A few days ago, I received an email from a friend who will be visiting my area soon. He asked if there was anything he could bring me. I said that a jar of peanut butter would be great! Then he asked, “What kind? Crunchy or smooth?” I got the giggles. His question reminded me of a piece I had written a year or so ago about how overwhelming it is to have so many choices in American supermarkets. There are at least 20 kinds of peanut butter – or so I thought: Creamy, Crunchy, Extra Crunchy, Low Sodium, Reduced Fat, Reduced Fat Crunchy, Natural Creamy, Natural Crunchy, to name a few. Just give me a jar of the stuff!
Well, today I did some research. “Jiff” brand has 10 varieties. Walmart has 378 varieties of peanut butter posted on their online site under “grocery” products, as well as being listed under some other product headings. After that I quit.
I figure there must be a spiritual lesson here some place. But it is going to take a lot of digging because the word “peanut” is not in the Bible. I remember reading a book in the 5th grade about George Washington Carver. Funny, the things we remember…and the things we forget. Carver was a scientist, botanist, educator and an inventor. He was famous for his research in and promotion of alternative crops. He developed over a 100 uses for peanuts – that’s why I remember him. It isn’t the abundance of products that impresses me; it's that he learned the secret of utilizing what was at hand.
I have met a few people who are “masters” at using “what’s at hand.” One person, in particular, comes to mind. At the time, she was living in a dreary basement apartment. Most of her belongings were packed away in boxes because of the limited space. Two ladies were due to stop by for a visit at lunchtime. As far as I could tell, she had little or nothing prepared to serve them, but in an hour’s time, she made a soup and a salad with vegetables from her garden. For desert, she made a chocolate pudding “from scratch.” Water goblets and cloth napkins appeared out of nowhere along with “real” old fashioned silverware. The table and savory food were stunning, simple but eloquent, fit for a king. To see this unfold was absolutely amazing! And her guests were delighted!
Back to peanut butter. I am not against having 378 varieties on supermarket shelves, but I think we have lost something along the way, a sense of resourcefulness and faith in God’s provision.
And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).