Perhaps you caught the news item about Scott Nash, founder of MOM’s Organic Market. Scott ate ‘expired’ food for a year demonstrating that expiration dates are practically meaningless. It all began with a six-month past due container of yogurt and grew to a year-long experiment where Scott ate only foods which had passed their labelled “expiry.” Scott suffered no ill effects from this whatsoever.
Our paranoia with expiry dates has grown to ridiculous extremes. Consider for example the container of sea salt which boasts “Formed by the primal sea more than 250 million years ago.” Beneath which is an expiry stamp dated just a few months ahead. Scott comments, “Just my luck, 250 million year old sea salt and it expires next year!” Check out Scott’s webpage here.
Many terms are used on food labels but two with which you should become familiar are “Use by” and “Best before.”
“Use by” indicates food safety. The food is not safe to eat even if it looks and smells fine.
“Best before” indicates food quality. The food is still safe to eat but it may lack in flavour or texture.
Ancient wine, honey, salt and spices have been found by archaeologists still in edible condition. But this past Sunday Elder Don Longworth alluded to one Biblical food which will never be unearthed. In fact this food lasted only the duration of one day, and it teaches us a valuable lesson about “knowing God.”
I’m referring of course to the miraculous “manna” God sent His people as they wandered in the wilderness. We first read about this stuff in Exodus 16. Verses 13-14 & 31 describe it like this:
…in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. …It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
The people had never been nourished by anything like this before, “What is it?” they said to each other (v.15). In fact, that’s what the word “manna” means: “What is it?” It was the miraculous food that God had provided, but it had to be gathered daily. The stuff stunk and bred maggots by the next morning – except on the day before the Sabbath, the day of rest, but that’s another story.
In John 6 Jesus announced “It is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (vs. 32-34). What He said next blew them away! He said, “I am the bread of life.” (v.35).
You see, the whole “manna in the wilderness” thing was meant to teach us* that we must feed on Jesus and feed on Him daily if we truly want to know God.
As Don reminded us on Sunday, it was Paul’s daily ambition (and must be ours as well) “to know Christ… to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death… attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:10,11).
“I am the bread of life,” said Jesus. “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (vs. 48-51).
*see 1 Cor. 10