Between the ages of two and eight, my middle son David, limited his diet to peanut butter and jam sandwiches plus an apple now and then. Trying to convince David to try anything else meant inciting total war between David and his dad. And when we accepted a dinner invitation, our childless friends were insulted when young David turned up his nose at their delicious roast beef dinner. Totally frustrated, I asked my doctor for methods of varying David’s diet. The doctor replied, “if he eats peanut butter, bread, apples and drinks milk, he’ll be fine. If you’re worried give him a daily vitamin and let it rest.” Grateful, for the peace this philosophy brought to our home, we accepted David’s diet choices. Today, as a vegetarian his diet is still different from mine.
I think sometimes many of us think our way of practicing our faith, is the only way that a person can live a spiritually healthy life. I believe Jesus offers us much the same message as our doctor. If you believe in God, and live with love and respect for your neighbour and yourself, you are receiving the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith. Sure, there is lots of variety out there. Whether you kneel, stand, sit, or lie down to pray is not important. Just remember to pray. Whether you gather together with others or worship on your own in the great outdoors, the important thing is to offer God your gratitude and praise for the abundance you enjoy. Worshipping alone may mean you miss out on the support, the learning and the fellowship of church membership but you’ll get by, and you can always take the odd vitamin shot of communal faith at Christmas and Easter.
Rather than trying to argue people into your way of believing, try looking for the staples, the bread and peanut butter of faith that a person does have and give thanks for those blessings.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22: 36-40