Trading the Perishables for Nonperishables

Posted in theology by Nathan Creitz on May 1, 2007

I’ve got 2 cans of tuna, a package of spaghetti noodles, 2 boxes of cereal, some canned soup, a big bag of brown rice and a few packages of ramen noodles (I just can’t get seminary habits out of my pantry). In my refrigerator, I’ve got some summer squash and zucchini, milk, bread, cheese, and ketchup and mustard. I’ve got a lot of other things too, those are just the things that come to mind.

It’s very interesting to think that the perishable items in my refrigerator are fresher and probably better for me than what I have on my shelves. I am constantly restocking my refrigerator, but there are things in the pantry that I haven’t gotten to in years. However, if we had a huge blizzard (something that could still happen here in Boston even though it’s May 1) I would want to stock up on the nonperishable items. It’s amazing to see the shelves at the grocery store the day before a big storm. All the canned food items and gallons of water are gone! Forget for a minute that fresh vegetables and fruits are usually better for you, for this illustration, I am thinking more along the lines of the benefits of perishable versus nonperishable food items and also the fact that often fresh food tastes better but that’s not always an indication of it’s value. A fresh Snicker’s bar would taste really good right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s better for me.

What am I talking about then? It’s amazing to me that a crisis always brings people to God. People try to make it on their own and then when the world falls apart on them, they come running back for more of God. It’s the same in the grocery store. Walking down the canned goods aisle is boring, but walking into the fresh market section of the store is exciting. All of the apples are stacked with care. The little sprinkler system comes on and makes everything look appealing. But in a storm, no one thinks to stock up on bananas because they know that within a couple of days those will go bad.

I think this is much like our culture. Cultures are perishable. Nations come and go, but God tells us that His Word will endure forever. During trying times like 9/11 and the recent Virginia Tech massacre, people seek out God, they attend a Christian gathering for the first time in years. These are the storms of life where people need to stock up on the nonperishables. Again, it’s an incomplete analogy because in real life, fresh fruits and vegetables are usually better for you than canned fruits and vegetables. But, as I thought about my kitchen, I think about what I would need to survive and most of it is not in my refrigerator. What about a homeless person, what would you want to give him? Money? That’s perishable. Food? That’s perishable…he will need some more in about 8 hours. There is no point in giving him those things if you aren’t also willing to share with him the nonperishable truth of God’s Word. When people are in a storm of life, that is the best time to encourage to trade in their perishable plans and thoughts and beliefs that seem more attractive at first glance, and trade those in for the nonperishable truths of God that may not be as attractive at first, but are actually the essential ingredients to living an abundant life.


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