Taking What You’re Given

Genesis 3:1-7; John 6:35

One of the early chapters of The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet is entitled “You Take What You’re Given.”

The story has to do with a secretary in the new church the pastor has moved to. He is accustomed to hiring his own secretaries, but in this new church, the official board does the hiring, so he must take what they give him, like it or not.

There are times we find ourselves in situations where we either take what is given or go without.

When I was six years old, my parents were in the process of moving from Phoenix, Arizona, to Clovis New Mexico. This was during World War II, and tires were of a very poor quality and also rationed.

Approximately halfway between Roswell and Clovis, the left rear tire blew out. Dad put on the spare and it was flat.

He took his hand pump, attached it to the valve stem of the deflated spare, and began to pump.  As he got it near the required pressure, it blew up in his face. He had no choice but to hitchhike back to Roswell to get a new tire.

That left my mother, my brother Melvin and me sitting in the car alongside the busy highway on a hot dry windy day, fifty miles from nowhere. There was no water, but Mother had some lemons to quench our thirst. We sucked them dry.

Much later in the day, a man stopped to see if he could help us.  e had a cloth water bag hanging on his front bumper and offered us a drink. We drank it dry, then he said, “I have a loaf of bread with me. Would you like to have it?”

Although ice cream was much preferred, it was not available, and we took what the man gave us. The bread was gone in minutes. Dad did not arrive until very late that evening. We took what was given.

Many years later, my brothers Melvin and Roy and I were at our grandfather’s house. Grandpa loved flax seed, and he often gave us some. He asked if we would like to have some and we readily agreed.

He poured some in three separate bowls for each of us. Just before we sat down to enjoy it, I happened to look at the bag. It said, “Rat poisoning.”

When I showed it to Grandpa, I thought he was going to pass out.

Many baseball fans believe the expression “My, oh my!” originated with the late sportscaster Dick Enberg. Grandpa was years ahead of him as he repeated those words over and over again.

Three words define everything I told you. “Take and eat!”

They are three words that can bring life-giving nourishment or destroy you.

Those three words were first uttered by God in the Garden of Eden. “Take and eat of every tree in the garden except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It is poison and if you eat it, you will die.” We all know the rest of that story.

But when Jesus came, He said, “Take and eat.” He had just told them that He is the Bread of Life. This metaphor is a challenge to us to invite the very presence of Jesus into the core center of our lives.

When we do, and upon His entry, we have everlasting life the way God intended before Adam and Eve bit into the poison fruit.

I challenge you to taste. Then to see that the Lord is good. That’s when your eyes and your heart will be truly opened to an abundant and fruitful life.

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