I didn’t know August 6 was National Mustard Day. As it turns out, August 6 is also National Fresh Breath Day, National Rootbeer Float Day and National Toe Day. But none of them are celebrated with mustard donuts.
French’s, the mustard company, unveiled this Yahoo finance describe as “a classic glazed donut reinvented with a sweet and savory yellow mustard coating topped with a mustard cake crumble”.
I’m sorry, but none of this remotely appeals to me.
But it is: when a couple in Virginia retired, they sold their house and most of their possessions and now live on cruise ships. They explained that they have a small condo in Florida “so when we get too old to go on a cruise, we have a place to live.” In the meantime, they spend as much time as possible sailing around the world.
As a lifelong cruise fan (Alaska is my favorite), this sounds like a great idea.
This, however, does not work: a company has established the only balloon restaurant in the world. I’m sure the food is great and the views are amazing, but I’m not a fan of heights. When I get on a plane, I try to get an aisle seat where I can read all the time while pretending we’re still on the ground.
“I don’t believe in hell”
Here’s what these stories have in common: they exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that drives so much innovation and progress in human society. I would never have thought of combining mustard and donuts, living full time on a cruise ship, or eating in a hot air balloon. I wouldn’t have thought of almost all the inventions that have improved our lives. But I’m grateful for those who did.
Here, however, is where my gratitude ends: the successful results of human ingenuity inspire us to depend more fully on human ingenuity than we should.
John Milton observed: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make heaven out of hell, hell out of heaven. This is true in a sense, but the spirit cannot change the actual eternal realities of heaven or hell. Unfortunately, lay people are easily fooled into thinking this is possible.
I still remember sharing the gospel with a man who replied, “I don’t believe in hell. In his mind, that settled the matter. Apply his logic to any other reality: “I don’t believe in Australia”, so there is no Australia? I don’t believe in cancer, so I can’t have cancer? Unless something changes, he will persist in denying the existence of hell until he experiences it himself.
“I believe; help my unbelief!
This confusion between belief and reality goes both ways: not only does it cause secular people to deny spiritual realities, but it also causes spiritual people to think that their faith alone can change secular realities.
Jesus said, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20 ). . But the mountain moves, not because of the amount of our faith, but because of its Object.
This was actually our Lord’s point. This is why he promised that if our faith were not larger than the smallest seed common to his culture, God would always respond with his almighty grace. The results of our faith do not depend on us but on the One in whom we trust.
This is wonderful news for those days when it’s hard to trust God. We can say to our Lord, “I believe; help my incredulity! (Mark 9:24), and he will answer our prayer. We can be honest with our doubts and fears, and He will welcome our honesty and respond with love (cf. Isaiah 1:18).
“The Essentials of Christianity”
There is another dimension to our conversation: the more we admit our spiritual poverty, the more we position ourselves to experience God’s abundance.
The first beatitude of Jesus is fundamental to the rest and to the Sermon on the Mount that followed: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrased the text: “You are blessed when you are at your wit’s end. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule” (The message).
Along the same lines, Oswald Chambers Noted“The fellowship of God is made up of men who know their poverty. He can do nothing with the man who thinks he is useful to God. He added: “The main thing in Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we have and the atmosphere produced by this relationship. That’s all God asks us to watch out for, and it’s the one thing that’s continually under attack.
So admit where your faith is weak today and ask God for faith to have faith. Trust the greatest entrepreneur in the universe to act in ways only he can imagine. And know that the more you depend on him, the more you will experience him.
Saint Augustine advised us: “Do not seek to understand that you can believe, but believe that you can understand.
Why do you need to believe in God today?