Gluttony seeks to satisfy our senses and our greed while disregarding the needs of others.
There is only one antidote to materialism and that is generosity. Every time you’re generous, you have a spiritual victory in your heart. Every time you’re generous, your heart grows. Every time you’re generous, you break the grip of materialism in your life. Why? Because materialism is all about getting—get, get, get, get! It is your nature to get and to hold on, but every time you’re generous, you are breaking that grip and defeating materialism in your life.
The Bible says in Matthew 6:24(NIV), “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money”.
Too much, too often, too expensively, too soon is another way to define gluttony. Most people in Jesus’ day were relatively poor. The average daily wage was one denarius which was about sixteen to eighteen cents. The yearly income of most was equal to about fifty to sixty dollars. In one’s adult lifetime, he had only two coats (or outer garments worn for warmth and protection from the elements).
Luke 3:11 NIV John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Notice that John the Baptist did not admonish us to give away all that we have. He simply said share.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote something similar:
James 2:15-16 NIV Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?
The implied answer to James’ question is, “Nothing! It is no good! It is useless!” Having a lot or too much is not a sin. But having a lot or too much and not sharing is a sin.
Editor’s Note: To read the manuscript of the full sermon click this LINK. I read a devotion today by Pastor Rick Warren that is a great companion piece to that sermon. I want to share that devotion, without edits, in this post.
How Does God Respond to Your Generosity?
By Rick Warren
“God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 (TLB)
I heard a story about a man who took his son to McDonald’s and bought him super-size French fries. On the way home, he reached over and took one little French fry and ate it. His son got upset and said, “Dad, you can’t have that. These are my fries!” The dad immediately had three thoughts:
“First, my child has forgotten that I am the source of all fries. I took him to McDonald’s, I paid for the order, I gave them to him, and I’m driving him back home. The only reason he got any fries was because of me, the Great Fry Giver!
“Second, my child doesn’t realize I could take the fries away in a second if I wanted to. Or I could buy him an entire truckload of fries if I wanted to, because I have the power to do either.
“Third, I didn’t need his fries. I could easily get my own. I could buy myself a hundred cartons of them if I wanted to. I just wanted him to learn to be unselfish.”
Those three lessons are the same ones God wants you to learn so that you can be generous with other people. First, God wants you to remember that he is the source of everything you’ve got. You would have nothing—you wouldn’t even be alive!—if it weren’t for God.
Second, God could take it all away from you in an instant, or he could double it, because he’s got the power. Third, God doesn’t need your money. He just wants you to learn to be unselfish and develop your faith.
What happens when you start becoming a more generous person? “God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that there will not only be enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others” (2 Corinthians 9:8 TLB).