Only Eating the Good Stuff


My wife and I live in Las Vegas, the all-you-can-eat buffet capital of the world!  An inexpensive but quality buffet is one of the oldest marketing tools employed by the local casinos to get customer in the door.  Always positioned near the rear of the casino the ploy is to get you to drop some coin as you pass a myriad of slot machines either on your way yo the buffet or on your way out after gorging yourself to the point of having to stop and take a break, conveniently on a stool by a slot machine.

We have our favorites based on location and offerings.  We seldom go right for the food but take a slow walk from end to end to see what the fare of the day is before beginning to fill our plate with only what we want. I’m big on pasta and can make a meal just at the Italian station.  I’m not a huge fan of oriental and might skip that station completely.  Plain steamed vegetables, you know, the one that are good for you, are not my favorite.  I prefer those that are loaded with extra goodies-bacon, cheese, cream, you get it.  and who can’t make a meal on just the dessert bar!  From pies to cakes to ice cream to fresh pastries to cookies to cobblers-oh just the thought!

How cool is it to go into such an eating establishment and go right to just the foods you enjoy the most and completely bypass those that you really don’t prefer or leave a bad taste in your mouth. We can overdose on sugar and carbs and leave out the important proteins and important nutrients needed for our health if we think they taste nasty.  This is ingrained in us in the baby stage.  I recall when our kids were infants we would mix sweet fruit with their vegetables just so they would eat them.  Bad habits carry over into adulthood.

As believers in Christ many of us are guilty of much the same approach to scripture.  There are literal thousands of Christian denominations in the world today because some place more emphasis on certain aspects of scripture and some completely disregard other aspects.  We have turned the Word into an all-you-can-eat but pick only what you like buffet.  We hand pick passages to support doctrines like picking food from an a la  carte menu.  Many groups lobby that certain part of scripture has become socially irrelevant to the times and must be ignored.  Others have stepped into the dangerous realm of suggesting the Word be changed or updated, something God warned against toward the end of the Book.

I have to be honest here and say that I’m blown away by Christians advocating and lobbying against God’s words with a puffed up arrogance and pride that would frighten most believers.  I’m grateful for the torn veil that allows me direct access to the throne of God, but when I approach him, I still know He is God and I tremble in reverence and awe.  I could never be so convinced in my beliefs to attempt to prove God wrong.  We are told two things in scripture-God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that His Word will never pass away.  Who are we that we should treat the Bible the way we treat a buffet?

 Like the foods I shy away from, this post will most likely leave a bad taste in the mouths of some and may even be received as biased or hateful.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  As I was reading today in 1 John I came across the scripture that mentioned “snatching” some from the fire.  If you are one who believes that part of God’s law does not apply to you or that you are somehow above it, then maybe you need to be lovingly snatched from the fire.  You can’t eat mercy and grace but leave yourself deficient on forgiving; you can’t consume mass quantities of blessing but skip the suffering station; you can’t digest the Olsteen dessert bar but forgo the Mother Teresa meat station of works at the same time.

Ironically enough scripture is described in the New Testament as “meat” for mature believers.  Thank God the Word is indeed all you can eat and digest!  You just can’t skip the sections that don’t taste good!

Give us This Week our Weekly Bread


Would you be content with having but one good meal per week? With the unlimited availability of  food in our country, should you have to? What if that one meal per week was just meat or just desserts or worse yet, just junk food?  Most of us would develop ailments from malnutrition, suffer fatigue and leave our immune systems vulnerable to any infectious disease it couldn’t fend off through proper nutrition.

I was recently involved in a discussion with some church folk friends of mine about mature believers who change churches when they feel they aren’t being adequately fed by the pastor or priest.  When I hear this I envision a nest of chicks with their mouths wide open waiting for the pastor to drop in a nugget of spiritual truth, then flying off to gather more food while the chicks wait in their nest for their next meal.   This approach to church is wrong on many levels  and deeply disturbing to me.

In too many instances the burden of spiritual nutrition is laid upon the local pastor with little or no responsibility borne by the believer.  The expectations placed on the local church and its clergy do not line up with the primary function and purpose of the church as described in the New Testament.  Scripture is clear that we gather together corporately to worship God and encourage each other-period.  Of course a good sermon or homily aids in exhorting us on to good works and falls under the function of encouragement. We all love to hear a message that moves us to do something that enables us to more accurately reflect Christ.  But just as our bodies require daily nourishment so too our spirits require daily feeding.

I reside in Las Vegas, perhaps the capital of the world’s best and biggest buffets.  I admit that I love going to one place where I can choose to eat from Mexican to Italian to Asian to American cuisines with no limit on how much I eat.  I can even have just desserts if I choose. But no matter how delicious the food is or how much of it I eat in one sitting, I’d be in bad physical shape if I only relied on that one weekly meal for my overall health.  I had to learn how to cook for myself and provide daily meals the other 6 days of the week or I’d starve.

Church members are no different. Expecting your pastor to provide your weekly meal and complaining that you are not being fed is equivalent to eating out once a week and not knowing how to feed yourself in between. We have at our fingertips the Word, our daily bread, the exact same bread our pastor distributes on Sunday. The responsibility of our own spiritual fitness is not the pastor’s but ours. We are encouraged to “study to show thy approved”, to “rightly divide the word of truth”.  We can’t do that on one meal per week by neglecting our own accountability.

The best clergy are the ones who through their weekly homilies whet the individual appetites of their parishioners for spiritual meat to the point that the parishioners can’t go a single day without personal study and devotions.  And those who are taking in their daily bread will never complain about their pastor not feeding them.

There are numerous reasons for changing churches as the Lord leads, but malnutrition through personal apathy should never be one of them.

Bon appetit!