Devotion in Motion: On dried fruit and moderation

¶ Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, Lest you be filled with it and vomit.  Proverbs 25:16 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

Today in the elementary school cafeteria, one of the menu choices was a little plastic cup of dried fruit. I always pick up one of these to eat with my lunch whenever I get the chance. Something I’ve noticed, though, is that nobody else ever picks one up. I’m always the only person in the whole lunchroom eating the little chunks of dried cranberries, raisins and dates. I don’t think the kids have any idea what the stuff is. (Truth be told, the mixture does look a bit like something you might dip out of a litter box.) Maybe more kids would take the little cups of dried fruit if their teachers showed a Powerpoint presentation about the virtues of the raisin and date industry, and the lunchroom ladies put up a big sign that said “DRIED FRUIT HERE.”

I don’t know many people who like dried fruit. I like it, but, then again, I was born without a sense of smell. The next time you read through the Bible, take notice that the people in the Scriptures were very different from us when it came to raisins and dates. They loved them, and they considered them a delicacy — perhaps because cane sugar hadn’t been invented yet. Without a doubt, if Moses had had a steady supply of M&M’s and Skittles, he would have thrown his dates and raisins behind one of the pyramids when nobody was looking.

After lunch today, I was curious about the origin of government-sanctioned dried fruit so I went to ask one of the lunchroom ladies. I asked her if it came shipped in 50-pound cans or in 55-gallon drums. She said it actually came packaged in 10-pound plastic bags. I tried to exhort her not to be discouraged that not many kids chose the little plastic cups of dried fruit. “I like it a lot” I said. “Besides, it’s probably just as well that the kids don’t eat it. It’s awfully sweet. If they ate the whole serving. they’d probably go into insulin shock. I mainly eat the dried cranberries and raisins and just a few of the dates. And if they finished the whole three tablespoons, they might get a stomachache. It’s kind of like eating prunes on steroids.”

In dried fruit (and many, many other things in life) moderation is the best practice. Today’s Scripture verse (at the top) uses honey as an example of how too much of a good thing can make you very sick. My father always quoted the adage, “Moderation is the key” and his life was very productive and balanced — something I’m always striving to imitate. This week, let’s ask the Lord to help us have the right priorities as we strive to do all that is pleasing to Him. Perhaps St. Paul says it best: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Phillipians 5:4, KJV)

Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 26 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days he works at a public school.)  He and his lovely wife, Susan, and his sons, Spencer (age 20) and Seth (age 17) live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the folks prefer to eat fresh peaches.) He would love to hear from you in an email sent to