Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 11 May 2015

“For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) Mark 7, verse 19

No matter what someone tells you, everything you want to eat is permissible. Free choice reigns, baby.

Those religious people who say you can’t drink alcohol?   They’re full of it.   The vegans who say it’s immoral to eat meat?   Not Biblical in any way.   Muslims and Jews and their pork aversion?   Crackpot.   Anyone who says you can’t eat or drink something and tries to hammer you with the Bible as to why you shouldn’t:   go ahead and lovingly hammer back. What Jesus is saying here is “it’s just food, guys.” And, yes, let’s go there:   Jesus had the same bodily functions that you and I had.   His body worked the same as yours or mine; I hope He was in better shape than me. When He consumed food and drink, the same thing happened to Him as happened to us.   It’s just food, y’all. It goes in the body; it goes out of the body.   It’s fuel, not faith or future.

Mind you, you can’t take Jesus’ words out of context. One verse in the Bible here isn’t simply condoning everything the way we might think it is.   Remember:   heart first. The Apostle Paul, echoing Jesus’ commands, reminds us that, if something is bad for you, then it could lead to sin. If something causes someone a problem – say a beer before an alcoholic, junk food in front of a dieter, or bacon and sausage on my plate any time of the day – then we should gut-check (no pun intended) our motivation before offering it or consuming it in their presence.   We need to always check our hearts before we jump into eating and drinking things that may be problematic for our peers. Sin is the problem, not bacon, eggs or beer.

Even the religious folk I mention up above:   we need to do a gut-check in how we respond to them.   My wife and I are hunting for a church to attend here in Paris (Texas).   Last month, we went into a friendly non-denominational church south of town.   It had the contemporary, open vibe we were looking for, and we liked the fact that they were doing things in this small, economically challenged community; be the church, don’t just go to church.   Yet I don’t think we’ll be going back there because the minister spent part of the service decrying demon alcohol.   She kept preaching about how awful and sinful alcohol is, and made this aspiring vintner and wine-business owner feel unwelcome.   How many of us do this with the best of intentions in how we walk our daily faith-walk?

The point of all this is to make sure that, whatever we do in living to carry out Jesus’ commands, we do so with the kind of loving attitude He has.

Lord, bless those who struggle with food issues, and always remind me to do a heart-check in how I respond to others.

Read Mark 7, verses 1-23.

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