Picky Choosers

by Joanna Pierce on June 19, 2019

Mealtime with my nephews is always interesting to observe. Whether in a highchair or regular seat at the dinner table, each child is given an array of food to consume. On many occasions, the kids don’t eat because they don’t like the cuisine on the plate (or tray) in front of them.

With the child’s refusal to eat, I’ve watched my sisters perform a series of food-removal techniques to coax their children into consuming any nutrients. They begin by removing one entrée item they know their child extremely dislikes (i.e., a vegetable). It was served initially in hopes the child’s palate changed in the last 24-hours, thus, to be ingested as nourishment. But, no such luck.

Bargaining follows: if you eat this, then you don’t have to eat that. As the dinner hour wears on, a game of cherry-picking ensues. The child selects and discards foods, and item after item is removed from their plate. Finally, after ultimately deciding they don’t like anything, all food’s discarded—nothing’s left.

Kids aren’t the only ones who “cherry-pick” their food. I’ll openly admit I only stomach foods I’m fond of and/or will eat around things I don’t particularly like. There’s less (or no) cause for alarm in eliminating some of our natural food, but it becomes a problem when we do this with our spiritual food.

And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth (Jeremiah 36:23, KJV).

In the Old Testament, the Lord gave a direct Word to the prophet Jeremiah concerning Israel. The Word was written on a scroll and soon read in the temple. In hearing the Word, various individuals determined it should be shared with the king. When the time came to read the Word to king Jehoiakim, he enacted his own cherry-picking scheme. As a few lines were read, he’d cut them out of the scroll and cast them into the fire. He did this until the entire scroll (Word of God) had been consumed.

King Jehoiakim was a lot like my nephews. He cherry-picked parts of God’s Word he wanted (and didn’t want) to hear. He discarded what was displeasing to him, destroying them in the fire. When it over, the entire Word of God was engulfed in flames; none of it was left. We cannot allow our food cherry-picking to perpetuate to the Word of God. We don’t have the right to pick-and-choose what we want to hear (or ingest) from God. We need all of it for spiritual growth and nourishment.

When my nephews refuse to eat anything on their plates, in exasperation, my sisters will tell the child, “If you don’t eat, you’ll go hungry.” Ironically, this is exactly what will happen to us if we refuse to eat (receive) God’s Word. We must eat all the Word—even the stuff that’s hard to stomach or doesn’t taste good. If we aren’t sustained on the Bread of Heaven, we’ll become malnourished and die.

If we won’t feast on God’s Word here on earth, we won’t receive it in the next life. If we starve to death on God’s Word, or instead choose to feed on the lustful desires of our flesh, we’ll spend eternity feasting on the latter. Things may taste good momentarily, but they won’t later when we’re in eternal torment.

Jesus, we need to develop a desire to consume the whole Word and eat it daily. We need Your help to discipline ourselves to eat our spiritual vegetables—they will help us grow spiritually and become more like You. Make us aware of what we try to scoot off our plates and throw in the garbage. We’re thankful for every Word You give and our daily Bread. We want to be hungry for it today and every day!