“Wait! What did I just do?” I asked myself in horror while cooking dinner the other night. I had added spinach to an old favorite recipe—just because it seemed like a creative idea. By choice?!
When I was a child, I refused to eat spinach except under parental duress—even then, I went to great lengths to disguise the taste. You’d find my technique disturbing. As I think of it, I find my technique disturbing. I suspect it’s why all three of my children absolutely refuse to eat mayonnaise. (Not even in potato salad!) The trauma went just that deep, embedding itself into my DNA for my kids to inherit.
It wasn’t until we moved to the Netherlands that I learned one could eat spinach raw—and I discovered that I like it that way. I’ve been okay with spinach in salad ever since. But you have to admit, served raw it’s an entirely different vegetable, part of the crisp lettuce family as opposed to the slimy algae clan.
In Colorado, I discovered spinach quiche and decided that cooked spinach is okay when buried in egg and cheese. But I determined my terms of acceptance would absolutely end there. My children were blessed with a spinach-free life. My husband never complained.
We’re trying to eat healthier foods now, though. Mike, by choice, me, because of a body that’s decided to stop tolerating foods that contain milk or soy. If I had my way, I’d probably serve cheeseburgers with French fries for dinner every night—with chocolate fudge cake for dessert.
Okay, not really. But doesn’t that sound good?
Back to my story. While visiting my mother-in-law last month, Mike found spinach in her freezer and decided to cook some up to serve as a side dish with some baked potatoes. He really liked it. He asked me to get some for him to enjoy in our home from time to time. I did. He’s fixed it for himself a few times and raved about it.
And evidently, thoughts of spinach got stuck in my head. Because as I was cooking dinner the other night, I thought, “This might be really good with some spinach cooked into it.” And just that fast, I added spinach to our perfectly good meal without even thinking about it.*
And it tasted good.
The author of Hebrews used the concept of maturing food tastes to illustrate spiritual growth. In Chapter 5, he writes, “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (verses 12-14).
Just as my tastes had to mature (a lot) before I could accept spinach into my diet, Christians grow into the more difficult Bible passages, the deeper Scriptural truths. We wouldn’t expect preschoolers to read Leviticus or to understand Paul’s letters. We introduce them to the Bible through its stories of history. When introducing adults to the Bible, we teach them the essentials of the faith first: Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, and so on. We have them start with the Book of Luke and let them grow into the complexities of Job and Revelation over time.
So what’s my point? If you haven’t learned to love Deuteronomy just yet, that’s okay. Take the more challenging books in smaller doses. Spend most of your study time on the books you love.
But don’t neglect the more challenging ones. Discipline yourself to ingest them in small doses. As you become more familiar with them, you’ll gradually get to know the people behind them, the overall themes, and, best of all, the God Who was at work when events happened, later as they were recorded, and now as we read of them. If you stick to it, you may decide you’d like to digest Isaiah someday.
And you will discover it’s good.
Father, please encourage us to keep on reading. Open our hearts to the truth of Your Word. Use it to help us grow in faith and in fellowship with You. All of Your Word is good. Amen.
*Click here to find the recipe on my Facebook page.