I have been living with a word since before Christmas last year. What I mean by that is I am trying to weave that word throughout my choices and daily experiences and thought-processes.
It began with an article I read from Relevant magazine. It introduced to me a different view of the story of Adam and Eve. Gluttony is one of the Big Seven: seven deadly sins. The writer of the article suggests that its origins began in the Garden of Eden. For however long that Adam and Eve did not eat the forbidden fruit, they were saying to God that the world that He gave to them was sufficient. That it was good. Adam and Eve did not need the fruit; it was excessive.They chose it for an extra measure of satisfaction.
The idea that this all-too-familiar Bible story was about gluttony was a bit of a different view for me. It wasn’t necessarily about sex or violence. It wasn’t about pride, as some have argued. It was an act of gluttony; they took far more than what they needed.
I must admit, I stopped reading the article at this point. My mind was spinning as my world began embracing this word. And time demanded my attention elsewhere. But the idea of that dangling fruit was stayed with me.
I have spent the last few years downsizing my life. Some has been a forced choice; but most of it has been from the desire to live on this earth in a responsible manner. When I think of green living, I think of a spoiled rich teenager that throws a huge and destructive party at his parent’s home while they’re away on vacation. Wine is spilled on the white rugs. Chocolate stains on the couch. Legs broken off over-turned coffee tables… You get the idea.
As the party is in full swing, the rich kid is living it up – indulging in whatever pleases him. Once the party is over he has a momentary pause and thinks, “Wow. This place is TRASHED! Oh well…Mom and Dad can just buy new stuff.” And with a shrug, off he goes to bed; sure that someone else will clean up his mess.
Too often, we as Christians tend to work under the assumption that this is not our eternal home. Therefore, we don’t really need to invest in it. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t lay the blame of world pollution at the feet of the redeemed. It is a problem that we ALL must claim. However, as Americans, we make up 5% of the world’s population but use 26% of its energy. We certainly need to consider the large part we are playing in trashing our rich Parent’s House.
God gave us a perfect home.
But we ate the excessive fruit.
I currently live in a house that is PERFECT for me. It’s larger than what many have, but it is exceedingly smaller than what the majority of my friends and family have. And that’s ok. It’s just me living here; I don’t need anything bigger. For me to move to a bigger house just because I wanted to, would be likened to me eating that excessive forbidden fruit.
When I get in my car and drive to the store for some milk, when I could just as easily walk to the corner store and buy some – I’m biting down on the forbidden fruit.
Leaving lights on…forbidden fruit.
Having unwatched entertainment units on throughout the day…forbidden fruit.
Buying something new instead of reusing what I already have…forbidden fruit.
The list can go on and on.
I have big plans for my backyard this year. BIG plans! I can’t imagine that I will be able to accomplish everything on my list. But I hope to exist outside for most of the warmer months. On a back deck made from recycled wood from Restore (http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx). Picking vegetables from my own raised gardens instead of purchasing them from the store. Watering my gardens from the brown water pump collecting rain and ground water. Strategically planting flower gardens in places in my yard that naturally receive run-off water… Big plans.
Making things rather than buying things…
Enjoying what I have as opposed to what I want…
Involvement in others lives rather than concentration on my own…
Currently, I need a bookshelf. Run to Walmart and buy one, right? But how many bookshelves do you think exist in thrift stores or resale shops?! Bookshelves that have already been built. No doubt I will paint it anyway, so why take a bookshelf out of inventory at Target, thereby sending their warehouses notice that another bookshelf needs to be built and shipped to replace the one I bought. Use what has already been made – THAT is the best recycling.
I certainly do not live on a gluten-free diet.
But I would like to keep before me the idea of a glutton-free life.
I am currently reading Go Green, Save Green by Nancy Sleeth. I plan on making one green lifestyle change a month this year, along with the things I already currently do. Just one of the ways in which I hope to eliminate my attraction to the shiny, glossed finish of that alluring, but forbidden Fruit of Gluttony.
Consider what you have.
And then consider it all you need.