things for God’s mission and for others. I pray that Carolina will be powerful, loving, and self-controlled and that God will work through her to do great things. I pray that I will continue to learn to be those things through Christ and my daughter as well.

A long time ago I heard a podcast where the speaker said that every day they pray this prayer that I have made my own: Lord, use me. No limits, no distractions. Empower me to do great things for You today.

He can do all the things.