As many of you may know, I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. It seems my body attacks my small intestine when it finds gluten in my system. Over time, the damage results in malabsorption and all sorts of other bad things can happen with that. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. So, I have eliminated those things from my diet and feel amazingly better. I praise God for a treatment which doesn’t involve surgeries or drugs, only a significant yet manageable lifestyle change.
I have always been someone who prided himself in being able to eat anything at least once. I’ve had octopus on a stick, stinky tofu, goat Somali style, and a lot more. Now, I go through the grocery store and entire aisles of food are off limits, many of which were favorites of mine. Why? Why can’t I have my favorite foods? What’s the point of all of this? The obvious answer is that I’ll live longer. But why? Why is it so important to live longer? There are two ways to answer that question. Either I’m doing it for me, or I’m doing it for others.
There are plenty of reasons to do it for me, I just can’t find any of them in the Bible. I want to feel good and be active. Life is beautiful and I just want to soak it in. God put me here, so I might as well stick around for a while. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that, but the Bible paints a different picture. God gives us life to be lived for His truth and in service to others. All our energies, our possessions and our influence are in service to God for the sake of others. We live today so that others’ lives might be lived in truth, and by God’s grace lived in the ultimate truth, Jesus. The true life is lived in humble faith, grateful forgiveness and bold obedience through the blood of Jesus Christ. That’s life worth living.
The selfish life ends where it begins. The servant life goes on and on. Passing by the pasta aisle hurts a lot more if I’m living life for me, because in the end, it’s a wash. I’m limiting a pleasure in life so that I can have a pleasure in life. It ends where it begins. But if never eating wheat again means I can have the energy to humbly serve others for years to come, then I will do so with joy. Strangely enough, it’s far more joy than I ever had eating a steaming pile of spaghetti.