When I played baseball at the University of Nebraska there were many perks to being an athlete. One of the best was the food we ate. Fair or not, our food was way better than the regular student body and I wasn’t complaining.
I personally loved the salad bar. I’m a bit of control freak so I like to know what I’m putting on my plate and have a choice of what I eat.
A buddy of mine on the team liked the salad bar too and we had this fairly annoying and childish game we’d play. We would each choose a side of the bar and as we filled our plates with food we would randomly place things on each other’s plate to make them mad. Dumb…I know.
On one particular day we were really loading up each other’s plates. Back and forth we went all the way down the line. At one point, I went on a bit of “run” and just kept piling things as fast as I could. I was so proud of myself until I got the end of the line.
With a confidant grin on my face, I looked up expecting to announce victory over my buddy, but instead I was face-to-face with the middle linebacker of the football team.
It was not my buddies plate I had just ruined it in fact was a Roman Gladiator’s.
There are not words to describe the embarrassment and fear I had at that moment. However, God must have had a plan for my life because I’m still alive to tell you this story and am doing so with no history of broken bones as a result of being thrown through a cafeteria table.
I see a great deal of Christians treating their spiritual life as a buffet. They grab their plate at the “Old Rugged Cross Buffet” and slowly look at the tasty choices God appears to have given them.
Methodically they travel down the lines picking and choosing the things they like such as personal wealth, health, protection, job security, a good sex life, and…ok…a side salad of patience to make mom happy. Since a buffet is choosing what I like the best and leaving behind the rest this seems to be a fantastic way of being a Christian. The problem is that is not how God designed it.
“I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I have them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.” – Jeremiah 7:23
In this passage the prophet Jeremiah is speaking God’s words to the people of Judah. They had decided to pick and choose the things they would obey from the God of the Bible and where their lifestyle didn’t jive with what He commanded they would make another god to worship that allowed them to keep sinning.
Let me remind us of something.
God doesn’t share the cosmic stage with anyone.
He clearly says, “Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you.” I don’t know about you, but I very much want “it” to go well with me no matter what “it”. So following all God’s commands seems to be a good plan. Not some of His commands, not the ones we like, not the ones that get us rich, or the ones that let us divorce our spouse, but ALL of His commands.
We don’t like that plan. We would prefer to treat God’s commands like a buffet so we can leave out the stuff we don’t like.
Here are modern day examples of the picking and choosing we do at the Christian Buffet:
- Praying for God to bless our business, but leaving Him out of our marriage.
- Wanting God’s Will in our life, but not wanting Him to tell us to not to live with our girlfriend.
- Wanting to read our Bible and feel more connected to God, but preferring He stayed in the car when we get drunk in the bar.
Let’s be honest, when we walk to our car after a real buffet experience we feel like trash. No human was meant to eat that much popcorn shrimp in one sitting and we know it.
The same is true of our “Christian Buffet”. You and I will never walk away from keeping God out of an area of our life and feel satisfied. We will be empty, unfulfilled, and frustrate because something is missing.
God is not a buffet. When we decided to follow Him we get a full course meal complete with desert, but there’s no menu. We don’t get to choose what’s on the plate.
Sure, we may decide to play around with some of things we don’t like with a fork for a while, but they still are on the plate. At some point we need to eat even the Brussels sprouts.
God knows that if we eat the meal He’s prepared for us we will leave more satisfied than we’ve ever been. We will want to lick the plate clean because we will want more and more of what God has prepared for us.
I hope we are tired of the indigestion our life is causing us and are ready to dive into the satisfying life found only in following God completely