This will be my forth dissertation of Pope Gregory the Great’s listing of the seven deadly sins. In my last writing I covered AVARICE which is a synonym for GREED. The fifth one that Gregory mentions is a very relevant to our own times since it is estimated that about half of the citizens of our land suffer from varying degrees of obesity. The 50% of course, is speaking in round figures! The word used to describe it is GLUTTONY. Some pundits estimate that about 30% of the USA citizens suffer from being a little or a lot obese- which some say that - that’s speaking in “round figures!” One dictionary synonym defines GLUTTONY as excessive eating and drinking. A broader definition of it would be INSATIABLE. Most of us in the Western world have a tendency to collect more than just calories. The long rows of storage sheds that are found in most every community you visit is a sign that we tend to hang on to too much stuff - and it is stuff of all kinds. Two of my own examples of this are books and clothes. And a small example is that I have over 50 neckties in my closet. And I rarely wear one any more. But I can’t bring myself to give them away or throw them away. Such antics aren’t new. There is a man named in the Bible (Luke 12:15-21) that didn’t have room to store his stuff —so “he tore down his barns and built bigger ones.” Jesus describes this man in his parable of the rich fool.
We should learn the difference between wants and wishes and needs and necessities. One of the most valued lessons I have learned I learned on the mission field in the nation of Bolivia. In 1957 Pastor Henry Lewis persuaded the First United Methodist Church congregation to finance my way on the trip to South America to visit mission stations there. When visiting the American Institute in La Paz, Bolivia, we traveling clergy from a cross-many of us had trouble just getting our breath. None of the building had heat or air conditioning. I was tired and the room was chilly and the bed was cold as I tried to begin to sleep. Just as I was trying to drift off the wife of the missionary, Mary Fritz, opened the door just a crack and said, “Rev. Gist, if you do not have everything you need to be comfortable while you are here, you let me know, and I will teach you how to get along without it!” It was then I remembered what the Apostle Paul said as he wrote about some aspects of his life when he was a missionary to the Philippians. (See Philippians 4:11) -rit by Rod-