Sermon "Skill in Your Hand & God in Your Heart"

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip?

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
  Do you prefer mayonnaise or miracle whip? I am a miracle whip man myself. In fact, for most of my childhood, I thought miracle whip was mayonnaise. It was all that I remember having in the house, and all that I remember eating. I even used to eat what I called mayonnaise sandwiches, but it was actually miracle whip I was spreading on that white bread.

It was probably sometime during my teenage years that someone somewhere was making me a sandwich, and asked what I wanted on it. Of course, I asked for mayonnaise, and of course....what I got was mayonnaise. One bite into the sandwich, and I was immediately trying to mask that "what in the world is this?" look that was showing up on my face. It was the funniest tasting sandwich I had ever eaten up to that point, but my momma had taught me that you never complain about food when someone else is nice enough to feed you. So I just ate it and smiled. 

I later learned that it was mayo on that sandwich and not miracle whip. And I also learned that what I had been eating all those years was not mayo, but a sandwich spread that was similar to mayo but sweeter. But even to this day, I still prefer miracle whip, because for all those years my taste buds had been trained to prefer miracle whip.

In the passage here in Proverbs, the literal translation of the Hebrew phrase "train up" means to condition or train the palate. In other words, God is using the notion of training the taste buds to like certain things as a spiritual metaphor. See, all those years, my taste buds where being trained to like miracle whip and not mayo. Or like yours may have been trained to like pie over cake, or sweet tea over lemonade, or McDonald's fries over Burger King's, or whatever it might be. So with that understanding, we can see that the Lord is commanding us as parents, as teachers, as church leaders, as older brothers and sisters, as who ever is in a position to influence a child, to do what we can to train their spiritual taste buds for the things of God. To teach them to appreciate His word. To show them how prayer should be a part of our everyday life. To raise them in church so they can't imagine having a life that's not part of one. To model for them a love for God and a love for His people. Because the Lord promises in this passage that when we do, they will not depart from it when they get older.

Like with me, at this point I have tried all kinds of mayonnaise and all kinds of things that you can spread on a sandwich. But miracle whip will always be my preference, because that's how my parents trained my taste buds. Just like they trained me up to also have a taste for the things of the Lord, and from that I will never depart.

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