From The Kitchen Window - Variety
Words by David Hollows
‘Variety is the spice of life’ as the saying goes and there is certainly no shortage of variety for our current lifestyles.
For those old enough to remember, Heinz soups used to bear the word, Variety, on the front of their tins reinforcing the idea of the wide variety of soups they provided. And for those even older, the musical halls used to be variety houses of entertainment. The variety shows such as the London Palladium were very popular for many years.
Current cinema complexes offer multiple screens for a variety of films in order to meet the various tastes of film-watchers and for James Bond fanatics, what are the names of the various actors who have taken the role of the famous spy?
The largest range of variety must now be in the world of supply. How many energy suppliers can you name?
The supermarkets are probably the largest venues of supply with such a variety of food items – the choice can be overwhelming. The variety of fruit and vegetables and all year round would certainly be a huge surprise for those who lived a hundred or even 70 years ago in comparison to the restricted variety of foods they had.
We have also seen the rise in the popularity and variety of food outlets: the local chip shop now stands alongside the takeaways of various national foods.
Similarly, with the world of fashion: with its variety of textures and textiles, colours and styles. Photographs of the pre and post war years reveal the difference in the variety of clothes between then and now. The fashion models of yesteryear would be amazed with the variety of choice today.
The high streets of our towns and cities have also changed: the variety and individuality of the shops on the high street has now changed to a huge variety of charity shops and the same retail outlets wherever you go.
The conservationists inform us of the decline in number and variety of species in the animal and plant worlds. Yet recently a new variety of monkey was found in the rain forests of Malaysia – all is not lost!
So, if variety is the spice of life, how do you cope with the various choices you have? In the supermarket do you find the choice of so much variety a positive or a negative challenge?
Are you adventurous with the choice of food if you eat out or do you choose what you know?
Do you embrace variety or struggle with it?
Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash
If we consider the seasons and the world of nature, we will come to realise that we have a God of variety and that He has prepared us for the variety in His created world: the ways in which the colour of the leaves change through the seasons and the variety of the golds and the reds of the leaves, even in autumn.
There are the various shades of all colours which help decorate our world, the various differences in the heights of hills and mountains, even the colours of the seas. The Bible itself is a variety of writings: books, letters, poetry, history, biographies, romance, adventure and more.
The Bible contains a massive variety of human nature at its best and its worst in the stories which are presented: Cain and Abel and the presentation of envy and murder, religious persecution by Saul and wars between the Israelites and other nations. There are the betrayal stories and those of loss and grief.
On the other hand, there is the wonderful example of strong family bonds in the story of Naomi and Ruth, the heroism of Esther and Rahab both of whom risked their lives for others as well as the stories of loyalty of the women who cared for Jesus during His years of ministry.
We learn from the Bible of the variety in the nature of God: that He is totally involved in issues of judgement which is tempered by His mercy. The prophets such as Micah and Amos warn the people of Israel that God does not accept their lifestyles as in the time of Noah and that He will punish them in the form of exile to Babylon. Yet, 70 years later God restores His people to Israel and provides for them.
We have a God of love and forgiveness but also a God who does not accept mistreatment of others and denial of His name: when Saul meets with Jesus on his way to persecute Christians, his life is turned upside down and he is forgiven then used by God.
In the varied stories of Jesus we appreciate the variety and consistency of the nature of Jesus: that He has compassion on those who struggle with a wide variety of life issues, He is adaptable and flexible in His attitudes and approaches to the variety of people He meets and shows understanding of the various complex levels of human life: from grief and loss, to physical pain and mental health issues, to celebration occasions and the importance of meeting around the meal table.
Do you struggle with variety? Then, consider the lifestyle of Jesus and His character and ask God to bless into your life the same Spirit which was in Jesus.
Photo by Aleksandra Boguslawska via Unsplash
You may find the following hymn useful:
'Through all the changing scenes of life' (Mission Praise 702)
You may find the following payer useful:
Hold us fast, O Lord, when variety and choices overwhelm us that we do not fall away from your love. Give to us grateful hearts that we may grow every day in our love for you. Increase our faith that we may be equipped to deal with, accept and overcome the varieties of life which we meet as we trust you to bring us through any difficult experiences we may have. Give us the confidence to explore the variety of human experiences which you offer to us that we may grow into the people you have created us to be. Overcome our fear and trepidation that, through all the variety of experiences, we may fulfil your will for our lives and bring praise and glory to your name. We ask this in the name of Jesus.
Photo by John-Mark Smith via Unsplash
God bless you