Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cucumbers and Credit Cards

After the Children of Israel are led out of Egypt by Moses, there is a very telling line:

We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the
melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick:

But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside
this manna
, before our eyes. Numbers 11:5-6

This passage has always struck me because it is so dang whiny. Here they are, watching the miracle of Manna every day and they are whining!! They long for Egypt, of all places. They were slaves in Egypt--had been for over 400 years. Not only were they slaves, but they were abused in horrible ways; just think of Moses' own story of survival as a hunted baby, for example.

Forget all of that, they said, we want cucumbers.

I realized the other day that my wanting of things that would put me in bondage make me just as silly as those cucumber-wanters. For instance, if there is an item that I want to purchase and I have to borrow money to pay for it, I am, in effect, submitting to the slavery of Egypt for cucumbers.

  • New clothes I'd like, but can't afford: cucumbers
  • Buying prepared foods instead of preparing foods: cucumbers
  • Late fees (including library): cucumbers
  • New movies on a Friday night instead of cheap theater seats and two month old movies: cucumbers
  • Candy, junk food, fast food: cucumbers
  • Driving everywhere instead of taking advantage of my feet: cucumbers
  • Etc, and Etc.

Now, I'm not anti-luxury. I will resist the urge to digress into the deep waters of what good can be done with our excess. That is not the point of this post. I'll just skip ahead to: There is nothing wrong with enjoying nice things (as long as I don't glut myself), but only if I can afford them. Otherwise, they are just cucumbers.

Every once in a while I have to be reminded to be thankful for the manna in my life. The Children of Israel, after all, got pretty comfortable with their daily miracle.

I don't have a lot of patience for those whiny ancients. Yet, I have to be watchful so I don't find myself in bondage . . . all for the want of cucumbers.

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