Not so long ago, in a place not too far away, there lived a boy who would only eat Frubes. In his defence, he was four years old and Frubes are very nice. For those who have never had the delight of eating a Frube, they are long thin packets of yogurt that can be peeled open and sucked out. The particularly adventurous can even try to suck all the yogurt out in one go. Despite these considerations, the Boy's parents were not best impressed with their son's eating habit. "It's a phase; he'll grow out of it." They said to one another, the classic excuse for unusual behaviour in children, an excuse that is generally used until their twentieth birthday.
For six months they did nothing about it and the boy seemed to suffer no ill effects. He asked as many questions as usual, ran about with the same vigour and threw things in the toilet with the same regularity. As his fifth birthday approached his parents decided that enough was enough and they were going to cure him of his attachment to Frubes. Well, they tried everything: chips, cakes, chocolates, waffles, three course dinners, lobster, quail eggs, burgers, in desperation they even tried healthy foods! But it was all to no avail, he shook his young head at it all and went back to happily sucking on Frubes. When they took away his Frubes he stopped eating completely and threw tantrum after tantrum.
With all options exhausted, they took him to the doctors who after much prodding, poking, question answering and no less than three blood tests, pronounced him perfectly able to consume other foodstuffs. His parents shared a horror filled glance and asked what the problem was. Their doctor scratched the back of his head, uncertain whether his conclusion would satisfy them: "Your son is simply too lazy to do anything else. He doesn't want to chew, he doesn't want to lift up a knife and fork, it's all just too much effort."
Soon after he began to look increasing ill. The Frube diet, barely adequate at the age of four, was now starving him to death. He lost his energy, all desire to run about and play, more worryingly, he would go days without asking a single question or throwing a single stuffed toy into the latrine. His parents were beside themselves, as their doctor pointed out, the hospital could feed him through a tube but it still wouldn't solve the underlying problem.
They begged and pleaded with their son to eat more than Frubes, to make the effort, to lift the fork, to eat chewable food but it was all to no avail. Frubes were nice, Frubes were easy, Frubes required no effort, why put in more? His five year old mind reasoned. If Frubes were so nice how could they be making him ill? His logic was sound. His parents were fussing over nothing. But hunger pained him, he would cry often and loud, as his stomach protested that it wanted, needed, more.
For many days his condition deteriorated and his parents were thinking about taking him to hospital, his pale face would stare up at theirs and break their hearts all over again. But he was still deaf to their pleas. Then one day, at the breakfast table, he looked down at the Frube in front of him, as his stomach ached, and suddenly it dawned on him that he wanted so much more. He marched straight up to his dad, took a piece of toast from the plate and began to munch on it. Wonder of wonders, it tasted good, it was well worth the effort of chewing, and after wards his stomach fell silent and for the first time in a long time he felt satisfied!
We are all the boy in this cautionary tale. At least, I know I am and I'm presuming that my experience is not unique. We don't even realise it as we go through each day engaging in Frubish spiritual activity. We read the Bible as though it were a Frube, not going deep but skimming off vague comforts; we pray our Frube prayers, more concerned with our outward circumstances than inward spiritual growth; we go to church but few of the 104 sermons we Frubishly hear a year actually results in any change in deed or increase in spiritual vitality; we do some good but being Frubish by nature it is rarely anything other than the good it is not too hard to do and we think of Christ with increasing irregularity and Frubishness with a lack of depth, appreciation and joy that should, but doesn't, worry us.
Faced with the great banquet of spiritual food that we, by being in Christ, sit at then we content ourselves with sucking on a Frube; swallowing down yogurt instead of bothering to chew solid food. And like the boy in the story we begin to starve to death, spiritually speaking. Our joy decreases, our holiness slides, we atrophy, stagnate and begin to know less of God's abundant grace rather than more, quenching the Spirit's promptings rather than walking in step with Him. Occasionally, we hear our soul cry out in agony in spiritual hunger but our response is only to chug down more Frubes choosing to ignore that quiet voice of conscience that tells us we need better food.
The problem is laziness, spiritual sloth, for solid spiritual food is hard, it does not come naturally to us and requires effort, work and fervent searching. The problem is sin, the way it blinds us and the empty dishes we try and eat from. The problem is that we live below our privileges as Christians far too content eating Frubes rather than realising our lacking.
The solution is a twofold response: repentance and taking the following Bible verse to heart: "I am the Lord your God... Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." (Psalm 81v10). Too often we live as though our spiritual mouth was closed and then we wonder why we feel starved. Open your mouth wide, stop just going after spiritual Frubes and start digging into the seven course banquet of spiritual goodness that is laid in front of us. Ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, ask to hunger more, ask to have Christ sup with you, pray the prayers of a starving man rather than the platitudes of contentment for there is no true contentment in Frube eating.
Don't be the child of God who only ate Frubes.