2005-11-22 - Chex Mix
As we approach the holiday season, I can't help but share a few scattered thoughts about food.
If you catch me eating chex mix, you'd normally see me picking through my bowl to eat all the pretzels first. I'll dig through whatever size container I happen to have, to make sure I have eaten them all down to the tiny little broken nubs at the bottom. Seeing me do this time and time again, you'd probably conclude that I liked pretzels. But you'd be wrong. It's not that I despise pretzels, but I don't particularly care for them; they are, for sure, my least favorite part of any party mix. I like them least, but go through eating them, knowing everything that comes after will be better. By eating all the cruddy stuff first, I can look forward to all that will be mine. I endure the pretzels, knowing what waits at the end will be way better. Life can be like a bag of chex mix at times.
Psalms 30:5 ends noting "weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." James repeats those sentiments, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
Taking this a bit farther, let's examine two brief parables of Jesus himself.
Matthew 13:44-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls, 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Picture a man on his way home from work; his car breaks down. Walking the roads home will be a few miles, but he knows he could cut through the line of trees beside the road and across the huge field, in order to pop out just a few hundred yards away from his house. He's tired; it's been a long day, so he decides to take the shortcut. He makes his way through the trees easily enough, but gets caught a few times by briars in the overgrown field. His shirt gets caught on a prickly little twig and snags. "Great! What else could go wro-o-o-ONG!" Just as he has that thought, there's a snap, and his foot catches in a hole - and he falls to the ground. He flips over and kicks his foot out, but as he does, a sparkle in the hole catches his eye. Looking at the hole, he sees the glimmer again. He reaches into the hole.
It's cold, but he pulls out a gold coin. Of course, now the hole has his full attention. He peers down and sees the whole is full of coins. It looks like he stepped through the lid of a rotting wood chest. He reaches in and starts to pull out even more of the gold. He fills his pockets, but then it hits him. "This isn't my gold. It belongs to whoever owns this field." He argues with himself for a minute, but as he does, he remembers a For Sale sign back at the road near his car. This land is for sale. It's not his now; but it could be. He carefully places all the gold back in the hole, crams a rock down in the hole to plug it and covers it with a few handfuls of dirt and some debris. He gets up and walks back towards the car. Sure enough, the land is for sale - 100 acres. He jots down the number and races back across the field. Suddenly the briars don't seem to matter; breathlessly he makes it home.
He calls on the property. The owner has set a price far higher than he could afford, and it's a good bit over market value, so the bank won't loan him all he needs. Over the next couple months, he cuts his budget down to bare necessities, sells off lots of what he owns, and goes without any of life's pleasures. He is miserable, but he just keeps reminding himself of that chest of gold and telling himself, "This is just for a season." He temporarily goes without so he can have something even greater later. That man endures hardships with his eye on what's coming next. Isn't that me and my chex mix?
Are you willing to sacrifice in this life for the greater reward later? Do you give your all to God and His kingdom? Do you serve yourself and the prince of this earth for material things, or do you serve the King of Kings, the creator, and true owner of all things?
Matthew 6:19-22,24 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.