14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:14-15 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
A friend of mine used to work in a pie factory. The factory was for a famous company, a brand you would be familiar with. He said that every day they made thousands of pies. Half of the pies they put in “name brand” boxes and the other half they put in “store brand” boxes. The pies were identical. The only difference was the packaging.
I do a lot of the grocery shopping for the Cash household. We have a new grocery store in our little town that sells a lot of generics, and I’m conducting scientific research. Every week I buy a “name brand” item and also the “store brand” item that is supposed to be the equivalent. Then I bring both of them home and do a side-by-side examination and taste-test. (Sometimes Seth helps me.) Many times the products are exactly the same; they even have the same “lot number” on the package, which indicates they came off the same assembly line.
If the items are truly identical, I have permission from my wife to buy the generic from now on. But, if the generic is inferior, I don’t buy it any more. Also (as punishment for being cheap) I end up having to eat the inferior product by myself. That doesn’t bother me too much because I was born without a sense of smell.
I’ve had a lot of success in doing this, and our grocery bill is steadily going down. But I’ve noticed a few things. It seems to me that there is a rule that if you make generic soup, the can it comes in has to have an ugly label. Also, it appears that there’s a federal regulation that says that if you make generic breakfast cereal, you have to name it something kind of off-the-wall. My favorite store brand cereal is called “Live Life 100%.” (I think it’s a knock-off of “Life” cereal.) I really like “Live Life 100%” cereal. Honestly, I’m in the process of finishing my 3rd box of it.
Not only is “Live Life 100%” a great cereal, I also think it’s a great sentiment. I truly do want to live my life one-hundred-percent, don’t you? “Living Life 100%” would be a great way to please the Lord. And, as a bonus, you’d probably have a great feeling at the end of the day.
But what exactly does it mean to “Live Life 100%”? I’m pretty sure that a lot of people in our culture would equate “100% Living” with “being wired and hyperactive all the time.” That’s a dangerous belief. Being “manic” is not a way of life that ends well. After all, cocaine addicts are awake, alert, and busy, but I’m sure this is not life as God intends it to be.
Today’s Scripture text (at the top) is a good one. It helps us to understand what “100% Living” might be for those of us who call ourselves Christians. Clearly, we’re not called to go “full blast” all the time. The Bible says we’re called to rejoice with those who rejoice, but to mourn with those who mourn. Our mission is “Live Life 100%” by striving to embrace every opportunity, responding to every situation appropriately, as we imitate the life of our Saviour. No doubt we will have a million different emotions and feelings as we follow the footprints of Jesus.
So, eat a breakfast of “Live Life 100%” this week. And when you get through, you can probably wash your dishes with “Joy.” 😉
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the parsonage cats say that the store brand canned food is really the same as “9 Lives.”) Their kids include Spencer (age 24), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.