Let My Laughter Resound!
“I’LL TAKE ANOTHER SERVING, AND ANOTHER SERVING, AND ONE MORE DISH!”
Are there certain ‘foods’ (dishes) that you like – that you crave – that you can’t get enough of? There may be several such dishes that would make the ‘top of your list’ that you cannot resist!
There are several such ‘dishes’ that are on the ‘top’ my list – dishes that have a special appeal, dishes that greatly satisfy my ‘taste buds’ and that bring delight to my personal palate! Whether this is because of one’s particular DNA (inheritance), or because of acquiring a ‘taste’ when one is an infant or a child, or because of one’s discovering a taste through exposure to certain foods as an adult!
Who really knows why there are certain foods that have a strong appeal to certain persons! Of course, the food (dish) that appeals to me, may be the very food that repulses you! Why are some persons ‘in love’ with certain foods, and other persons ‘couldn’t care less’ for those foods, or even despise those very foods that you love to eat? We humans, of course, are all different, not only in the taste for food, but different in every other way (interests, hobbies, attractions, designs, colors, etc.).
My mother was always a great cook, and she prepared delicious and varied dishes (common food) when I was growing up in her home. It would take too much time (and too much recall of my brain) to list many of the tasty dishes that my mother prepared during my childhood and teen years. Not ‘fancy dishes’, but very tasty dishes!
Occasionally my mother would prepare a large kettle of ‘buttered beans’! What a treat to sit down at her simple table, and consume a large plate full of ‘buttered beans’! Perhaps corn bread would accompany those ‘buttered beans’! As I think back to my teen years, I probably would have to admit that I was close to becoming ‘addicted’ to ‘buttered beans’!
Mother, who worked as a school cook for 15 years (during my growing-up years) was an excellent cook, and she knew how to season those ‘buttered beans’ (flavored with a little ham and salt and pepper and butter)!
After I was married, my wife (who became a great cook) occasionally presented to me, to my delight, a big bowl of ‘buttered beans’! She honored my mother, and she honored her husband, by prepared some of the same ‘dishes’ that I enjoyed when I lived in Fountain, Colorado (when l was a kid).
I don’t remember the specific year when the following event took place, but I think I was still a rather young pastor. lt was on a late Saturday afternoon. My dear wife, so very involved in multiple ministries in our church, nevertheless, took the time and made the effort to cook a large pot of ‘buttered beans’! This dish was not a ‘regular dish’ in our home, but Venita desired (at times) to prepare dishes that I particularly enjoyed (relished)!
I ate buttered beans and I ate more buttered beans. I could not get enough of those buttered beans. They tasted so good. I relished every bite of the buttered beans! What a delightful meal! The problem is: I lost all ‘common sense’, all sense of a mature perspective, all admittance that the human stomach has its limits! I gorged myself on buttered beans! I lost track of how many buttered beans I had eaten! One bowl of buttered beans called for another bowl of buttered beans!
If a little is good, then a lot is better! I went ‘crazy’ that afternoon on buttered beans! I acted like a man who was ‘high’ on some drug, like a man who had lost all control of his will power! That afternoon I ate like a man who was starving! Indeed, I had lost all self-control (which is a ‘fruit of the Spirit’). While consuming those buttered beans, I apparently rejected my inner sense of ‘moral guiltiness’ (“Ron, you are guilty of overeating! Stop now!’)
What I already knew (having been a preacher for several years), I now realized personally. There are consequences for ‘wrong choices’! I chose to overeat, so I would have to bear the hurtful consequences. My stomach became terribly bloated, until I almost felt sick! As is typical of the property of ‘beans’, my stomach was filled, not only with ‘tons’ of beans, but also with the emission of a lot of ‘gases’! I felt like my stomach was going to explode!
With the misery I was feeling, I asked myself how I could be so ‘stupid’ – so ‘stupid’ to allow myself to be guided by my physical appetite instead of by my ‘objective reason’! Any reasonable person would realize that, in spite of his abounding appetite for a particular ‘dish’, the ‘brakes must be put on’ – the will must be activated to say ‘no’ to any further bowls of ‘buttered beans’. I realized that I played the part of a ‘foolish, stomach-driven’ man, a man who let his appetite ‘run away with him!’
The consequence of my ‘hoggish appetite’ was being magnified by the time the sun went down and Saturday night was approaching! I realized that, with Sunday responsibilities soon facing me, I had a big problem on my hands! I knew that I would not dare to see my small congregation, in the shape that I was in!
A bloated stomach, with ‘gas’ being discharged from more than one part of my body, I dare not ‘go to church’ and make a ‘fool’ of myself! What am I going to do? I am in a pathetic condition – all because of my lack of discipline in eating my buttered beans! Why did I allow the buttered beans (which I ‘love’ so much) to ‘get the best of me’, to ‘pin me in a corner!’
As usual, I had prepared a ‘good sermon’ to deliver to my people. But I was unable to stand behind my pulpit to ‘share the Good News’! What should I do? Who could fill in for me, at the last minute? After all, this is Saturday night, just a few hours before Sunday morning!
In my heart, I believed that I had only one person that I could call on, to help me in my predicament. He was like a ‘right hand man’ to me. He is so amiable and flexible and responsible. He has taught a lot of Sunday school classes. Surely, Bill Hoffman (a loyal friend) will help me, and get me ‘out of my scrape’! Late on Saturday, I called Bill, and (true to his character and availability), he consented to take the Sunday morning service!
This was not the first ‘stupid’ mistake that I made, and (unfortunately) it was not the last ‘stupid’ mistake that I made!
The apostle Paul, in writing to one of his churches, warns these believers to beware of a certain heretical group! Among the heresies of this group is their unusual appetite for food – gluttony! He writes, “whose god is their stomach”.
That is a stunning indictment to me, for sadly (on that particular Saturday afternoon) I allowed my ‘stomach’ to be in control of my better reason! All that I could think about on that long-ago occasion was my buttered beans, and my stomach became the servant of those beans.
This gluttonous experience (stuffing myself with buttered beans) made me realize how easy it is to rationalize and to invite sin into my life! The activity of eating a certain food seemed to be so ‘innocent’ and ‘acceptable’ and ‘agreeable’. It is well said that ‘sin is simply a perversion of a legitimate desire’. Obviously it is good to eat buttered beans, but it is wrong (it becomes a sin) when one ‘crosses the line’ and he eats too many buttered beans!
Abstinence in some things like: consuming no alcoholic drinks, and modesty in many things (like eating some buttered beans, but not ‘tons’ of buttered beans).
What Jesus (in the Gospel accounts) was accused of namely, of gluttony, He was not guilty of. Jesus loved parties, but He never indulged Himself during those joyful occasions. He definitely was not a glutton, like His enemies accused Him of being! In contrast (as one of Jesus’ very fallible servants), I was not accused by anyone of being a glutton, but l, indeed, was in actuality a ‘glutton’, as a result of getting myself ‘sick’ by eating ‘tons’ of buttered beans!
Destroying our body through alcoholic consumption, and by overeating (gluttony) are only two manifestations of ‘sin against the human body’ (called the ‘temple’ of the Holy Spirit).
Gluttony (overeating) is classified as a sin that is grouped with the sin of drunkenness. “Oh my son, be wise and stay in God’s paths, don’t carouse with drunkards and gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty.” (Proverbs 23:21, Living Bible)
When I reflect back (a few decades ago) upon that Saturday afternoon, I wonder now why I would let my appetite ‘get away from me’. Why didn’t I use a little ‘common sense’, and why didn’t I simply suggest to myself that ‘enough of a good thing is enough!’ The buttered beans are so delicious, but I can wait until tomorrow and I can wait until the day after tomorrow, to enjoy this delicious dish (moderation – ‘a little at a time’).
Moderation in eating has seldom been easy for me – at that particular time (so long ago), and since that time! When I am relishing a good ‘dish’, it is hard for me to say ‘no’ to a ‘second helping of food’! Moderation in many areas of daily activities is required! I know that, only through the indwelling Holy Spirit, will I be able to ‘conquer my appetite’ for delicious food!
God created all things for the enjoyment of His creatures, but that which is intended for legitimate enjoyment (pleasure) can be misused (abused)! When that happens, sin enters the picture! Always remember: ‘sin is a perversion of a legitimate desire’! Eating is good, but eating too much becomes gluttony (a serious sin which is listed in the Bible).
In spite of my failure (my gluttony) on that long-ago Saturday afternoon, I can’t help react to that ‘event’ with a smile, with a chuckle, and even with a little laughter! In my ‘mind’s eye’, I can see my ‘bloated belly’ (the result of my unearthly consumption of buttered beans)!
I can see myself (in my ‘mind’s eye’) as appearing as ‘fat as a balloon’ – a ‘balloon’ that needed to release a lot of ‘gas’, but a ‘balloon’ that knows that it’s ‘gas’ has to he released privately! Also, ‘in my mind’s eye’, I can see myself ‘crowded into a corner in a predicament’, feeling a certain amount of ‘panic’ regarding the upcoming Sunday morning service! The mere ‘stupidity’ – of my actions brings a smile to my face! An illustration of ‘implicit laughter’, once again!
“Biblical Foundation For The Sanctity Of Human Life!”