Birthday Bark

Some signs are impossible to ignore. My birthday is in January. New Year’s resolutions happen in January. I set goals for my health this year that include eating more protein. Then, from an individual online, I found four boxes of a dozen protein bars on super-sale flavored “birthday cake”. The bat symbol is more ambiguous.  Sign received.  

I know what you’re thinking, “Who in the world buys food from a second-hand, non-retail establishment?” Never mind that. Read on.  

The seller met me in the parking lot of Panera Bread in Perrysburg.  I happily received the boxes of protein bars. Beautiful images of fluffy pieces of birthday cake were on the packaging, complete with candles!  It looked like Little Debbie decided to finally treat society right by producing something nutritious and delicious.  

After handing my money to the seller she said, “Thank you,” and began to return to her vehicle. That’s when it finally dawned on me to ask why she was selling four full boxes of protein bars so cheaply.  She had my money.  The sale was final.  What did she have to lose?  She simply turned and said, “These things taste like…” then got in her truck and drove away.  

Man, how I wish that was a joke.  Little Debbie has an evil twin sister. She works at Muscletech.  I should have known. Yes, it said, “birthday cake,” but it also said, “crunch bar”. Hmmmm, birthday cake crunch? Never heard of them.  
Needless to say, these things are terrible. There’s no birthday in these bars. There’s no cake in these bars. There’s plenty of crunch, in the sense that I feel like I’m eating the bark right off of a tree in my yard. A mouth-full could choke out a giraffe. After every bite there’s a moment of panic as the consumer wonders if he’ll ever breathe again.   

What’s really amazing is this: I am going to eat every… single… one of these things.  They may take me a decade to digest, but every last one is going into my stomach.  

It always seems to be the actions that take the most discipline that people are proud of.  No one brags about doing what is easy.  It’s the difficult actions that define a person.  People find their identities by the “Goliaths” they’ve slain, the mountains they’ve climbed, and achieving goals that are truly great.  

There is no greater challenge and no greater glory than to live out the fullness of the Christian life- to love, to sacrifice, to seek out answers to the mysteries of God, to live in faith and to try and abide by a moral code that transcends selfishness.  When it’s crunch time (pun intended) the committed Christian will hold to the plan because they know that the goals are just too important and glorious.  

I’m not going to celebrate eating these things, but I will celebrate reaching my goals.  Even so, those goals pale in comparison to the aspiration of living a Christian life in line with the will of God.  

Pastor Travis Montgomery  


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