Monday, October 4, 2021
I love to go to restaurants that have a buffet. Oriental-style buffets are my favorite, because I can easily justify eating a lot because the food is better for me – lots of meat and vegetables and I can limit the carbohydrate intake. If a little is good for me, then a lot is better for me.
Today’s Scripture reading has something to say about my food attitude.
Proverbs 23:1-3 “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.”
As we continue our pursuit of becoming people of wisdom, this week’s subject is moral integrity. But why should the quantity of food I eat be a subject of moral importance?
First of all, I think gluttony applies to a much broader base of indulgences than just food. In fact, gluttony is a heart condition that requires the constant pursuit of more and better in any area of our worldly life: more food, more money, more recreation, better house, better car, etc., etc. You have probably heard the term used this way in the statement, “He is a glutton for punishment.” Gluttony is an attitude that seeks self-satisfaction. That makes it a moral issue.
Secondly, because we are susceptible to self-satisfaction, we are in danger of being manipulated and deceived by those whom we give the power to influence our lives. Notice in the Scripture passage what is happening:
- He is having dinner with a person of influence and renown. Don’t be a name-dropper. Don’t take pride in whom you know or whom you have met. All such behavior is an attempt to increase our own status in someone’s eyes, and is motivated by self-satisfaction.
- The food that has been prepared has an ulterior motive other than just nourishment – it is meant to deceive and influence. We become easily influenced by the status and value we allow to be placed on our lives by people and things. “Note well,” it says, “what is before you.” Look deeply into your heart and determine if there is any motive of self-satisfaction or self-advancement in what you are doing. If there is, put it to death.
People of moral integrity are people who cannot be influenced to change their position on issues of truth. We must not give people or possessions the power to influence our position in Christ. No person or possession can ultimately provide us with anything of eternal value in God’s Kingdom. All they can give us is a momentary and fleeting reward to a need for self-satisfaction. Only what comes from God is good and perfect (James 1).The challenge for us is to live each day loving God above all else, especially self. Only then will we be stable, strong, unshakable and unmovable. Only then will we resist the selfish need to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. Only then will we be living with moral integrity.