I watched a video recently from the Smithsonian Channel that was showing how plants have their own version of nerves and electrical impulses (video link posted below). Although this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone since they are living organisms, it still made me stop and think about a few things. Just stay with me for a few moments on this. First of all, after seeing the video, I joked about the fact that this creates a very difficult position for people who don’t eat meat because they claim they don’t want to “kill” something. I am mostly vegetarian for health reasons but it’s always interesting to listen to those who see themselves as more holy, compassionate, enlightened or evolved than others because they claim to be treating all living things as equal. I’ve always said that everything we eat was alive at some point (if you exclude the processed crap that is out there). If you say you refuse to eat anything that has life, then you will most likely starve. Even most dirt contains particles from things that were once living.
Call me a “hippie” if you want, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that the things we eat have given their life for ours, regardless of what it is. We are sustained by consuming plants and/or animals that had to die so we could live. If we stop to think about that truth, it should cause us to be more grateful and respectful toward the things we eat. Eating should be an honorable endeavor. Quite frankly, it should make us a little more humble and a little less arrogant about the life around us. Just because we must eat to survive doesn’t mean we should do it without thought or appreciation for the sacrifice.
This is Easter weekend. People of faith around the world are commemorating the death, burial and resurrection of their Lord and Savior…and I am certainly one of them. As I thought about this whole thing with food, I found a striking similarity for those of us who identify ourselves as “believers.” I have been redeemed and changed by the fact that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. I am forgiven. I am spiritually alive. I am alive because God promised me I am alive. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” And the reason I have everlasting life is because Jesus (who is God Himself) was willing to lay down His life and sacrifice it for mine. He endured the most terribly painful, humiliating and horrific torture and death…and He endured it all for ME. He endured it for YOU. He did it because He loves us with a love that we can’t completely understand. He did it before we loved Him. He gave His life for mine, and just as I should respect and honor the sacrifice of the living things that died so I can eat and be nourished, I should even more so honor and respect the sacrifice the God of the universe made so that I can live eternally.
You see, nothing comes without some kind of sacrifice. There are no free rides in life. Somewhere, somehow, someone or something paid (or will pay) the price. How amazing it is that God knew I had a debt that I could never repay so He humbled Himself and confined Himself to an earthly body so that He could live among mankind and redeem me by taking my place on the cross. He took my beatings. He took the ugliness of the torture and the betrayal of His friends. God, the creator of the universe,who could have called ten thousand angels to kill everyone involved, let them spit on Him for my sake. He allowed them to nail Him to a tree and mock Him as He hung there. And then, when it was time, He said “It is finished,” and dismissed His spirit. They didn’t take His life from Him, He dismissed it Himself. He willingly gave it up…and He did it for me.
But that wasn’t the end. Praise God that wasn’t the end! Because on Easter morning, the stone was rolled away from the tomb and Jesus came out alive! It isn’t just His death that gives me life, it is His resurrection! That is why people of faith around the world celebrate this holiday. That is why we gather in churches across the world with fellow believers and sing praises to the One who didn’t just die for me, but He ROSE for me! He conquered death and hell and as a result, has both the ability and authority to set me free forever! I cannot help but sing out the words to that song…”My chains are gone! I’ve been set free! My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy reigns…unending love, amazing grace.”
So this Easter season, I pray we are all filled with the assurance that we are loved beyond comprehension by the One who has the power to redeem us not only for eternity, but for every day and every moment. I pray we pause to consider His sacrifice and honor it by spending more time living a life filled with genuine love, not judgment, for others. We are all just sinners saved by His grace, and the sooner we realize the only reason we live is because He died, the sooner our arrogance and pride will fade into a humble gratitude for the unspeakable gift He gave.
Click here to watch “Do Plants Respond To Pain?”