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The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. – PSALM 34:10
The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread
The idiom, ‘greatest thing since sliced bread,’ is sometimes used to describe something or someone that one thinks is very good, useful, etc. In 1928, the Chillicothe Baking Company became the first company to sell sliced bread. Its advertising for the newly invented sliced bread included the sentence: “The greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” Many sources say the first record of this idiom is thought to be in 1952 when the famous comedian Red Skelton said in an interview with the Salisbury Times: “Don’t worry about television. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.” Since that point in time, there have been a lot of things “greater” than sliced bread (and greater than television, for that matter).
Many people attempt to identify what is the best ever.
Several minutes on the internet reveal the best ever meatloaf, jeep, chili recipe, book, movie, banana bread, handgun, gift card, and pinball machine. This list is possibly infinitely long and never correct – my wife has the best ever chili recipe, and it’s not the one found on the internet. The problem with best ever is, first, it is subject to opinion, which means it is not factual – and probably not even close to being factual. Second, even if it is factual —say, for example, television is the greatest thing since sliced bread—it’s not true for long.
Best ever is a victim to change. To get to be best ever means that something had to change for it to become best ever. Then, in all likelihood, something will change so that it is no longer best ever. As Seth Godin elaborates,
“And change is fleeting. And change changes us. We can’t step in the same river twice, because the second time, the river itself has changed. The pressure we put on ourselves for every project to be “the best ever” experience creates a shallow race for bling instead of a deeper, more useful focus on what’s actually possible. Seeking to rank our experiences takes us out of the moment. It turns us into sportscasters, spectators, and statisticians. We end up comparing our wedding or our box office numbers or our tweet stats not only to our own best ever, but to the stats of others. This summer is unlikely to be your best summer ever. But it will be a summer, and it’s up to each of us to decide what to do with it.” Too many of us are too busy driving the best ever car, living in the best ever neighborhood, and sending our children to the best ever school. The unfortunate news is that none of these are the best ever of anything. And attempting to label them as such robs us of simply enjoying them.
The solution for this best ever syndrome is found in scripture. The need to describe something as best ever is overcome by examining our attitude toward contentment. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10, "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
We don’t need the best ever. Many people will always have better, and many will lack what we have. We need to be content with what we have. Psalm 34:10 says, "The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing."
Think and Pray
The Lord will provide all that we need. And in that, we will discover the true Best Ever – our God, Sovereign Lord, Creator, and Redeemer.
Heavenly Father, I know You will provide all that I need. Help me to discover that You are the best ever - our Sovereign Lord, Creator, and Redeemer. In Jesus’ name, amen!
Philip W. Struble is the President of Landplan Engineering and is passionate about helping business leaders steward their companies in a way that honors God. He is the author of Zebedee and Sons Fishing Co.: Business Advice from the Bible and hosts a weekly blog atwww.zebedeeandsonsfishingco.com. Philip and his wife, Stephanie, have four adult children and currently reside on a small farm in rural Douglas County, Kansas.