As morning coffee time was ending, one of our regulars, Bob Pate, reacted to a request to consider a certain scripture verse with the statement, “That’s food for thought.” I’ve heard that expression all my life. This time I slowed the pace of my mental processing and took a few moments to ‘cogitate’ on the phrase.
Initially, this old dog used a new trick – ‘google’. The internet definition is as follows: “an idea or issue to ponder, as in, “That interesting suggestion of yours has given us food for thought.” The metaphor transfers the idea of digestion from the stomach to the mind. It dates to the late 1800s. So I mulled over the expression – ‘food for thought’.
We live in an affluent culture. Restaurants of all types offer an unimaginable array of food. Grocery stores and specialty markets carry gastronomic delights from across the globe. It seems food is at the very heart of our society. It should be noted that not all of these food options are pleasant to taste, nor are all the foods healthy and safe. Some are highly toxic if not prepared properly. Other foods have a pungent aroma and some are definitely an acquired taste.
From my elementary school health classes, I still remember the Four Basic Food Groups necessary for good health. These are vegetables and fruit, grain foods, milk and milk products, and protein foods. Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) postulates four spiritual food groups that Christians should know:
- Poison – These are the concepts that will derange, degrade, or demoralize you. Pornography, lust, greed are examples of such spiritual poison.
- Junk food – Most of the stuff on television is the mental equivalent of junk food. You’ll find little to no nutritional value in it. Many movies and novels available are empty calories. You can eat junk food, but it will not sustain you.
- Brain food – This is the “good stuff.” It educates you in areas like math, science, history, English, and geography. You need to feed your mind with this classic educational content. It is real brain food. It will help make you a well-rounded person.
- Super food – This is the Bible. God’s Word will teach you what you won’t find anywhere else. It answers fundamental questions like, “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? Is there a purpose to my life? Am I significant?” You’ll only get answers to those questions in the Bible. We need to feast on God’s Word daily.
We must consider what we feed our minds as diligently as what we feed our physically bodies. The adage from the early days of computers is a truism – “Garbage in – Garbage out”. Be careful what you put in your mind because it effects what comes out.
Scripture addresses the issue of spiritual food. Consider, for example, these verses:
- “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
- “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance” (Isaiah 55:2).
- “For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world” (John 6:33-35).
We are all aware of the anacronym WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?). Perhaps a variation of it could also be helpful as we consider ‘food for thought’- WWJT (what would Jesus think?).
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5)
~ Brother Roy