No Generic Equivalent

“O how I love Thy law!
It is my meditation all the day.”
Psalm 119:97

Shopping is high on my list of things I really hate to do! God however, made provision for me by allowing me to marry someone with the spiritual gift of shopping! And being the good spiritual leader of my home that I am, I have encouraged my wife to exercise her spiritual gift throughout our married years.

This past week however, it finally happened — I had no choice but to go shopping. Alone! With my wife recovering from her Caesarean operation and bonding with our new baby and the pantry shelves as bare as old Mother Hubbard’s, the task of shopping for groceries fell to me.

I could have held out another week, but the kids were out of Fruity Crunch cereal and there was no milk in the refrigerator nor a single slice of bread for a good old PBJ sandwich!

“We could order Pizza until you get well enough to go shopping,” I suggested. My wife gazed at me like a physician looking for signs of brain activity as she handed me the grocery list. And so, reluctantly, I walked out the door and embarked on my new adventure.

At the grocery store, I checked over my list, pulled out one of the grocery carts, and made my way into the jungle before me. No sooner had I started down the first aisle when I discovered that I had selected a cart with the left front wheel in need of serious alignment. “Not a good omen,” I thought.

But the real shock came when I began to find the items on the list and look at the prices. Take breakfast cereal for example. My list said Lucky Charms. I never knew that they cost over $4.00 a box! I couldn’t bring myself to even pick up a box. A dilemma.

I literally paced the aisle in front of the cereals for five minutes while debating the stewardship of a $4.00 box of Lucky Charms. “I’ll find a cheaper brand,” I thought. No luck! And then it happened — out of the corner of my eye I saw a price tag that clearly stated $1.77.

“That’s it! A generic equivalent! Praise the Lord,” I thought. “I don’t care if it’s a package of tree bark, it’s only $1.77 and I can always force the kids to eat it!” I placed the nondescript package of cereal in my lame grocery cart and then continued my shopping with a new determination to find as many generic equivalents as possible for the items on my list.

But looking back on it all, I really don’t know how much money I saved or if the generic items I purchased were really any good. And my wife forgave me for deviating so grossly from the items on the grocery list while reminding me that she requested certain brands for a reason. I am however, thankful for the experience. Groceries are more expensive than I realized and while generic equivalents abound, they are not always the best buy.

All this got me to thinking about the Bible. It’s so easy for us to try to find generic equivalents for the Bible. We spend time reading “so and so’s” new book or listening to “what’s his name’s” latest tape or tuning in to hear “isn’t he great” on the radio and never even open our Bibles!

Charles Spurgeon, the great English preacher, said, “It is God’s Word, not man’s comments on God’s Word, that is made powerful with souls.” Spurgeon was right. There is no generic equivalent for the Word of God.

So why not put aside the generic stuff and spend time in the really good stuff! Read your Bible every day so that you can develop the same conviction as the Psalmist, “O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:97, 103).

Don’t settle for generic equivalents. God’s Word is the best buy. It’s fortified with all of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy spiritual life!

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