Variety Is The Spice Of Life (life is exciting when you try different types of experiences ...)
Interestingly enough I had the opportunity to listen to two very different takes on the subject of variety. The first instance was in reference to a question, which was “what is the biggest challenge for a Christian trying to live a Christian life?” Of all the answers that were given to this question, the one that struck me as odd was that of variety. It was noted that because we have so many choices in this life and things aren’t simpler (apparently like they used to be); we are challenged to live in a Christ like way.
Is it really possible that too many choices are bad for us? Is it true that all this variety is actually confusing and therefore leading us to bad decisions and possibly to a life of misguided consequences? We have all undoubtedly heard the expression, “Moderation in all things, and all things in moderation”. However, this statement was coined in specific reference to gluttony, and not variety per se. We can all agree that gluttony is rampant in our society, greed is gluttony’s cousin and between the two many a man has been ruined (and many a woman too).
Let’s suppose for a moment that variety can be, and usually is, a good thing. The negative connotations are evident as already discussed, so let’s not rehash them. Instead I would like to point to the second time today that I heard an inference to variety and that was in the context of a sermon. What was so eloquently stated is that our God is a God of variety. Look around you, the hundreds of types of dogs for instance. Or look at how many ways we display a rock, from soapstone to granite to diamonds! Variety is not the spice of life, it is life.
Every life you see before you is different; there are not two people who are the same. In the existence of mankind there have never been two of the same people. Certainly there are lots of similarities but no exact duplicates.
Think of all the restaurants in your town. You could probably pick a different one for every night of the week for a month and still not visit them all. How often do you see two of the exact same cars on the road? From ice cream to beer, from house styles to grass types, from music selections to fashion, the varieties are nearly endless.
It is fairly easy to agree that there is a great deal of variety when it comes to nearly every facet of our lives. So let’s go back to an earlier question from another post which was, “what is the biggest challenge for a Christian trying to live a Christian life”. Is variety truly a challenge in the first place? What makes it a challenge? Is it hard to pick out which candy bar you want at the check out line and therefore you live with heightened anxiety for your next trip to get groceries? Surely I jest but let’s be real here.
We have choices today because of variety (that and capitalism). I for one am not interested in a society filled with limited choices. There are few places in my life where choice is not an option, otherwise I love the fact that there are so many options when it comes to where to eat, or buy shoes, or go golfing.
So let’s get to that question lest I digress as I often do. If variety is not a challenge for Christians trying to live a Christian life, shouldn’t we examine what the challenges really are? There are significant challenges and obstacles for Christians today and knowing them is a key for getting through them.
I am sure that anyone reading this could cough up half a dozen major issues that we face in our walk as Christians, but here are two I find most poignant. The first is apathy and the second is the greed.
Apathy is appalling and yet it is ever present. Some areas of the world are worse than others for sure but make no mistake that apathy is something that every Christian will face many times in their journey. Apathy affects not only those in our secular world but Christians themselves.
We live in a world where the enemy is alive and well and working against us at all times. That same enemy is busy trying to convince Christians that the good things we do are never enough and nobody really cares. We find ourselves downtrodden and increasingly uninterested in volunteering and/or being involved in ministry because we don’t feel adequate or that we can actually make a difference. Do not believe it for one second.
Every moment you spend assisting others is cheered by thousands of angels in heaven. God sees it all and is smiling when you beat apathy and the enemy. But apathy is something that takes work,focus on Him and prayer and commitment to overcome.
Greed on the other hand is the overwhelming number one problem facing Christians today. We live in a society that promotes having it all. We are good people so naturally we should not be limited to what this world has to offer, right? God makes it clear in the Bible about where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. He also said to store up treasures in heaven and not here on earth. Another favorite is that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into the gates of heaven.
Greed takes all that is good within us and turns it around. Nothing good comes from greed except possibly lessons of what not to do. Variety has a way of throwing greed a curve ball. Sometimes all these choices that we have lead one to conclude that greed is the only palpable answer. Since there are so many choices we should be greedy in order to take advantage of all of them. But doesn't variety come from God like we talked about above?
Variety is fantastic, but in this world we have to be careful not to be overwhelmed with too many choices. The most important choice we can make with the variety that is presented to us is to ask if we can use what we choose to glorify God with it. When we ask that question we will avoid the apathy that comes with being inundated with too much, and we will avoid the greed that comes from wanting too much.
Our God is a god of variety, and He has given us so many amazing things to choose from, most importantly His Son. When we choose to take advantage of His variety we are opting for some pretty awesome gifts. I for one like the gift of grace.
My life is not mine, and yet it is mine to live for Him. Peace to you all.