Monday, April 11, 2016

Too Much of a Good Thing?

The picture attached to this post is of a Navajo burger.  It is two hamburger patties with cheese, green chili and the regular burger fixings, all on top of a piece of fry bread instead of a hamburger bun.  It is what might be called a regional delicacy, something I had never tasted before we moved to New Mexico, and absolutely delicious.  About noon on Saturday we stopped at a place called the Amigo Café, in Kayenta, AZ, and I ordered one for lunch.

It's a big burger, with a whole lot of calories, probably due to the fact that the bun is a piece of bread dough that is deep-fat fried.  It is much larger than what I might ordinarily eat for lunch and if a particular good friend, who is a dietitian, analyzed it, I expect that he would conclude that by itself it exceeds what my body ordinarily needs for an entire day.

But Saturday was not an ordinary day, at least not in the morning.  I ran a marathon in Kayenta that morning.  26.2 miles of running, and afterwards my body needed to refuel.  We had visited the Amigo Café last year and I'll admit that in returning again this year I was primarily motivated by the run, and secondarily I was looking forward to the post-race Navajo burger.

An unexpected thing happened while I was eating my lunch.  I had eaten perhaps 80% of it and I came to the conclusion that I was full.  Really full.  I could have finished the rest, but at the expense of putting much more into my stomach than was prudent.  The long-anticipate Navajo burger was very good, but I was on the edge of having far too much of a good thing, and so I stopped. 

There are all kinds of things that are good and that we enjoy at different times.  I suspect the feeling is nearly universal that at one time or another we have had the experience of over-indulging that good thing.  Then, at best, we may have some remorse and the intention to do better next time.  And at worst…well that can vary according to the particular thing, and in some cases the worst can be very bad indeed, with the consequences of our choices affecting other people as well.

But is there anything in which it may not be possible to have too much of a good thing?  Is there any good thing in which we can turn to time and again and not be concerned about over-indulging?  There well may be.  It is what a dear friend has often called the Breath of Life, more commonly known as prayer.

Just this morning I happened to read from a British preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who wrote, "Above all-and this I regard as most important of all-always respond to every impulse to pray….Where does it comes from? It is the work of the Holy Spirit."[1]  Lloyd-Jones was writing in the context of giving guidance to preachers in their preparation, but what he writes there is really universal wisdom concerning prayer.  All prompting to pray ultimately comes from God, and so we can hardly go wrong in responding to God at those moments.

In a world where there are so many things, good things, that we can over-indulge in to our own detriment, it is good to remember that God gives us a very good thing, prayer, and then He Himself prompts us to turn towards Him in it. 

May you hear His Spirit call you often, and may you joyfully respond.  Amen.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Lloyd-Jones, Martyn, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971) 170.

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