6 Keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him,7 because the Lord your God is bringing you to a wonderful land, a land with streams of water, springs, and wells that gush up in the valleys and on the hills; 8 a land of wheat and barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; 9 a land where you will eat food without any shortage—you won’t lack a thing there—a land where stone is hard as iron and where you will mine copper from the hills.10 You will eat, you will be satisfied, and you will bless the Lord your God in the wonderful land that he’s given you (Deuteronomy 8:6-10, Common English Bible).
Make no mistake about it. I am not a farmer. I am not a gardener. I love fresh, homegrown produce. Tomatoes are my favorite. There is nothing quite like a fresh tomato picked from the vine and eating it when it is perfectly ripe. The flavors are wonderful, if of course, you are like me and you like tomatoes.
If you are like my wife and dislike tomatoes you would probably be a fan of my farming abilities. I have attempted, several times, to grow a few different kinds of vegetables. I have particularly tried to grow tomatoes. My plants grow tall. My plants get blooms. My plants do not get tomatoes. And, what is true for tomatoes is equally true for pretty much any kind of produce.
I am pretty happy that I live in an era where I don’t have to grow my own food. Even as recent as 100 years ago, there was a pretty good chance that I would have grown much of my own food. Even if I worked in another field, I would have grown some of my own food.
When I read passages, Moses, or whoever wrote Deuteronomy makes the Promised Land sound like the Israelites would just be able to walk outside and pick their choice of produce from what farmers of a generation or two ago called “volunteer” plants. Of course it wasn’t like that at all. Even with the most fertile ground, one must still plant seeds, tend plants and harvest crops to have food at the end.
Oh no! That would mean I would have been in big trouble since I can’t get my plants to produce a crop. I am in big trouble. I might starve.
If you look at me you would know there is little chance of me starving soon. Still, I would probably be a great deal more limited in what I could eat.
It makes me grateful for grocery stores. Can you imagine what that might look like to the Israelites of our lesson today? They might think this is the Promised Land. And, because the United States can raise so much produce, we literally feed the world. Well, we help feed the world.
When my father was growing up in the 1930’s and 1940’s, his family ate because the grew food. Throughout my life, when my family has needed food, it has been a matter of getting into the car and driving to the grocery store, buying what we needed, then returning home to put the groceries away.
So, because I can work in a career I enjoy and where I have talents, I don’t have to try to scratch out a living working the land, where I clearly do not have talents, I am grateful for grocery stores. Walking into the produce department alone reminds me to be grateful I can shop at a place that has all the produce I would ever need.
It may not taste quite as good as home grown, but it beats eating air by many measures and I am grateful.
Grocery stores are what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today. Write it in your journal and then share it with someone you know, or someone you don’t.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved