Pass the…Mashed Potatoes

Taste and see how good the Lord is!  The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy! (Psalm 34:8, Common English Bible).

This is part 22 in the November Thanksgiving series, “Pass the…” for a listing on the other posts please see the index.

I love potatoes. I would eat potatoes in some form every meal, if I could. Baked, boiled, fried, mixed with other stuff, it doesn’t really matter. I love potatoes. They just taste so good. They are one of those foods that, at least to me, when you taste them, you immediately know why God put them on the planet. To very loosely paraphrase the psalmist, “Taste and see how good the Lord is when you stick a fork load of potatoes in your mouth.” I know, that is not what the scriptures say. I told you, it was a very loose paraphrase.

Like I said, I would eat potatoes every meal, if I could. But, I can’t. Potatoes are loaded with carbohydrates. Carbohydrates turn to sugar in the body and for a diabetic, that isn’t a good thing. When I was told I was diabetic I conducted a little experiment. I found that I could eat a Reece’s Fast-Break candy bar and have less impact on my blood sugar than eating a small serving of potatoes. I am not going to say I never eat potatoes anymore. That would be untrue. What is true, I don’t have them often and they are always in a very small serving. It just isn’t worth running my sugar up that much.

In today’s lesson the psalmist says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” We can’t really taste God of course. And, when we look at the second half of the verse, “The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy” they don’t seem to make much sense when read literally. After all, taking refuge and tasting are two completely different activities and yet the psalmist wrote them together.

When I read this verse I interpret it as saying, “God is good, give God a try. When you truly do you will discover you are truly happy.” Others might think I am wrong in my interpretation but I don’t think so. All we have that is good comes from God. When we are living in God’s realm, we will find real and true happiness.

I like the psalmist’s words because of the analogy of taste. Think about your family Thanksgiving table. I know there are families, or at least family members who are never happy and such can lead to no one being happy. But, for most of us, as we sit around the Thanksgiving table with our family or with our friends, and we partake of so much goodness that God created (our family members may have prepared it but God did the creating), so many things that taste so good, it becomes really easy to look on the faces of all our loved ones and see they are happy. It isn’t a happiness that will last, but those foods that taste so good to us, bring us at least a momentary happiness and joy.

It isn’t when we taste the food we find ultimate happiness and joy. That comes when we “taste” God, when we really give God a try in our lives and we learn that living for God brings us real and permanent happiness and joy. That does not mean that sadness won’t encroach on our lives every now and then. Things happen and a little sadness can be the result. It is just that we don’t live there.

So for me, when I see the mashed potatoes on the Thanksgiving table, when I dig in and taste the goodness of not only the mashed potatoes but all that good and tasty food, it not only brings me some joy and happiness, it also reminds me of the goodness of God. That goodness brings me real and lasting joy and happiness. For that I am thankful. I am thankful not only because the mashed potatoes taste so good. I am eternally thankful that I can taste and see that the Lord is good which brings me real happiness and joy.

So would someone please pass me the mashed potatoes. I want just a little to remind me that I can and do, “Taste and see how good the Lord is.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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