Apples, Tomatoes, and the Curse of God

fruitYou’ve probably heard the story.  It’s the one about Adam, Eve, and the tree of knowledge, and it took place in the Garden of Eden.  In an act of disobedience, Adam and Eve took of the forbidden fruit, and they were banned from and booted out of the Garden.

The myth of that Eden experience is that Adam and Eve ate an apple, but the Bible doesn’t specifically name what it was that they ate.  I disputed the apple assertion earlier this year after I had purchased a tomato.  It had such a deep red and luscious appeal that promised a taste bud-tingling-experience.  I took it home, sliced it, and added it to a sandwich.

After I took one bite of this fine-looking tomato, I drew a deep theological conclusion.  When God cursed the Garden, He must have also cursed a certain variety of tomato.  I’ll call it the supermarket variety because they all have one dominant and pervasive feature:  They are tasteless.  There is no flavor to savor.

The dilemma of tasteless tomatoes is explained in part by author Mark Schatzker in The Dorito Effect.  According to Schatzker, for the past 70 years commercial horticulturists have been focused on yield, pest resistance and appearance at the expense of flavor.

While store-bought tomatoes are no longer tasty, manufactured flavor has been added to Doritos and your munchies, so you’ll crave more.  Schatzker says: “Synthetic-flavor technology makes bland ingredients attractive without supplying the myriad benefits of the real thing. The twin forces of flavor dilution and fake ­flavor have short-circuited the biological basis for mutable appetite . . . Our bodies learn to draw connections between flavors and the physiological responses they signal . . . We can seek out and find what we need, nutritionally, and stop eating once we get it”

Schatzker seems to suggest that it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.  I would add that perhaps we shouldn’t try to improve on the design of the Master Designer.

Psalm 84:11

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

The Great Fullness of Gratefulness

708161.052doughnut_hole_man1_origBefore I go to the office of a morning, I usually stop at the donut shop for a cup of coffee. Some mornings I yield to temptation and eat a donut. I guess this makes me somewhat of an expert on these high cholesterol, artery-clogging treats.

Donuts reveal a little bit about your perspective on life. Do you focus on what you have or on what you do not have? Here’s a little rhyme to explain:

As you go through life, make this your goal:
Keep your eye on the doughnut and not on the hole.

Some people focus so much on what they think they are missing, they miss out on the joys of life. Because they are always wanting more, they know nothing of contentment.

Paul spoke to Timothy about this when he said: Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out (I Timothy 6:6-7).”

A common companion of contentment is gratefulness, and great fullness is what Paul wanted Timothy to experience. Because he was grateful, Paul had a great fullness that helped him to face the trials of life:

“I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances may be. I know now how to live when things are difficult and I know how to live when things are prosperous. In general and in particular I have learned the secret of facing either poverty or plenty. I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me (Philippians 4”10-13).”

It was Charles Dickens who said: “Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

If you just focus on your misfortunes, you will miss the fortune you have in your family, your friends, and in your Savior. Think about them, express your gratefulness and great fullness can be yours to enjoy.

Champions of Breakfast

The title of this post comes from the latest edition of Psychology Today.  The article discusses the importance of starting the day with the right kind of food, and it issues a warning:  Skipping the first meal of the day sets in motion hormonal changes linked to appetite shifts, obesity, and diabetes. 

A breakfast full of proper nutrition will help to regulate many body systems that have a lasting impact on alertness and general health.  People who skip breakfast often report that they end up feeling more tired and less energetic.

After reading this article, I couldn’t help but notice the spiritual parallels.    To grow physically, we need proper nutrition, and  to grow spiritually, we need spiritual food.  This truth is seen in the words of Jesus:  Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Luke 4:4).

If you find yourself experiencing the spiritual doldrums, you may want to check the menu.  What have you been eating for breakfast?  What has been the source of your nutrition–muffins or the manna from heaven?