I had spoken at one of our churches on a Sunday morning, and after the service as I was leaving to go home one of the staff members asked if I had time to have lunch with him. I told him I would love to, but some of my family were waiting on me to have lunch with them and I told them that I would be coming back. He understood and I walked on toward the door to leave. One of the men of the church was there at the door and said, “You ought to go with him and let him feed you. He’d probably give you a mayonnaise sandwich.” I said, “Well, that would be alright, but I do have to get on.”
As I walked away it hit me that I had not thought about a mayonnaise sandwich in decades. I thought about how many mayonnaise sandwiches I have probably eaten in my life. I recall my childhood days and coming home from school where my mother would often take two pieces of bread, slap some mayonnaise on there, and give them to us to eat for a snack after school. Honestly, I do not ever remember craving a mayonnaise sandwich. The older I got the less bread I felt I needed to be consuming, and I sure didn’t want to put a coat of mayonnaise on the bread and eat that by itself.
It did occur to me that I didn’t fully understand that when I was growing up we didn’t have a slice of bologna or ham or something else to make it more palatable. We didn’t even have a tomato to put on there, and so about the only thing my mom could fix for some hungry boys involved her ingenuity in coming up with mayonnaise sandwiches. I remember them tasting pretty good, and I realized that they were probably provided for us as filler until she could get supper prepared in a few hours.
It is interesting that the Apostle Paul discusses our spiritual appetites and eating habits in relation to our growth points as we mature in the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, he tells the Corinthians he gave them milk of the Word but was unable to give them the meat of the Word because they had not grown to the place where they could ingest it and enjoy it and digest it. We start out, all of us, taking milk as our nourishment as babes, and at some point along the way we move to take in the stronger things that will make for a healthier body. Paul says in this passage that we do the same thing spiritually.
Paul’s inference is that the folks at Corinth should be growing up and becoming stronger and accepting meat in the portions that God has for them, and he points out that was not the case. They were still living on the milk provided to spiritual babies. It is true that our needs and appetites enlarge and change physically, and milk though it remains good is not all we need in order to spiritually grow and be healthy. Both physically and spiritually, we need additional nourishment that will fuel us as we work to make our bodies grow stronger.
I look back and realize that it is true that mayonnaise sandwiches will help us to get along in life. They will keep you from deep hunger pangs and maybe provide some nourishment to keep you going, but whether we like them or not there is a large array of vegetables, fruits, grains, and meats that will help, too, and that we may want to add to our menu. That includes some items at which we just turn our noses up but might actually be good for us.
Even now, at whatever age or stage your maturity may be, it is probably good to evaluate your eating habits and if you are trying to live on a baby’s serving of milk and a mayonnaise sandwich, you may need to think about adding more diverse foods to help fuel your body in order to be at your best. Your spiritual body is the same in that you need good, healthy spiritual foods to ingest. Just some quick pointers from the Apostle Paul that come from his looking at the meals taken in by the Corinthians.
n God provides for all our needs at every age and stage, every step and stop of our spiritual lives — milk early on, and then meat and whatever else is needed.
n We need to allow God to add to our spiritual meals. We will be stronger and healthier for it and yet many of us, like we do with physical food, resist and maybe even reject some things that God is trying to bring to our lives and bring about a healthier being in us.
n We need to enjoy what we do have that has been provided for us by the Lord, and not to look down upon others for what they don’t eat or in some cases don’t even have.
Ever since the incident where I was leaving the church and the guy indicated that I ought to go with him and have a mayonnaise sandwich, I have tried to get to the place where I might even stop and take a piece of bread and put some mayonnaise on it and relive when I thought those were so good. So far I have not done that, but I’ve found that every day God in His wonderful mercy and grace and abundance has provided for me good things to eat to help me live and grow and enjoy the nourishment He provides so that I can love and serve Him.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.