Read Mark 8:31-38
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” (Luke 14:27-28)
As a plant-strong person who has consciously made the choice to abstain from eating any and all animal-derived foods, I must say that my health has swung back in full force. My type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression have all gone away. With that said, there are a few consequences to being a vegan.
For one, the food I buy is more expensive, especially since I try to buy local and organic. But that doesn’t bother me too much because the cost is offset by my not buying expensive meats and not having to visit my doctor nearly as much as I used to. The truth be told, most of the “consequences” aren’t really consequences in the end because who can put a “price” on our health? But one issue that has certainly been the most challenging has been the issue of eating out.
My family and I have always enjoyed going out as a family and eating; however, as a vegan in NJ, there are very few places that I can go to eat and have options to choose from. Sure, almost everywhere has a salad that I can have tweaked into a vegan salad (most salads around here seem to have meat, dairy and egg thrown on it); yet, to find a place that has an actual menu with vegan options on it near impossible.
While I have learned to accept that and have adjusted to eating out less and/or being okay with having the same basic garden salad everywhere I go, many people would see this hurdle as being to large to surmount. Add that on top of the fact that every meal I eat requires me to cook things from scratch to make sure I know what is going in my food and you have a real stumbling block to selling the vegan lifestyle to most people.
This is, in part, because most people (and I certainly am one of them) are seeking convenience. We want to lose weight, look great and feel healthy so long as it doesn’t inconvenience us or come a too high a cost. This culture is not just bred in the world of dining; rather, the culture of convenience has crept into every aspect of our lives, especially in our spirituality. We want God to love us, forgive us, and bless us so long as it doesn’t cost us too much and so long as our lives and lifestyles aren’t inconvenienced and/or changed.
Therein lies the problem. Jesus did not come to nurture a culture of convenience. Every ounce of his message was one that people would find terribly inconvenient. It is not convenient for us to devote ourselves to God. It is not convenient to love unconditionally, forgive incessantly, and serve others limitlessly. It is not convenient for us to love our enemies and to honor those who disagree with us.
But Christ never promised us convenience. In reality, the things that are convenient for us are often not healthy. Rather than convenience, we should be seeking out what is right. If we are to follow Christ, if we are to live into the image of God, the very image we were all created in, then we are to forsake the culture of convenience do what we know we ought to do, regardless of the cost. Let us drop convenience and pick up the spirit of Christ…the spirit of God’s hope, healing and wholeness. Then we will not only be blessed, but we will also be a blessing.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
There is no profit in selling out to convenience.
Lord, teach me to value the narrow path over the wide and easy one, for it is on the narrow path that I come face to face with you. Amen.