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Picky Eaters Beware!

November 13th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 9: 1- 6 (NLT)

 1 Wisdom has built her house;
      she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet,
      mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
      She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
      To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 “Come, eat my food,
      and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
      learn to use good judgment.”


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Food has been a very important component of my life . . . maybe too important at times.  I was a bit chubby as a boy, carrying most of my weight in my cheeks.  Poor Sadie has my cheeks now, but as my mom says, “she’ll grow into them.”  For me, food has always been more than just food; it is an event.  Even now as a pastor, I “relish” the opportunity to meet over a nice bowl of soup or a plate of crinkle cut french fries. Serve me chili on a cold winter night and I might just reveal the darkest secrets of my soul.  

Ice cream has always been my weakness.  Even in my slimmer days, I have still been known to eat anyone under the table when ice cream is in question.  Up to a certain point in my life, all other desserts only served to complement the greatest of all desserts . . . the ice cream.  Normal people eat cake and ice cream; I eat ice cream and cake.  I used to think that my gut was bottomless until it started hanging over the sides.  Yeah, my ice cream eating prowess made me quite the portly individual.

It wasn’t until my adult life that I even entertained the idea that the quality of food wasn’t based on the amount of it you consumed in one sitting . . . or one eating, I suppose.  Even to this day, I’m amazed at the fact that the level of my hunger is directly proportional to the size of the plate I fix, even though my body will only hold a certain amount before mutiny breaks out on the high seas of my esophagus.  Nothing disappointed me more than receiving a small portion of food when my hunger level was high.  It didn’t matter if it was a hundred dollar filet mignon; the amount of food eclipsed its quality.  Consequently, the more I ate, the more my shadow began to eclipse things too.

At the ripe old age of twenty-one, my Registered Nurse wife gently prodded me with the threat of swift and certain death to have my cholesterol checked.  Cholesterol?  Psssh!  I’m too young to worry about that stuff! When the results came back, my cholesterol levels were so high that my blood type had been changed to “Gravy Negative.”  It was a wake-up call that I never expected to receive.  Thus, my new, more turbulent relationship with food was born.  It was no longer a romance . . . or at least that’s what I thought.

After reading several different dieting books and websites, I encountered a strange idea: I should only eat when I’m hungry and I should stop when I’m full.  Huh, sounded cooky at first.  Quit when I’m full?  Up to that point, I never knew what full felt like until about twenty minutes after leaving the restaurant when I’d turn to my wife and moan, “What have I done?  Why didn’t you stop me when the manager asked me to leave the buffet?”

For the first time in my life, I actually slowed down my eating and quit when I was full.  Up to that point, I was very monogamous with my food choices.  O’Charley’s always meant steak-tips monterrey.  Taco Bell always meant two beef meximelts and a mexican pizza.  But when I began to eat with purpose, I suddenly became open to the idea of ordering something else.  Salmon.  Soup.  Sushi.  Alliteration.  I suddenly became excited about variety.  Instead of just a huge-portioned means to an end, I began to enjoy the possibilities of what foods were out there.

These days, I watch Iron Chef America and marvel at the diversity of culinary possibilities that the chefs present.  My romance with food is restored, except it has variety now and I can fit into my pants.  And though I still have favorite foods, I’m willing to try anything (it doesn’t hurt that my wife is a master culinary artist.)

This passage is about food of a different sort.  Instead of a local restaurant, we’ve been invited to wisdom’s house . . . built by her own hands, mind you.  Yeah, this is some crazy crib we’re talking about!  When we come in, we’re presented with a “banquet” of things to eat and drink.  Sidebar: I’m deliberately not going to focus on the wine reference and the cultural implications of the author’s time period and society– that would deter us from our course.  What I am intrigued by is the invitation that wisdom gives to the simpleminded and to those who “lack good judgment.”  “Come, eat my food.”

Wisdom, you see, isn’t a picky eater.  No, she prepares a cornucopia of eating delights and her house is open to the public!  That’s right, anyone who desires to taste the best of wisdom’s kitchen need only pull up a chair and unfold their napkin.  Beef meximelts have no place here (maybe in heaven, just not in this metaphor.)  

It’s not the quantity of the goodies that “take the cake;” it’s the selection.  Honestly, that’s where the sweetness of wisdom is found.  It’s not in knowing everything; that doesn’t make you wise– it just makes you a know-it-all.  No, wisdom is found in the infinite adventures of daily living.  You can taste it when you face a situation you’ve never encountered before only to be prompted with just the right course of action at just the right time.  I salivate just thinking about it.  It may only happen once, but since repetitive helpings of the same information is not the end goal, you can simply devour the moment for its succulent tastiness. Day in and day out, you can expect wisdom’s choices to never bore the spiritual pallet.  

Wisdom’s banquet is quite the spread, but there’s no room for picky eaters with immature tastes.  We must be willing to “leave our simple ways behind and begin to live.”  In other words, quit ordering the steak tips monterrey and try the sushi . . . spiritually, of course.  


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