Today’s scripture is a long one, but it is an important message on joy. How does this pertain to joy? Well, let me tell you. Forty, when mentioned in the Bible, symbolically means a very long time. Jesus was in the wilderness a very long time without food. Jesus replied to the tempter, “Man cannot live by bread alone.” Jesus was making the point that there is a hierarchy of needs in our lives and that we must feed on the things that meet our spiritual hunger. Now we all know that scripture reading, verse memorization, and prayer will satisfy our spiritual hunger. But did you know that eating is also a spiritual discipline? Our spirits are hungry for nurturing and Jesus is telling us that people need more than bland white bread to satisfy their souls.
Did you have toast for breakfast this morning? Sometimes our lives become so hectic that we develop a routine that expedites our schedule. Even our meals can become rote. For five years, five days a week, I ate lunch with Shirley and every one of those days, she ate a small carton of yogurt and a banana—every single day! Never an orange or an apple, always a banana, how dull. It met her physical body needs, the food was quite nutritious. But did this food give her joy, I think not.
Fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, they call it “soul food” for a reason. Dr. Agatston, one of the country’s leading cardiologists, says that it is better to have ½ cup of quality ice cream for breakfast than white bread toast. Ice cream for breakfast? Come on, live a little. It’s important to enjoy your food. You can take advantage of that passion even when you can’t eat every single thing you want with reckless abandon. Change your routine, boredom is the enemy of a quality spiritual life. How are you tending to your spiritual hunger? Perhaps you need to visit the Marble Slab.