Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
“Try it; you'll like it!” I don't know who first said these words. I do know that a well known antacid product used this catchphrase in some old TV commercials. I also know that a number of people know the success of such advertising. That is why it is commonplace to see samples of food being given away in grocery stores and mall food court areas. Their hope is simple: Take a bite and you will want more. “Try it; you'll like it!
Consider the following text and the “Try it; you'll like it” approach: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” (1 Peter 2.1-3). The metaphors here are simple and easily understood in any culture and any time. Notice particularly that Peter speaks of having tasted that the Lord is gracious. The experiment was not one of mere theory; it was one that directly affected the senses! If a picture is worth a thousand words, a taste is worth a million! That is Peter's premise and the basis upon which he asks his readers to further experience the Lord.
As a reader of this article, have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? Before reading further, I beg you to think about and respond to this question. Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? The question is not whether He is gracious; the question is whether or not you have experienced that characteristic of God with your own senses. Sometimes I have eaten things in such a rush that I failed to taste them! I can recall times when I have, due to the press of time, woofed down a favorite food without savoring a single bite! After the fact, I sometimes have thought to myself, “Now why did you do that? You had an opportunity to experience one of life's simple pleasures, and you blew it!”
If you can read this article, you have an opportunity to taste the graciousness of God. The fact that you have eyes with which to read is evidence of that goodness. If you can process the words of this article, that is also a gift from God – a gift of intelligence and a certain thirst for knowledge. Since this is an electronically generated and distributed message, there was a chain of events that occurred, all in accordance with the laws of science which God created and maintains, which allows you to receive, copy, forward, and manipulate this message in several different ways. God is gracious even when we don't taste Him.
That was Jesus' point when He charged His disciples, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6.35-36). In fact, when Peter said the Lord is gracious, he used the very same Greek word as Jesus when He said the Father is kind! Jesus affirmed that God is gracious/kind to all men, whether they are thankful or not. He is gracious to those who woff down blessings without so much as a thought of thankfulness!
Paul asked a pointed question along these lines; he wrote, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, [graciousness] forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness [graciousness] of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2.4). Time itself is a gift that God is giving to every person who is reading this message. It is God's way of allowing people to taste that He is gracious and desire to experience more of His goodness! The choice is ours. We can choose to taste the goodness of God, or we can woof down life's gifts without so much as a thought about The Giver!
1. Why do food advertisers want you to taste their products? Why is that method of advertising more compelling that a few words or a picture of their products?
2. Who has an opportunity to taste God's goodness? When and how are such opportunities given to us?
3. Is God gracious to the unthankful? If yes, how and when? Have you experienced unthankfulness from someone who was a recipient of your goodness? If yes, how did it make you feel? How difficult is it to continue to be gracious to someone who does not have a thankful heart?
4. Pray this prayer with me: God help me to be thankful every moment for your blessings!
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