To help us prepare for Lent, we heard about the temptations Jesus faced before he started his ministry. The first temptation was to turn stones into bread for himself. Though bread is a good gift from God, making it supernaturally in the desert went against everything Jesus believed about relying on God for our basic needs.
Making stones into bread just to satisfy his own hunger would not further God's mission in the world, so he rejects the temptation, quoting Scripture to the tempter, "Humans do not live by bread alone."
Evil can get a toe-hold on us in a good thing, like food when we are hungry. Good gifts can become tainted when they are not acquired in an ethical way.
This temptation reminded me of the struggle of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. Today tomatoes purchased at Publix and Wendy's are picked for one penny less a pound, resulting in unfair and unsustainable wages and no safeguards against sexual and physical abuse of the workers.
Tomatoes are a wonderful gift of God, but Jesus reminds me that how they come to us is very important. If Publix and Wendy's are willing to put worker's safety and health and financial viability at risk for an extra penny a pound, then I must tell them that "humans do not live by tomatoes alone."
For Lent, I will be giving up Wendy's (and I love the occasional Frosty) and Publix (the closest grocery store to my home and work) until they sign on to the Fair Food Program and agree to pay $.01 more a pound to ensure safety and justice. I wonder if Jesus would do the same?
Rev. Brian Bagley-Bonner