What Am I Grateful for Today… Grocery Stores

Keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him,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; a land of wheat and barley, vines, fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of olive oil and honey; 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


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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