Each year the Methodist church up the street from where we live sells pumpkins. They set out a whole semi-truck load on pallets a few weeks before Halloween. There are hundreds and hundreds of them. The day after Halloween I was driving down the street past their pumpkin “patch” and they had a sign out, “Free Pumpkins”. I thought to myself that they’d better be getting rid of them pretty soon or the Florida heat would have them rotting. After I had driven just a couple of blocks a light bulb went off in my head and I started having “visions” of pumpkin pie & pumpkin bread.
When I arrived home I told Heather about the free pumpkins and asked her if she thought we should get some to can and to freeze. She thought it’d be a good idea so we did some quick research on the internet as to how to preserve the pumpkin through pressure canning and freezing and then we were off to get our free pumpkins. There were a lot of leftover pumpkins and it only took us a few minutes to load up our SUV with 10 fairly large pumpkins, as many as we thought we could manage. The gentleman there told us to please take as many as we wanted. Just one yielded 7 quarts of cubed pumpkin and 2 freezer bags of pureed. That’s a lot of pies and bread from just one free pumpkin that probably would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere.
I was talking to Heather as we worked together in the kitchen processing the orange goodness and shared how at first it didn’t occur to me that the pumpkins were a resource, that they represented food. I was just looking at them as decorations. No doubt many, if not most, of the thousands of cars driving by saw the pumpkins as simply something to put on the porch during Halloween. Fortunately, it finally dawned on me that these were a resource. They were food, and there was quite lot of it here for the taking.
The next morning, waking up early before everyone else, I strolled out to the kitchen to get my coffee going and noticed the 9 more pumpkins that we were going to be working on over the next several days and the 7 quarts we had canned the day before that were still sitting on the counter. It was then that it dawned on me that I think many folks look at the Bible the same way they look at pumpkins. That is, they see it more as a decoration than as a resource, as food for the soul.
Physical nourishment is vital for our bodies, but spiritual nourishment is vital for our souls. When confronted with choosing physical over spiritual nourishment, Jesus chose the spiritual. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ “ (Matthew 4:3-4, NKJV).
How many of us pass over the Bible and feed our souls and minds with the pop-culture media of our society, the equivalent of nutritionally hollow fast-food? It may taste good, but within a short time, we’re hungry again. There is no lasting comfort to be had from filling our minds with the intellectually vapid and spiritually carcinogenic media with which we are constantly bombarded.
It is probably not a sign of a healthy society when many see a truck load of food as mere holiday decorations. It is definitely not a sign of a church that is spiritually healthy when many of its members see the Bible as just a decoration for the coffee table instead of a never ending well of water and endless buffet of food for the soul. It provides wisdom to the mind, comfort for the heart and salvation to the soul.
A lot of work lay ahead for Heather and I in putting up all of that free pumpkin, but that’s how it is with things of true value. It takes work to profit from them, just as it takes the effort of study, meditation and prayer to draw out the priceless treasures from God’s Word.