July 16 -22, 2007
Biblical Stewardship: Portion Control
Every night during a week at confirmation camp, our junior high kids received a lesson in portion control: So that everybody may get their fair share of the dinner, on the first go around everybody was to take just one scoop, or two slices, or one plateful -- whatever was appropriate for the dinner served.
Once everybody had received about the same dinner, only then were seconds available for the still-hungry. That way, everybody gets what they need. Those who want more won't take it at the expense of others.
It strikes me that in a nation that revels in the "all-you-can-eat" mentality, we can all use lessons in "portion control" for the benefit of individuals and society alike.
Just take food. Statistically, Americans are getting huge. Obesity has been rising, along with Type II diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related conditions. Hip and knee replacements are common as joints wear out under the strain of so much weight. Think that our rising health care costs are due entirely to greedy hospital administrators? No, we're fatter and sicker. Portion control would involve eating no more than is necessary for health and energy. Antithetical to the American way of life? Yup. And individuals would have healthier lives and we would all enjoy lower health-care costs. Maybe we could even use the savings to help buy policies for the 45 million uninsured.
We could also use portion control on our energy consumption. How many air conditioners hum in spaces we do not use? How few miles per gallon do our cars and trucks go, when a more energy efficient vehicle would serve us just as well? Reduce demand and price goes down. Everybody wins, including the planet, which is another way that everybody wins.
With "portion control" governing our choice of housing, we might well be satisfied with a smaller house whose mortgage we could afford, rather than a mini-mansion that strains our budget and causes us to go into high credit-card debt. Less pressure on the housing market would keep supply stable and entry-level housing affordable for the people who earn on the bottom end.
The Biblical view of wealth shows that we should be satisfied when we have wealth that meets our needs. Everything beyond that is a blessing, not an entitlement, and with it comes responsibility to use it wisely for Godly purposes.
In Luke 3, John the Baptist tells people to prepare for the Kingdom of God by changing their relationship to their wealth and money. In verses 10-14, John tells people to share their goods, don't take more than they are entitled to, and be happy with their pay. Sounds like portion control to me.
--Rob Blezard, Webmaster and Editor
Reprint rights gladly given for nonprofit congregational use. Just include this notice: "Copyright (c) 2007 the Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission."
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