Perhaps you heard about the woman who gave her husband a call at his work and told him she has good news and bad news.
“I’m sorry honey,” he told her, “I don’t have time to talk, so just give me the good news for now.”
“Well,” she said, “the airbag works.”
All of us have had times when we’ve heard something that caused us to stop what we were doing and listen, no matter how busy we are.
I had such an occasion the other day when I got into my car to drive home after work. When I turned the key, the radio popped on and I heard a captivating final minute of a Christian radio program.
It was a guy talking about how some in America have come to equate their diets with virtue – that somehow eating lean, proportioned meals make them virtuous.
To question such logic, this fellow quoted Jesus: “It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matt. 15:11).
It came to my mind that the people Jesus was talking to at the time – religious zealots known as Pharisees – were fanatical about their diets. They had lots of dietary dos and don’ts. They were scrupulous about what they ate, and they considered themselves more virtuous than others as a result. They looked down on anyone who didn’t follow their dietary rules.
Sadly, I must admit I know folks who are still like that, all these generations later.
Now, mind you, scripture tells us clearly to take proper care of our bodies. Proper diets and exercise are crucial if we’re going to be strong and healthy and able to work and provide for our families. But that brief bit of radio impressed upon me that we have to be very careful not to fall into line with the Pharisees in believing that we are somehow more virtuous because we eat our fruit and vegetables.
The truth is, a Christian’s virtue comes only from Jesus – not from what he or she eats or drinks.
I’m one of those people who chooses country living, and, in my case, that means spending some 2 ½ hours each day sitting in a car getting back and forth to work where I spend the day sitting at a desk.
As a result, I have to be careful about food intake. I try to jog at least 20 miles a week. I spend free time outdoors, hunting and fishing and working on our little farm. Still, I wrestle with weight issues, which sometimes prompts more “virtuous” folks to share their dietary dos and don’ts with me. Perhaps that’s why the radio program caught my ear.
Like the guy whose wife told him the airbag works, I stopped and listened. Perhaps we all should.
Roger Alford offers words of encouragement to residents of America’s heartland. Reach him at [email protected]