I didn’t realize I had planned out this way. It was not my intention. Preaching on GLUTTONY on the same Sunday we have the Missions Dinner and Dessert Auction? Not good. The fact that the Dinner began at noon following our services. Even worse.
Yep, that was me this past Sunday. I had not been looking at the events calendar when I laid out my sermon series on the 7 deadly sins (or the “7 Life-Threatening Attitudes” as we have been referring to them). It was pointed out to me after someone looked in our newsletter and saw the two dates and put it all together. And now it was in print, so what could I do but go forward.
Turns out that gluttony and dessert auctions are not all together dichotomous (being two contradictory ideas). Gluttony is not the elimination of good tasting food. And desserts don’t have to be consumed in gluttonous ways. There can be an enjoyment of good things as long as it is done with moderation and a realization of the dangers of going too far.
It’s funny how God uses such moments to teach me. On the one hand I have been struggling with the middle-class lifestyle. Not just mine, but that of my friends and other Christians. Should we be indulging ourselves with expensive or even moderately expensive gadgets? Is it proper for followers of Jesus to enjoy a nice home? In a previous post on “zealousy” I explained my mindset and my sin of imposing my God-given conviction for me onto and into the lives of others. And now God continues to tweak my understanding, which is just a simple way of saying God is trying to help me mature in my faith.
Here’s what I learned yesterday as I preached on Luke 16:19-25 – it is the story of the rich man and the beggar Lazarus. I learned that feasting is not improper, but being so caught up in my own enjoyment that I miss the hungry person at my door is. I learned that moderation allows me to enjoy the blessings of God while still having much to share. And I then I put that together with what I had learned previously, that God may call me to let go of more blessing than he calls others to do, and my sense of how I can live more Christ-like became a bit more clear. God took bits and pieces and made them come together to form a new insight – it’s so like God to do that, isn’t it?
But, I must say, the more important lessons I learned were at the Dinner itself. I saw people with much dining with people who had not so much. I saw them working side-by-side. I saw to-go boxes of food being sent home to families who would be so very grateful for the meal. I saw desserts being passed around and people sharing together in sweets they had paid WAY TOO MUCH for. And I saw thousands of dollars being raised so our youth and adults could be sent out into the world to share our joy with others through their mission work.
We feasted, but none were forgotten. We enjoyed some of the best-tasting baked goods you could ever dream of putting in your mouth. We thanked God for the blessing of good food and we took care to eat in moderation. Our family and many others took some of our prize purchases and shared them with our neighbors. And in a couple of months we will send off teams to share an even greater treasure with people they have yet to meet.
I would say we got out just desserts.
Holy high-five to you,