Friday, August 15, 2008

Are You Eating Leftovers?

I remember as a boy, our family always had leftovers for dinner. My mom would make enough spaghetti and meatballs to last 2 - 3 days. We'd have pork chops a couple times a week for dinner too. I didn't like it when we had steak for dinner. I dreaded eating steak! At age 8, steak was too tough and chewy, and it would take forever to eat. I remember my dad making a deal with my brother and I, he would say, "When you finish your food you can go back outside to play." Man, it felt like I was sitting at the kitchen table chewing a mouth full of rubber bands. It wouldn't breakdown quick enough for me to swallow so I could run outside and play. (I remember on a couple of occasions, just a couple, I would quietly excuse myself from the dinner table showing my plate was cleaned off. After I would get approval from my dad I would run outside. Around the corner of the apartment, away from windows, I would put my head up against the brick wall and spit out my mouthful of chewy, rubber-band like steak on to the ground- and off I went to play with my friends.)

Later in life, I learned that my mom and dad struggled financially when we were kids and bought food on special and in bulks to stretch the dollar. (Now I feel horrible for wasting my food, when my parents worked so hard to feed us kids. I was very wasteful.)

I have come to appreciate the luxury of a good steak. I prefer steak over chicken -and- steak over shrimp any day!

Back to leftovers. Here's the thing, I don't care if you have the most modern microwave, the latest convection, convention, or what ever oven. Leftovers, especially meat, never tastes as good the second time around. Meat loses it's tenderness. When you re-heat it, the meat loses it's juices and the outer part becomes tough and dry. It becomes second-rate.

How many days do you go without opening the Word of God? You don't investigate passages. You don't dig up the good stuff- the meat from the Word. As Christians, we've become too busy or too lazy to have quiet time with God. Instead, we have convinced ourselves that listening to the message at the pulpit is enough for you to stay "spiritually full".

I have bad news- you are spiritually starving yourselves if you are only digesting the "meat" once a week. No one could survive, or function correctly if they only ate one meal a week. You would become sluggish, delusional, weak... and eventually die.

I was told by a pastor: the pastors receive the good stuff. He is only passing along the leftovers on Sundays. You see, he experiences first-hand the tender, juicy, savory meat when he studies the Word. It's the pastor's calling to best translate what God said to him and share it to the congregation. We get the leftovers!

That really stinks! Not only are you get one meal a week, but you are getting leftovers as your meal.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ.

I gave you milk, not solid food(meat), for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?" (NIV, Amplified)

Paul was talking to the Christians at the church of Corinth. There was division among them; immaturity, jealousy, and tossing of childish words back and forth. Paul is telling them, that even though they are Christians, even though they claim to be followers of Christ, they are just infants in their walk. It's in spiritual meat that you show maturity. The more you study the word of God, the more wisdom you will obtain. Just like my pastor-friend, you too will experience first-hand the tender, juicy, savory meat when you study the Word.

If you have been spiritually starving yourself, you probably feel too sluggish to pray and worship. You most likely lost focus of what's important in your life. You feel too weak to deal with the trials in front of you.

Then it's time to change! Change the starving to fulfilling. Say to God today, "No more leftovers- no more spiritually starving myself. God, my life is hard enough and I need your wisdom and instructions for my life. I promise to take a few moments out of my day to stop and listen to you. My soul is hungry for you. Word of God speak to me!"


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