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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taking the "No Thank You" Bite!

“Taste and see that the Lord is good;" Psalm 34:8a NIV

Have you ever noticed that children do not like to try new foods? Is it the fear of the unknown? What if it tastes yucky? What if it’s bitter, hard to chew and swallow? Sometimes they reject a new food simply because they don’t like the way it looks.

One evening as my daughter was preparing dinner she was making coleslaw. My four year old grandson, Joshua, says, “What’s that?” My daughter explains that it is delicious coleslaw. Joshua doesn’t hesitate for even a moment as he replies, “None of that will be coming to my plate!”

Both my son-in-law, Todd, and daughter, Amy, have done an amazing job teaching both of our grandchildren to say “no thank you.” In fact when it comes to food the children are required to taste an unfamiliar food before they say no. They call it the “no thank you bite.” Often the children will taste the bite and much to their surprise find that they actually like what they have just tasted. Other times they taste the new food and simply shake their head and say, “no thank you.” At that point they are not required to eat more unless they choose to do so. I have also observed that in this ritual the grandchildren have sometimes taken the “no thank you bite” and liked it yet they still choose not to take more because they wanted to eat the more familiar things on their plate. In my granddaughter Abigail’s case she wants to make sure that she reserves room for the “sweet treat” at the end of the meal because this is her entire reason for eating food in the first place!

It is occurring to me today that these conversations are very much like the conversations that I have with God. If I don’t speak the words, I think them in my heart. Many times I have worried about what might happen in the future and I say, "No thank you God, none of that will be coming to my plate!” Sometimes tragedy strikes and I scream through my tears, “No thank you God! I don’t want this!” The bite of life that I have just been handed is indeed bitter, tough and hard to chew. It is more than I feel I can swallow. For sure I don’t like the looks of it and without a doubt I would much rather have a sweet treat! In my distaste for the situation at hand I ask God, “What was wrong with serving me the familiar things that I love? Things were going so good and now this! No thank you God, I do not need this nor do I want this in my life.”

Could it be that all of God’s bites are not distasteful? I am sure that God provides many opportunities for me every day to “taste and see that he is good.” Unfortunately, we are a generation that runs to and from activities, we perform our obligations, we race to work, and then come home to our responsibilities. Sometimes we are only eating “fast food” bites of God’s love, grace and blessings. These bites are certainly nourishing and they satisfy our hunger for the moment.

If I continue on this fast track and never find time to taste all that God has for me, what I am really doing is rejecting God and refusing to take a “no thank you bite.” Consequently, if I continue to refuse to taste what God has for me I will never experience the delicious taste of his wisdom, peace and joy. I have found that tasting of God requires me to sit down to a meal of his Word and savor each and every morsel that he has placed on my plate.

Could it be that God actually has something really delicious for my taste buds to enjoy? Could it be that I am saying just like my grandchildren, “no thank you?” Unlike parents, God doesn’t require me to “taste and see that he is good.” No, I can choose daily to say no to his “no thank you bites,” even though some of them have the potential of being as sweet as chocolate cake or banana cream pie! I believe that most of life is both sweet and savory. I know that my salty tears can be offset with God’s sweet treats if I allow him to provide the spiritual food that I so desperately need.

I know that down deep in the pit of my stomach, God wants me to stop rejecting his “no thank you bites.” The sweet treat bites are offered to me because he loves me. The bitter bites are also allowed because he loves me! I must remember that it is through my brokenness that God develops my character and that is indeed a good thing! All that God lovingly asks of me is for me to finish the meal, regardless of what is on my plate and when I do the “sweet treats” are sure to follow.

Bitter bites in life come our way. The bite remains even if we reject what has been served us on our plate. We can choose to push away God’s help. We can choose anger over acceptance. The fact is that bite will remain until God takes it away. No, I don’t want those bites either, but God seems to lace all that is bad in our life with the sweetness of his sustaining love.

I am learning to anticipate with wild anticipation the delicious tray of pastries that God will soon pass in front of me. When that day comes God will allow me to eat all that I can hold and then stuff in a little more. Until then I must not push God away and say that, “none of this will be coming to my plate.” The greatest joy of all for me will be my final meal invitation. It will be a meal that I will eat with Jesus in heaven at the “Wedding Super of the Lamb.” “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” Revelation 19:9 NIV We will all be invited to this meal if we belong to him! Our reward waits for us in heaven. In heaven we will be rewarded because we have trusted God and invited his precious Holy Spirit to help us overcome all of life’s “no thank you bites”.


Have you experienced a time when you have said, “None of that will be coming to my plate?”

Are you currently eating a distasteful bite?

Are you pushing the “no thank you bite” away?”

Do you think if you willingly taste the bite God will help you eat this bitter bite and while doing so also provide you with some bites of his sweetness as well?

What are some of life's bites that you have tasted that were sweet and left you wanting more?


Dear God,

Help me not to fear the future. I know for sure that I will experience difficult trials of life that I do not welcome. I am so thankful that you do not expect me to welcome those times. Your Son did not welcome his death on the cross but he did accept that it was necessary. His desire was to do your will at all costs and because of that obedience you have seated him at your right hand and given him glory and honor. Yes, the agonizing tears of Gethsemane mixed with the sweetness of heavenly reward. Help me Lord that as I come to each difficulty in my life that I will be able to accept tasting all of your “bites”, the bitter and the sweet. Write on my heart the verse, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Lord you are good not just part of the time but you are good in all times.

In Your Son’s Name I Pray. Amen.