Proverbs: The Way of Wisdom

Day 24: Generosity and Gluttony

If you’re just joining us, welcome. You’ll find a short introduction to the Proverbs reading plan on Day 1.

Section Four. Work and Wealth: Wisdom concerning our material world

This week’s proverbs will turn our attention to biblical wisdom concerning how we interact with the material world. We’ll explore the topics of diligence and laziness, justice, generosity and gluttony, wealth and poverty, and good versus evil.

Day Twenty-Four: Generosity and Gluttony

Gluttony and generosity are opposites. One involves taking as much in as we possibly can for our own enjoyment; the other focuses on giving of ourselves to others to help meet their needs. One makes us sick; one makes others well.

The true problem with gluttony has less to do with how many calories we take in or how big our waists become. It has to do with our ability to practice the fruit of the Spirit, self-control—an essential component of generosity. Generosity is always an exercise in self-control because it requires us to give when our instinct is to keep.

Consider how these proverbs link gluttony and generosity together, and let their wisdom hold up a mirror for you.

Generosity
Proverbs 3:27-28
27 When it is in your power,
don’t withhold good from the one it belongs to.
28 Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go away! Come back later.
I’ll give it tomorrow”—when it is there with you.

Proverbs 19:17
Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord,
and He will give a reward to the lender.

Proverbs 30:15-16
The leech has two daughters: “Give, Give!
Three things are never satisfied;

four never say, “Enough!”:
16 Sheol; a childless womb;
earth, which is never satisfied with water;
and fire, which never says, “Enough!”

Ask

Q. Why does God care about how we handle our possessions? 

Q. Look at Proverbs 30:15-16. Have you ever been bitten by a leech? What about this creature’s process makes it a fitting symbol of greed? 

Q. Think of a time you withheld giving to someone, knowing you should have been generous. Why did you withhold your generosity? 

Gluttony

Proverbs 21:17
The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich.

Proverbs 23:19-21
19 Listen, my son, and be wise;
keep your mind on the right course.
20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine
or with those who gorge themselves on meat.
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor,
and grogginess will clothe them in rags.

Proverbs 25:16
If you find honey, eat only what you need;
otherwise, you’ll get sick from it and vomit.

Proverbs 28:7
A discerning son keeps the law,
but a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.

Ask

Q. Where are you a glutton—what appetites have a hold on your heart? Why do you think God cares about gluttony? How does gluttony contradict godliness? 

Q. What sort of “poverty” do you think is being described in Proverbs 23:19-21? 

Q. Proverbs 28:7 tells us there is a relational cost to our own personal gluttony. What does gluttony cost us relationally, and why do you think gluttony works this way? 

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