Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe. Daniel 1:12–13
In captivity in Babylon, Daniel was chosen to be a member of the king’s court. That position afforded him and a few of his friends the opportunity to feast from the king’s table. That would have been a dream come true for any of the Jewish exiles in Babylon. But Daniel knew that by accepting the royal ration of food, he would be placing himself under the authority of the king, and the food itself would fatten him in unhealthy ways. Daniel believed that abstaining from excessive food would strengthen his soul and safeguard his health. Self-discipline in the face of great excess would be his way to salvation.
For many of us, the table is set, and we are invited to an all-you-can-eat buffet. We live in a day and an age when we are encouraged to consume. As a result the United States is one of the fattest nations in the world. Our waistlines widen, our debt burdens increase, and our daily schedules are overburdened with activities. We have been encouraged to saddle up to the buffet, and we don’t seem to know how to stop before we are stuffed.
Somehow, like Daniel, we need to consume less, for less is often more. Eating less, buying less, doing less can be a way to salvation in an age of excess. We can consume ourselves to death, but with a little self-discipline, a little-limit setting, and a little restraint in the face of great excess, we can make our way toward spiritual and physical health.
What limits do you need to set for yourself before overindulgence strips you of your spiritual and physical health?
Lord God, I confess I am a ravenous consumer. I eat too much. I purchase too much. I am involved in too much. Help me to develop the resolve to push back from the buffet so that my health is preserved and my service to You is unimpaired. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.