In our house we enjoy fried egg sandwiches: egg, cheese, and bacon or ham on an English muffin. There is some difference of opinion in the house about what type of cheese is best and whether the muffin should be spread with butter, Miracle-whip, or one on either muffin half. Otherwise, our appreciation is shared.
Fried egg sandwiches are a perfect example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Alone, eggs, cheese, and bacon all have their own glory, but together something new and greater arrives. That greatness even manages to shine forth, if only dimly, in the version of egg sandwich that one finds at the fast food chains. In a pinch, I’ll eat one of those. But attention to the individual ingredients repays the investment. Sure, you can use Aldi bacon, processed American cheese slices, and weeks-old defrosted English muffins. But a richer, more satisfying experience awaits the consumer who combines farm-fresh eggs, aged, sharp cheddar, and artisan hickory smoked bacon, nestled between slices of homemade sourdough bread. You’re already regretting that bowl of cold cereal you hastily ate this morning, aren’t you?
Throughout Scripture God has given us incredibly rich but compact summaries of key elements of his character, his plan, the person of Christ, and the substance of the Gospel. I think of verses like John 3:16, John 1:14, Psalm 103:10; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Timothy 3:16 and phrases like Jesus’s “I am” statements, “God is love,” “Be holy as I am holy,” “Mercy triumphs over judgment,” “Be wise as serpents, innocent as doves,” or the Golden Rule. We might think of these summaries as soul sandwiches: portable, practical, spiritual nutrition.
Like the sandwiches that filled my lunchbox and me through my school years, these biblical morsels may be the substance of our spiritual caloric intake for periods of our life. Proverbs 3:5-6 is a PB&J that people rely on to nourish themselves day in and day out. And here’s the thing: there’s nothing wrong with that. God didn’t intend for us to need a 7-course spiritual meal three times a day any more than we need that physically. What would concern me are two spiritual sandwich scenarios: (1) if spiritual PB&J were all we ever consumed, or, (2) if, over time, the quality of our ingredients declined such that our spiritual sandwiches were unpalatable, or worse, not nourishing.