September 30, 2010

Enjoy Fine Food!

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged at 9:14 pm by Mo Dardinger

Why pay money for something that will not nourish you?
Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing!
Enjoy fine food!
(Is. 55:2, NET Bible)

My father would have agreed with the first line of this verse. He often said of some purchase my mother or I made, “You can’t eat it.” He valued what could be eaten, as it was necessary for life. Wasteful, excessive, pointless spending was rejected by him. He didn’t have many needs or wants.

What is money for? To pay for our own needs and the needs of those for whom we are responsible, such as our young children or elderly parents.

Should we ever use money for something that we merely want, beyond basic survival? Such as for hosting a party when your daughter gets married or your son earns his doctorate? And for other wants, not just needs? This seems to me to be quite acceptable as well.

The limits on it may be a great deal more strict than we’re used to thinking, but spending on some wants and comforts seems permissible from the evidence we have in Scripture. Let’s enjoy our fine food and the other nourishment that the Lord provides.

May 20, 2010

On Elegant Sufficiency

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , , , , at 7:08 pm by Mo Dardinger

Today at lunch, I quoted my father to my girlfriends. I don’t quote him often. He didn’t teach me much. I wasn’t open to instruction, and he wasn’t particularly communicative.

My father was, though, a good man in lots of ways. He recognized and opposed pride. He supported his wife and children, then later his second wife and me, his last child.

He had supported his mother and younger siblings, too, when his alcoholic father abandoned the family. He’d had to drop out of school in the fourth grade to earn a living for them. But he didn’t boast, and he didn’t complain.

He worked as a baker, eventually owning his own large bakery. Later he worked for others, mostly as a pastry chef.

For recreation, he went deer hunting with his buddies or gambled at the local dog track. He was a hard-working, responsible fellow. He drank, but not to excess.

Dad smoked, but he quit cold turkey one day and never looked back. I’ve always been proud of him for that.

My father made friends easily with those he worked with and for. He enjoyed a good laugh.

After a meal with friends, at their place or ours, he would often proclaim, “I have had an elegant sufficiency.” Isn’t that a choice phrase? “An elegant sufficiency.” It says, “I’m satisfied. I’ve eaten enough. I don’t need any more, thanks.”

More than that, it states that what is “sufficient” is all that is needful. One ought to be satisfied with “enough,” with that which is “sufficient.” That which is enough is elegant by virtue of being the proper amount, that which is fitting, that which is needful.

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. ~ 1 Timothy 6:8 (NASB) ~

The apostle Paul promotes the correct attitude in this verse, doesn’t he? Who says we need to stuff ourselves until we can’t hold another morsel? Who says we in the developed world have a God-given right to feast every day while the rest of the world scratches for a living? God Himself would be the first to deny such a “right” exists and to call for a limit to our self-indulgence and greed.

Believe me, I have been living well, eating well, and not engaging in self-denial on behalf of the poor or anyone else. All this while working for a charity that serves the poor, while reading the Bible regularly, and while associating with others who love the Lord. Sometimes the blinders we wear are invisible to us, and sometimes we excuse our own behavior too readily. At least, I do. But I see the need to change, and today I took a baby step in a new direction.

For lunch out with my friends today, I ordered just a bowl of soup. It cost a bit less than the sandwiches or the salads. It came with bread and made for a delicious, satisfying, filling meal. Thus my quotation of my father to my friends: “As my father used to say, ‘I have had an elegant sufficiency.'”

May it become a common phrase on my lips, and may more of my father’s goodness and kindness influence my heart and mind in the months and years to come.

April 11, 2010

No Kit Kats, and That’s That

Posted in Spiritual Life tagged , , , at 5:06 am by Mo Dardinger

My husband Dave and I have been studying the Feasts of the Lord. We even taught an adult class about them a couple of years ago.

The spring feasts all serve as prophecies for the Messiah’s first coming. Passover was fulfilled in the Lord Yeshua’s sacrificial atoning death, while Firstfruits was fulfilled in his miraculous resurrection. The gift of the Holy Spirit at Shavuot (Pentecost) fulfilled that prophesied feast. The fall feasts will, in like manner, be fulfilled in every detail when the Lord Yeshua returns to take back Israel and the earth from the forces of darkness.

When I arrived home from the office on Wednesday, after a longer-than-normal day, I was surprised to find Dave rushing about gathering up and throwing out all the leavened products — crackers, bread, stuffing. We hadn’t talked about doing the “hunt for the leaven” — though since I am the Clue Hunter, you’d think I might have had a clue. I joined in, eating the half a hamburger (with leavened bun) that I’d brought home from lunch, then tossing, tossing, tossing.

We did it. We managed to haul out all of the trash bags before sundown. (Some of the other contents of the refrigerator were cleaned out as well, and the advertising magazines from our mail went, too.) All the leaven, which represents sin in the Bible, was gone. *whew*

After sunset, we enjoyed a wonderful meal and watched a Zola Levitt video about the Passover seder (the service accompanying the meal). He claims the Last Supper was a seder, which others dispute, but that’s not the point for now.

The next day, we discovered a Kit Kat candy bar on the sideboard where we had lots of other candy. Oops. The crackers in the Kit Kat bars contained yeast. Contraband. Leaven.

Then we found a half-eaten bag of crackers that had yeast. They had been on the kitchen counter and were lost among all the bags and boxes Dave had sifted through. More leaven.

When we were treated to dinner by our nephew and his family a few days later, we shared this story with them. It’s so typical of our lives. We can hunt and hunt for the sin that lurks inside us. But we will always miss some. It can be small, it can be easily overlooked, it can be an attitude that everyone around us shares with us. But it has to go. No excuses. No compromises. No Kit Kats, and that’s that.