Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Salad Threshold

You can’t lose weight by talking about it.
You have to keep your mouth shut.
my dad, Carl A. Smith

This post is NOT about one slob’s valiant efforts to shed weight.  It’s about something entirely different. I promise.

I’ve reached The Salad Threshold three times – each of the last three Springs as I began riding my bike to wear off winter weight gain.  The riding season always starts off the same… check over the bike, locate my sweat bands, rinse out the CamelBak “hydration system”, check the weather, get on the trail, and ride.  And NO!  I don’t dress in sissy poser Tour de France togs and NO! I don’t ride on the streets and clog up traffic at rush hour.  You’re welcome on both accounts.

It doesn't take many days of riding before I hit The Salad Threshold (TST).  TST is an amazing mindset that happens after riding for two hours daily, sweating gallons of water, nursing aching muscles, and getting up the next day to do it all over again.  TST happens when I come face to face with why I’m riding in the first place.  I do a loop… in other words, I’m not riding to “get somewhere”.  I’m riding to work off all the food I ate without enough exercise in the winter.  TST happens when I realize that every extra calorie I ingest costs me effort on the bike trail.

Look at that innocent box of goodies to the right.  “Sweet Fredom” they call it.  “No sugar added” they brag.  Each 100 calorie bar in that box is one third the size of a banana and yet eating each one will cost me a mile and a half on the bike!  (And do you think I want just one?)  What I ate between Christmas and New Year’s Day alone will cost me a month of biking.  The tamales I ate just during the BCS Championship game alone will cost me three long days of bike riding.  (We call them Loose Belt Tamales.)  THAT’S WHEN THE SALAD THRESHOLD KICKS IN - I suddenly realize the high cost of what I’m eating and then I really only want to eat salad.

Let me shift gears here, after all this is supposed to be a blog spiritual stuff.  Hear this word from our Sponsor:
For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? (Luke 14:28)
Jesus teaches us that we should count the cost of what we do before we do it.  Here, He is talking about people who want to be His followers but who may not be ready for the commitment.  It’s a common human condition – we like the idea of something, but we don’t think through the consequences to us or others.  On Christmas Day, I was wolfing down jambalaya and gumbo like I was a dying man.  I was not looking at my bike, I was looking at the andouille!  Our Sponsor had something to say about food as well:
Do not worry then, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear for clothing?” … But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:31-33)
Let me put the fine point on this.  We live on earth and we are earthly minded.  We tend to “seek first” the pleasure of the moment.  When we seek what feels good now we tend to make “miscalculations”.  A miscalculation of food means an extra week on the bike.  A miscalculation of behavior… well, what’s the cost of that?

Followers of Jesus will celebrate Easter in three days.  There will be Good Friday services where we remember Jesus’ death.  We’ll eat a little cracker and drink a little grape juice.  On Sunday, there’ll be singing, and preaching, and general celebratin’ as we remember Jesus’ resurrection.  But where in all this will you count the cost? 

You do know why Jesus died, don’t you?  You do know why this man, the Son of God, who never miscalculated anything, went to the criminal’s cross, don’t you?  Because spiritually, you and I missed The Salad Threshold.  Neither you nor I considered the cost of our behavior.  We didn’t consider the consequences.  Hey, maybe it was just little 100 calorie bit of gossip.  Or maybe, it was a whopping tamale of a sin that, now, you can’t actually believe you committed.  But just the same, the price has to be paid – the weight of the debt has to be worked off.

Jesus never gossiped.  Jesus never lusted for the inappropriately dressed girl at the gas station.  Jesus never cheated on His taxes, He never disobeyed His mother, He never said to His brother, “I hate you.”  He knew no sin.  And He’s out there riding the spiritual bike while you’re stuffing your face with spiritual Twinkies and tamales.  It’s not fair, is it?  THANK GOD!

This Easter season, in the midst of all the pastel colors, new clothes, and exuberance of Spring, I pray that you’d hit The Salad Threshold.  I pray that all of us learn to count the cost of our behaviors.  When we hit that Threshold we truly begin to live as Followers of Jesus and honor the death that bought our release from the weight of sin.  Thank you, Jesus!

Clark H Smith

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