March 10, 2018

What’s Eating You?

Ecclesiastes 6:7-9; Matthew 6:25-27

Give us today our daily bread.

—  Matthew 6:11

Jesus teaches us to ask God for our daily food—not more, not less. In our culture today, though, we are often tempted to think more about food “whenever I want it” than the food we need to live one day at a time in our service for God.

Gluttony is the sin of inordinate desire, the insatiable desire to please our appetites. Banquets in ancient Rome put gluttony on display: after consuming all kinds of delicacies, guests would induce vomiting so they could eat more. But the rhythm of gorging and purging is unhealthy. A French proverb says, “A glutton digs his own grave with his teeth.”

The inordinate desire for food and drink, writes the novelist Peter De Vries, “is an emotional escape, a sign that something is eating us.” The ordinary desire for daily food is fed by a trust in God’s provisions, not by dependence on our own remedies. That’s easier said than done, but it’s the point of fasting.

There is a good reason for fasting: our problems began with the desire for forbidden fruit in Eden, fruit that was both pleasing as food and represented power and knowledge. With our teeth we’ve been digging our own graves.

Stewardship of our daily bread is an intimate expression of our resurrection life with the Lord Jesus. Enjoy God’s daily gift of food, but don’t let it eat you.

“For health and strength and daily food, we praise your name, O Lord.” Help us to appreciate your daily provisions and not continually want more. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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