I’ll keep this short. Maybe.

When I was pregnant with and shortly after the eldest child was born, I decided we needed to eat “right.” Now, to me at this time, it meant minimizing any and all meat. Have you seen pictures of us? Think on that for a minute. “…it meant minimizing any and all meat.”

So, I started using tofu and other soy products in a lot of dishes. In our eggrolls (which I make by hand), in our lasagna (which I make from scratch), in our soups, our salads, our… you get the picture. I wasn’t thinking about the BIG picture, though, and how there was likely an effect on the female reproductive system when it was manipulated by so many plant estrogens. I didn’t make that link until a friend miscarried several times. But I digress…

So, I was making a lot of soy-inclusive dishes. OKAY. I have to digress again. “Soy-inclusive”? Wow. I was a liberal once upon a time. What is it Husband occassionally says? You can take the woman out of the liberal, but not the liberal out of the woman? Anyways, where was I? Oh. Yeah.

I was making a lot of dishes with soy. And then there were hot dogs. And this was in the days before Hebrew Nationals (which are still questionable, but they’ve been blessed so I’m good) were on the local market. So I bought vegetarian hot dogs. And attempted to make pigs in blankets with said vegetarian hot dogs. Well, that in and of itself was not a bad thing.

However. I had failed to recall the line in our vows that went something like, “..and to only feed true meat products where only true meat products will do.”

Husband had been very tolerant, and even impressed at times, with the many dishes in which I had substituted some form of soy, usually tofu and never TVP, for a meat. But these dogs tasted a bit off. And he mentioned such to which I proudly boasted, “No, they’re not meat. They’re made with Irish moss.” My pronouncement did not go over so well. Dinner was abruptly ended and a fast food meal purchased in its place and I was sulking in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes because I didn’t get my way.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith.

Romans 3:27 (NKJV)

Yes, that passage is referencing salvation. But that’s what I was trying to do! Save our family from ill health through soy. How short-sighted was I? I had gotten too big for my britches. Husband had been patient and understanding while I manipulated our diets. And I pushed it too far. I took advantage. You can take the man with the Southern palate out of the South, but you can’t take the Southern palate out of the man.

For I was hungry and you gave me food…

Matthew 25:35a

And so, a funny thing happened on the way to Vegetarian. Reading the rest of that passage in Matthew, the followers of Christ asked when was He hungry that they fed him? Gave Him water? Clothed Him? Visited Him? And Jesus answered

Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.

Matthew 25:40 (NKJV)

How did I get to the value of the least of us from a trip on the road to Vegetarian? God’s children can’t be seen by wearing a Jesus pin or waving the Jesus flag or even by standing at the pulpit and reciting some scripture, even when it’s the scripture printed in red.  Salvation is not based on works. God’s children are seen by how they treat the “least of these My brethren.” 

As Autumn moves in and the food pantry requests increase, think before you give. We are all God’s children whether we welcome and ask Jesus into our hearts or not. If you don’t want to eat the year-past-best-by-date can of mushrooms on your pantry shelf, why should you give it someone else in His name?

Something to think on…