We form habits early in life. Some of them are good and some of them are bad. Which shoe do you always put on first? When and how often do you brush your teeth? Which T.V. programs do you always watch? Where do you shop? And one more, the cornbread habit.
We were visiting my uncle’s brother in Tennessee one weekend. They had just finished a most beautiful addition to their farm house. It was a spacious tiled bathroom, with all the modern accommodations. I happened to be up early that morning and went outside to stretch. A low fog was still over the field and all at once I saw my uncle’s brother come walking back to the house. The path in that direction was well worn. I could see the faint image of the old ‘two holer out-house’ in the back ground. As he passed me, a bit embarrassed, he said, “Get better action out there.” Habits are hard to break.
We are all creatures of habit – some good and some not so good. Bad habits tend to destroy us over time. Webster says; “Nicotine is a poisonous alkaloid that is the chief active principle of tobacco and can be used as an active ingredient in insecticides.” Yet more people around the world have the habit today than ever before.
I once read a fable about the “CORNBREAD HABIT“. The one addicted just had to have a piece of cornbread every twenty to thirty minutes. Every morning, as soon as he got out of bed, the first thing he thought of was his cornbread. He would even eat a piece before he got dressed and sometimes he would wake up in the middle of the night just to have a piece of cornbread. Crumbs got all over everything. After breakfast he would eat another piece of cornbread. Strange as it may seem, he would put about 20 pieces of cornbread in his pocket so he would have some to eat all during the day.
Then they passed a law saying it was wrong to eat cornbread in public places, so he would go out back, away from his work and other people just to enjoy a bite. On the way home he would stop at the store just to be sure that he would have enough cornbread to last him through the night. But he didn’t worry for some stores that sold cornbread were open all night. He remembered the time when he ran out of cornbread and all the stores were closed to celebrate someone’s birthday. He became so irritated and ill-tempered you would hardly know he was the same man.
When he went to church, the last thing he did before he entered the building was to stand on the curb and eat another piece of cornbread. He hated to be late and sometimes he would have to throw some of the cornbread on the ground. Between Bible study and the preaching service he would go outside and have another piece of cornbread. After the final ‘amen’ he joined the other cornbread eaters and boy, did the crumbs fly.
Poor man. He was really as slave to cornbread.
To be fair to all concerned, listen to this story about a little three year old girl named Abby. She hates football, but it is not the crowds, or the noise or because the ball is kicked into the stands; she hates football . . . well, let me hold off telling you why.
The incident I am about to share with you could be about baseball or fishing, soccer or bowling, basketball or skiing. In case you are not a sports fan, it could fit just as well about reading, or yard work or crossword puzzles. Much to my discomfort it could even apply to an overload of church work. Our baby sitter was caring for Abby and a football game came on the T.V. “Do you want to watch football, Abby; I know your daddy just loves the game. “No,” said Abby. Her beautiful eyes were filled with anger. I HATE football. All daddy says is “Abby, be quiet so I can hear the game”, and Abby, get out of the way you’re blocking my view, and Abby, go upstairs to your room so I can enjoy the football game.” Little Abby, bless he heart, just wanted to say, “But daddy, what about me. Am I important to you or will the winners of this game ever be remembered ten years from now.”
To believe they are valuable to God, little children must know that they matter to their own flesh and blood parents. Nobody wants to be the parents of a run-away prodigal, we need to quit eating so much cornbread and pay more attention to our kids.
“Fathers, do not provoke (exasperate) your children, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord . . . My son, hear the instruction of thy father and forsake not the law of thy mother; for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 1:8-9).
The best things that mom and dad can give to the children are themselves. Football is alright as long as it’s not cornbread.
Be careful of the cornbread habit or an over indulgence in the ‘Gater Nation’.