A close-up photo of a lavish banquet table, adorned with untouched, sumptuous dishes, symbolizing the biblical message of stewardship and the repercussions of wastefulness.

What Does The Bible Say About Wasting Food?

Wasting food is an unfortunate reality in many parts of the world today. With hunger and food insecurity affecting millions globally, it raises an important question – what does the Bible say about wasting food?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The Bible encourages stewardship and using resources wisely. It condemns gluttony and wastefulness while promoting generosity and care for the poor and hungry.

In this comprehensive article, we will examine various Bible verses that address food wastage and how God expects us to handle food resources wisely. We will look at teachings that condemn wastefulness and gluttony, promote conservation and restraint, call for compassion and generosity to the needy, and more.

Bible Verses Against Wastefulness and Gluttony

Proverbs 18:9 – The slothful man is brother to him that is a great waster

This proverb speaks against laziness and wastefulness. A lazy person who does not work hard is compared to someone who wastes resources. When we are slothful and fail to make good use of what we have been given, it is incredibly wasteful.

God desires that we work diligently and make the most of our talents and resources (Matthew 25:14-30).

Proverbs 23:20-21 – Gluttony and drunkenness lead to poverty

These verses warn against overindulgence in food and drink. Eating and drinking to excess can lead to poverty because it wastes money and resources. Gluttony is consuming more food and drink than your body needs, which is displeasing to God. Drunkenness impairs judgment and leads to foolish decisions.

God calls us to practice self-control and temperance (Galatians 5:23; Titus 2:2-3).

John 6:12 – Jesus instructs disciples to gather leftovers after feeding 5000

After Jesus miraculously fed over 5000 people with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, he instructed his disciples to “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” Jesus set an example of avoiding waste even in the midst of abundance.

Though he is able to miraculously multiply food, he still cared that nothing was wasted. This demonstrates the value of conservation. As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of what God has given us.

Here are some tips on reducing food waste in your home:

  • Plan meals and grocery list carefully based on what you will actually eat.
  • Store food properly to maximize freshness.
  • Eat leftovers and use leftovers creatively in new recipes.
  • Compost food scraps.
  • Donate unused food that is still edible to food banks.

By being mindful of wastefulness, we honor God by using wisely what He has blessed us with. At the same time, we should avoid being greedy and practice generosity in difficult times.

Principles of Using Resources Wisely and Avoiding Excess

1 Timothy 6:6-8 – Be content with necessities rather than loving money

In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Paul advises Timothy that “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

This passage encourages being satisfied with basic necessities instead of constantly desiring more material wealth. Excessive love of money can lead to greed, covetousness, and dishonest practices. Moderation in desires allows us to enjoy God’s providential care without being consumed by materialism.

Some key principles from this passage include:

  • Seek godliness and character more than riches
  • Be content and grateful for necessities like food and clothing
  • Avoid loving money, which leads to greed and evil
  • You cannot take material possessions with you when you die
  • Cultivate a spirit of contentment rather than dissatisfaction

Applying these principles allows believers to use resources wisely, resist materialism, and avoid the excess that often plagues society. Moderation and contentment enable greater focus on spiritual priorities.

Proverbs 21:20 – Avoid foolish spending and love of pleasure

Proverbs 21:20 offers a wise principle about avoiding foolish use of resources: “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” This proverb speaks against wasting resources on momentary pleasures versus saving for true needs.

The fool quickly consumes all he has on temporal gratifications, ending in poverty and want. But the wise person exercises restraint and stewardship.

Some insights for prudent resource use include:

  • Avoid impulsive and indulgent spending on entertainment, luxury, or fleeting pleasures
  • Practice wise management of finances and provisions for future needs
  • Curb appetites and exercise self-control
  • Delayed gratification allows for wise use of resources
  • Plan and budget to distinguish needs from harmful wants

Gluttony and wastefulness prevent resources from being used prudently. But disciplined moderation provides for necessities and wise savings.

Proverbs 25:16 – Show restraint and moderation in what you eat

Another proverb that speaks against excess is Proverbs 25:16 – “If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit.” This offers wisdom about moderate eating. When we find something enjoyable like honey, it can be tempting to consume to excess.

But this causes harm, just as overeating leads to sickness. Wisdom is exercising self-control so that overindulgence does not result.

Principles from this proverb include:

  • Limit portions and refrain from gorging, even on enjoyable foods
  • Practice temperance and self-restraint to avoid overconsumption
  • Eat for nourishment and health, not primarily for pleasure
  • Excessive consumption leads to waste and negative consequences
  • Curb appetite and desire for more than is beneficial

Moderation protects against wastefulness, while gluttony and indulgence often foster excess. Reasonable portions and prudent restraint honor God’s provision by not abusing it.

Bible Calls to Share with and Care for the Needy

Proverbs 14:31 – Be kind to the needy

Proverbs 14:31 states “Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God”. This verse calls us to show care and compassion towards those in need. When we are generous and helpful to the poor, the hungry and strangers, we are actually honoring God himself (Matthew 25:40).

One way we can live this out is by not wasting food that could go to feed the hungry. Organizations like food pantries and soup kitchens are always looking for food donations. What we consider “leftovers” could be a welcome meal to someone less fortunate.

Proverbs 19:17 – Generosity to the poor is lending to God

Proverbs 19:17 reminds us “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” God promises to bless those who give generously to meet the needs of the poor.

When we share our bread with the hungry instead of throwing it out, God sees this and will repay our generosity. For example, Feeding America reports that for every $1 donated they can provide at least 10 meals to those facing hunger. Our small acts of kindness can have big impacts.

Matthew 25:34-36 – Feed the hungry, invite in strangers

In Matthew 25:34-36, Jesus teaches that when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, invite in strangers, clothe the naked and care for the sick, it is as if we are directly serving Christ himself. He identifies with the “least of these” in society.

Rather than throwing out extra food, we can live out this passage by donating it to organizations ministering to those in need locally and globally. For instance, World Vision partners with communities to provide food and nutrition programs to starving children and families.

The Bible clearly calls followers of Christ to generously share what we have with those less fortunate instead of wasting it. Whether through donating or volunteering, we can honor God when we show love and compassion to the poor and hungry.

We Are Stewards of God’s Creation

Genesis 1:26-28 – Humans given dominion over the earth

In Genesis 1:26-28, God gives humans dominion over the earth and commands them to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth. This shows that God appointed humans as stewards and caretakers of His creation.

As stewards, it is our responsibility to use the earth’s resources wisely and care for the environment (Psalm 8:6-8). Wasting food carelessly goes against our God-given mandate to be good stewards of the earth.

Psalms 24:1 – The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it

The Psalmist declares that “The earth is the LORD’s and everything in it” (Psalm 24:1). This reminds us that we are simply stewards, while God is the ultimate owner of all creation. Since food is part of God’s provision for us, wastefully throwing it away is poor stewardship of what belongs to Him.

Being faithful stewards means using food responsibly without excess waste.

Luke 12:42 – Be faithful stewards of what God gives us

In the Parable of the Faithful Servant, Jesus emphasizes the importance of being faithful stewards with what God entrusts us (Luke 12:42). All resources at our disposal, including food, are given by God. When we waste food unnecessarily, we are being unfaithful with what He provides.

Instead, we should manage food in a responsible manner that honors God. This may involve proper planning, storage, reuse of leftovers, and prudent sharing with others in need.


In conclusion, the Bible promotes responsible use of resources, condemns waste and excess, and calls us to generosity and compassion. As God’s stewards on earth, we are expected to avoid misusing what He provides and be conduits of His provision to those lacking basic needs like food.

The Bible challenges gluttony and living for pleasure while people go hungry. As we seek God’s wisdom, we can find the right balance between enjoyment and excess, restraint and wastage. The abundant life He offers us is not about hoarding resources but wisely stewarding them.

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