Deceptive Food

Recently I was shopping at a food store, and I walked in and discovered some juicy looking peaches on sale, for $2.99 a basket. I looked around, and, quite naturally, wanted to find the “best basket” to buy. My “criterion” for finding the “best basket” was, of course, the number of peaches that could be found in the basket! The quality of all of them looked to be good — I didn’t question that! But what I did question was, “Which of these baskets is … the best ‘deal’?” Ah, the old “deal” syndrome! Watch out when you start having thoughts like that! The flesh can easily get in the way!

Think, for a moment, of many people who have been trapped by “good deals”. Let’s take, for example, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus. He did so for thirty pieces of silver. To him, that was not only a “good deal,” it was an “awesome deal”, a “sure win,” a “best bet”. In the end, he got his reward: he hung himself, falling headlong, with his bowels gushing out, as we read in Matthew 27:5 and Acts 1:18. So good deals are not always good deals in the end!

The Bibles says, “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17). This passage is especially “dear” to my heart as I write these words, because of how the story of the peaches went in my particular case. True to my “earthly/natural” (i.e. not godly) inclinations, I discovered one particular basket of peaches that looked “too good to be true” — it was a real (fleshly) “eye-catcher” to be sure, and had, it appeared, about three peaches more than all of the other baskets. “Hum …” I thought to myself rather selfishly, “this basket does appear to be the best basket to buy!” And at that, I picked up the overflowing basket and put it in my shopping cart.

But the thought struck me, “Maybe this basket is just a little too full. I mean, all of the other baskets are small compared to this one. What might seem the right thing to do, the unselfish thing to do, would be to redistribute the three extra peaches to a number of baskets that are ‘deficient’ in peaches.” But, ah, no, … I tried to push that rather ‘nasty and obscene’ (to the flesh) thought out of my mind. Surely I couldn’t do such a nice thing as this … these were *my* peaches, and *I* found them! I carried on proudly, buying some more things, and eventually making my way towards the checkout counter where I was to pay for all of this stuff.

At the checkout counter, lo and behold the person behind me had bought a basket of peaches as well. But they weren’t nearly as full as mine were! In fact, I would say they looked a little deficient, compared with mine! I would say that if I was to be true to myself, and to God, that at least *one* of mine deserved to go into that basket! I looked at those peaches and thoughts began to invade my thinking once again, “Your peaches are too full … hers are too little!”

I paid for the peaches, and then … not content with the conviction that was coming upon me nor the potential judgment that this woman might justifiably “lace” me with in her prayers, I picked up one of my “extra” peaches and passed it to the checkout person to pass on to her. “Here,” I said to the checkout person, “I … seem to have a lot of peaches here …. I mean … well …. that’s the way the basket was when I picked it up …. REALLY!” Argh! I didn’t want to feel judged, but God’s spotlight was upon me and I felt the guilt that I deserved to feel.

Even at that, the “pain” of the judgement wouldn’t leave me. After paying, I began to wheel my cart towards the door and the following words came clearly to me,

“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17)

In fact, they seemed to come at me TWO TIMES … ONCE FOR EACH OF THE TWO EXTRA PEACHES THAT I STILL HAD IN THE BASKET. Ouch! I was beginning to feel a little less easy now about my two extra peaches still sitting in the basket. I needed to act fast, if I was going to avoid being judged by the Lord! Knowing that I could not escape the Lord’s spotlight, I headed straight for the courtesy/service desk to make my peace. (I had had enough talking with the other lady and knew that I needed to bring this before someone who dealt with returns.)

The lady was gone, but I had time to wait. I didn’t want to leave that store in such a state. I needed to make my peace with the Lord, or else he would bring the proverb to fullfillment, and that would not be a pleasant experience!

“Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17)

It was my choice: I could choose to walk out of that store and eat those two extra peaches and end up with a “mouth full of gravel,” or, I could relinquish my hold on those two peaches, and end up with nothing but pure joy the rest of the evening. Which one would it be? My choice was clear! I had learned before that the Lord can be very strict when judging his people! He does not tolerate foolishness of the sort that I had begun to engage in. Grace was on my side … for now. “I had better make my peace with the Lord while I still can,” I thought to myself. “Now’s the time … when I still feel his strong and sweet presence.”

Eventually the lady returned from where she had been and I explained to her that I wanted to return two peaches to the store because I had “taken too many”. The lady said, “You are very honest and I think you should keep them on account of your being so honest,” but that would have been a tragic mistake on my part, letting Satan pass back to me the curse that I needed to get rid of! I thought for a moment, not wanting to grieve the Lord in the process (by acting too quickly and grieving his spirit) and so I did not answer her too quickly, wondering if it was the Lord … or Satan … who was trying to pass back those peaches to me, when in fact, I should have never accepted such a full basket in the first place.

After explaining to the lady that I did not overfill the basket but rather just picked up the basket that was the fullest, she replied by saying, “Well, probably someone else overfilled the basked but felt too guilty to go ahead with it and so just left the basket there!” That sealed my decision! I had to return those two peaches, even if the lady wanted to “reward” me for “being so honest” (as she said). I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the right words to say to her, “Well, I will not lose anything if I give these peaches back to you, but I may lose a lot if I don’t give these two peaches back to you!” And at that, I handed the two peaches back to the lady, and she exclaimed, “Well, I think you’re the first person to ever give back food like this,” to which I didn’t reply too much, but was gracious enough to say, “Thank you,” to her, and wish her a very blessed day … all, of course, in the power of the Holy Spirit, because … well … when you do things God’s way … God keeps filling you with his awesome presence … EVERY SINGLE STEP OF THE WAY … PRAISE GOD!

“For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” (Psalm 32:6)