A friend recently recounted a story and, of course, I saw the potential for a devotional for my Abundant Living blog. With her permission, I borrowed her idea and added a bit of artistic license.
While shopping at the local grocery store one might take notice of the various items people put in their carts. Of note, two shopping carts equally filled, however the similarities stop there.
One cart filled with a rainbow of color. Rich greens of spinach, arugula, swiss chard; deep purples of egg plant, plums, beets; Bright yellows and oranges of carrots, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes, melons; vibrant reds of tomatoes, strawberries; and other flavorful items like fresh onion, garlic, cilantro, basil, bags of ground spices. The cart also has an array of hard and soft cheeses, skim milk, yogurt, and bags of beans and lentils, as well as assorted nuts and dried fruits. I imagine the amazing meals the shopper can make with the items in the cart. Filling, satisfying, and nutritious. Oh how I’d love to sit down at that table and linger over the feast.
What are the benefits of a healthy cart? More energy. Lower weight. Lower blood pressure. Disease fighting nutrients. Longer, fuller life.
The second cart equally loaded with a lot of food that can fill stomachs. Boxes and bags of highly processed, convenience foods along with equal proportions of sugary, salty junk food. Quick, easy to make, mimicking natural foods, maybe filling, satisfying for a moment, until the sugar crash sets in and leaves one hungry again. Foods definitely not very nutritious or satisfying. Even describing the contents isn’t all that fun. I imagine quick preparations, a rushed dinner, maybe even grab and go.
What are the negatives a junk filled cart? Less energy. Higher weight. Higher blood pressure. Disease causing ingredients. Shorter, more health challenged life.
How do the two carts compare to our spiritual lives? When we take a hard look at what we’re feeding our soul, can we describe it as rich, deep, bright, vibrant, flavorful, satisfying? Or is it sugar coated, salt filled, empty calories leaving us unsatisfied, devoid of energy, and always wanting more?
What might a spiritually starving diet look like? Hit or miss worship. A prayer thrown up here and there. Sporadic reading of scripture, if at all. Rushed relationships with little time for deep conversations. Hearts heavy with worry and anxiety. Attitudes of grumbling, complaining, self-seeking. A spiritually starved soul displaying anger, rage, malicious behavior, slanderous and unprofitable talk. An empty soul with nothing to give, no energy to serve, no joy to share.
In contrast, what are the essentials to a healthy spiritual diet? When we sit down to our spiritual meals, what are the things we need to have our our plates? Large helpings of teaching, reading, and study of the word. Generous portions of fellowship and healthy relationships. Dishes heaped with the breaking of bread, communion, and spiritual traditions and practices. Bowls of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.
What are the benefits of a Spirit filled diet? Scripture tells us the fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. (Galatians 5:22-23) We glow with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, love, and unity. (Colossians 3:12-14) Our energy abounds with faith, excellence, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. (2 Peter 1:5-7) Spiritually healthy souls share with others. Healthy hearts overflow with generosity, serving and seeking out those in need to give from our place of abundance and joy. (Acts 2:42-47)
What’s in your cart?