Cheese and Crackers
by Joy Bach
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Have you ever had cheese and crackers for a snack? Or maybe you took some on a picnic. How about that’s all you ate for one day? Three days? What if you had to go two weeks with nothing to eat but cheese and crackers?
There is an old story about a man in Europe who wanted to travel to the United States. In those days, the only way to get here was by ocean liner. He worked hard, saved up his money and finally put together enough money to buy a one-way ticket. Then he bought a suitcase and filled it with cheese and crackers. That would be his food for the three week journey. It was all he could afford
The ship set sail. Meal time came. All the other passengers went into the large dining hall to eat their meal. The man went to his suitcase and took out some cheese and crackers. While he could smell the delicious aromas coming from the meal being served, he went to a corner and ate his cheese and crackers. After the meal, he heard some of the passengers talk about how full they were. The poor man really wanted to join the others in the dining hall, but he had no extra money. Sometimes he would lie awake at night, dreaming of food.
Toward the end of the trip, another man came up to him and said, “Sir, I can’t help but notice that each time a meal is served, you go over to that corner and eat cheese and crackers. Why don’t you come into the banquet hall and eat with us?”
The traveler was embarrassed, but finally stammered out, “Well, to tell you the truth, I only had enough money to buy the ticket. There was no money left over for the meals.”
The other passenger raised his eyebrows in surprise. He said, “Why….don’t you realize the meals are included in the price of the ticket? Your meals have already been paid for.”
As a Christian, are you living on cheese and crackers, when the delicious banquet meal has already been paid for? It was part of the ticket purchased by Christ on the cross.
I was raised to believe that others should be able to tell you were a Christian just by looking at you. If you were poor and down-trodden, then great would be your reward in heaven. If you lived close to poverty and subsisted on “cheese and crackers”, then those who had plenty would know you were a martyr for Christ’s sake.
The Bible I read does not say that. When we go through life with a “poverty” mentality, it is not glorifying to God.
Throughout the Bible, God has talked about wanting to bless us. That doesn’t always mean materially, but it doesn’t exclude it either.
John 10:10 says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Do you think that means living on “cheese and crackers”?
Christ came to earth to teach us how to live abundant, fulfilled lives. According to John 10:10, if we follow His teachings, we will live enviable, full lives!
What is “abundant” living to me might be totally unsatisfying for another. A “Type A” personality would not like to sit in a rocking chair on the front porch of a mountain lodge listening to the silence. But that would be “abundant” living for me.
God has promised us a life far better than we could ever envision. It is a personal journey in the process of learning, practicing and maturing……….as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring and overcoming. Our perception of “abundant” living changes when we “set our mind on things above”.
J. Paul Getty, at the time perhaps one of the richest men in the world, said, “I regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.” He died feeling like a failure. Wealth did not mean “abundant” living.
In the Bible, there is a story about David and Jonathan. Jonathan was King Saul’s son. He and David were best friends. They actually entered into a “covenant of blood brothers”. That meant if Jonathan needed some food, he could go into David’s house and take some. The covenant also meant that if something were to happen to one of the two men, the remaining “brother” would be obligated to take care of the other’s family.
King Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle on the same day. When word got back to the palace, a servant grabbed Jonathan’s son……named Mephibosheth……and ran out of the city carrying him. They were fleeing for their lives. The servant tripped and fell. Mephibosheth became a cripple as a result of the fall. The servant carried Mephibosheth all the way to a city called “Lodebar”…….a poverty-stricken, desolate area.
Mephibosheth was the grandson of the King, yet he lived almost his entire life in Lodebar, in terrible living conditions.
David became King. And he remembered his covenant with Jonathan. He asked his staff, “Is there anyone left from the house of Saul?” One of his staff members answered, “Yes, Jonathan has a son that’s still alive. But he is crippled in both feet and lives in Lodebar.”
David said, “Go get him and bring him here to the palace.”
Mephibosheth’s life was transformed instantly. That’s the “Good News”.
But think of all the years that he lived in that dirty city of Lodebar. He knew he was royalty. He also knew of the covenant between his father and David. Why didn’t he just go to the palace and say, “King David, I’m Jonathan’s son. I’m here to claim what belongs to me through my father’s covenant with you.”
His self-image kept him in Lodebar. The Bible says, “Mephibosheth bowed his head low and said, “Who am I that you should notice such a dead dog like me?” His image of himself kept him from receiving the privileges that rightfully belonged to him.
Does your self-image have you eating “cheese and crackers?” As a Christian, you are the child of a King.
We’ve all made mistakes. But if we honestly repent and do our best to do the right thing than we no longer have to live with guilt and shame.
You may be “crippled”………physically, spiritually, or emotionally. That does not change the covenant God made with you. You are still a child of the “King”. It brings God no pleasure for you to live in “Lodebar”.
Do you want to make your heavenly Father happy? Then start enjoying His blessings. Put down the “cheese and crackers” and come into the banquet hall. The price has already been paid.
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