Why “All You Can Eat” Can Be a Spiritual Issue
Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He formerly served as Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009).
- 2008 Dec 05
There’s something creepy about reading of the global economic meltdown right along with the return of the restaurant industry’s “all you can eat” trend.
Now, many who choose the “all you can eat” don’t eat all that much. They’re the ones who make money for the restaurant. But what is it about just knowing I can eat all I could possibly want that’s so attractive as an advertising device?
All of us want to be free from limits, and those limits typically start with food. Food, after all, reminds us we’re creatures, not gods. We’re dependent on provision. The Serpent uses words to turn Eve’s appetite away from the Logos and toward her autonomous digestive tract. The pattern is repeated from Esau to the sons of Eli to those who the Apostle Paul warns us serve as god who is “their belly” (Phil 3:19).
The self-control of the appetite, though, is a reminder that our stomachs are means to an end, to service to our Christ. We feast when the bridegroom is present, fast when he’s absent. Our stomach is designed for the Christ-life, not the other way around.
It’s hard to see that in our little corner of the human story. If we could, in fact, “turn these stones into bread,” would we see it as an opportunity to defeat the Serpent with the Word of our God? Or would we see it as just another buffet?