It all looks good
It’s funny how we become less finicky when we are truly hungry and thirsty, and in turn how much more full we feel when we learn to appreciate what is put before us. My grandfather and I used to pack a light lunch when we worked his tobacco fields together. If you have ever spent a morning in a tobacco field you know the job is sweaty, sticky and exhausting. When lunchtime rolled around we found some shade under an old hackberry tree and pulled some bologna sandwiches out of a Tupperware container. The sandwiches were mushy and warm, but in our famished state it didn’t matter.
Since I live in an area surrounded by a number of military bases, people in our church family frequently deploy to dangerous locations around the world. During their time away they take advantage of group Bible studies and worship services provided in their base compounds, but they really miss their church family back home. Sometimes tragic events on the battlefield make their time away nearly unbearable and they survive with true grit and the prayers and encouragement of others. When they finally arrive home, and walk through the doors of our church building for worship, they grin from ear to ear. A few weep. From the stage those of us leading ministry are concerned we might mess up. From the spot our returning military personnel are standing, it is impossible for anyone to make a mistake, unless one of us fails to appreciate the presence of the Lord.
We live in a paradoxical time in church ministry. There is a place for excellence because the people we are trying to reach for Christ are picky eaters. It is important that we humble ourselves as believers and not grow frustrated with those whose view of righteousness has been skewed by the Deceiver. The table we set in worship and in any other expression of our faith will influence whether or not those who don’t know the Lord bother to come back for another helping. But in this, we who know there is more must keep our perspectives. The moment we begin to put our product over God’s presence and the spiritual hunger and thirst that draws others to Him, is the moment we strip our message of its nutritional value.