We are serious about some forms of purity in American Society. A whole department of the federal government, the Food and Drug Administration, is charged with monitoring and protecting the purity of what we eat. But our standards of purity are not always what we might hope. Here are the federal guidelines of purity for a few familiar products:
Apple butter: If the mold count is 12 percent or more, if it averages 4 rodent hairs per 100 grams or more, if it averages 5 or more whole insects (not counting mites, aphids, or scale insects) per 100 grams, the FDA will pull it from the shelves. Otherwise, it will go right onto your English muffins.
Coffee beans: (Caffeine addicts beware!) Coffee beans will get withdrawn from the market if an average of 10 percent or more are insect-infested or if there is one live insect in each of 2 or more immediate containers. (The FDA says people just don’t like getting too many live insects with their coffee beans – one container is okay, but with more than that we draw the line.)
Mushrooms: Mushrooms can’t be sold if there is an average of 20 or more maggots of any size per 15 grams of dried mushrooms.
Fig paste; If there are more than 13 insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples, the FDA ruthlessly tosses the whole batch. (Apparently other insect body parts are tolerable, but we don’t want to be staring at too many insect heads sticking out of the sides of our fig Newton’s.)
Hot Dogs: You don’t want to really know!
One of the beatitudes we’ve been examine in our Sunday AM series is “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”. (Matthew 5:7) What does it mean to be pure in heart? It means unmixed uncontaminated and undivided.
The apostle James calls this being “double minded or living a life of divided loyalties. James says that a double minded person is “like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6)
In the movie City Slickers, Billy Crystal plays a confused, dissatisfied thirty-some-thing character with a vague sense that life is passing him by. Jack Palance, asks Crystal if he would like to know the secret of life. “It’s this,” Palance says, holding up a single finger. “The secret of life is your finger?” asks Crystal. “It’s one thing,” Palance replies. “The secret of life is pursuing one thing.”
Somehow this resonates deeply with Billy Crystal’s character. His life is scattered. He is torn between his obligation to his family and his desire for career advancement; between his need for security and his appetite for excitement. He is divided somehow. His life is about many things, and so, he senses, it is about nothing. So what is that one thing? Jack Palance can’t tell Billy Crystal. He says, “You have to find it for yourself.”
Jack Palance may not know, but Jesus makes it clear. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Put Jesus first, make Him the one thing and everything else will fall into place. Ask Jesus to give you a single, undivided pure heart that is focused on Him. It is the key to a fulfilling and amazing life.
Have a great week!