It’s amazing how much Christianity has changed in the last few years. Of course, God is still the same, but we have lost some of the basic things that make up the faith. Those very things that seem so basic and simple are in God’s eyes very needed and complex.
Like reading and proclaiming His Word. I have seen and been in many churches where His word is an afterthought to a preacher’s message, so he can at least say God was included. Many times there are Bible studies where God’s Word is never consulted, yet we explore what WE think about a particular subject. I have even had ministers tell me that they won’t put up scripture in their buildings because that isn’t “in.” Isn’t in…..how interesting.
Like challenging God’s people to immerse themselves in serving God. There is a reason the church has to beg for people to serve. We have set a standard of convenience for service. After we get through with everything else we have cluttered our lives with, we will pray about giving God some of our leftover time. That is like planting a seed and then the plant really starts to grow and then we quit watering it so it won’t stretch and grow toward the light. God’s people need to have direction and without it they will stall and fall away. The challenge begins with a vision for doing something great with the gifts God has given us.
Like Calling Ministers and not Hiring them. Sadly enough I believe that in our churches we are hiring more ministers than God is calling. A desire for bigger salaries, bigger churches, higher positions in denominations, and CEO Pastors many times can cause us to set a standard for those in “the ministry” that God never intended in His church. A standard we call excellence, but God calls distance. Distant from Him and His initial purpose for not only believers, but those who are set aside to serve as shepherds and vision casters of His church. We have bought a load of goods that may keep the church from ever experiencing revival again in the modern day church era. Ever again? Yes! This could come across as judgmental if it weren’t becoming worse and worse every day. Now we can’t deny it. Something is wrong!! What is it?
I look to the wonderful Disney Movie, Ratatouille. If you missed it, it involves the desire of a ghost of a chef trying to keep the integrity of cooking good food in place. Another person has taken his great restaurant and the reputation it had and mass marketed fast food to make more money. Of course, greed is at the forefront of this marketing scheme. So the ghost takes a young inexperienced chef want-to-be and a rat (yes a rat) who hasn’t lost the magic of combining different basic herbs and makes them an unlikely team for keeping the “quick fix” of fast food out of his restaurant. Everything done by the restaurants of Paris in that day revolved around one food critic, who name was Anton Ego. He could make or break a restaurant by his impressions of how good or bad the food was. The only problem with Anton was he had lost his own way from the basics of what good food was and begun to set HIS own standard for good and bad. He had drifted away from his first love, taste. In a pivotal scene of the movie, the rat has the young chef cook Ratatouille. Ratatouille is a very basic dish that was a foundational dish of choice for those in that area. Over the years the great chefs had forgotten their reason for cooking and drifted from making Ratatouille. It used to be the main dish at any meal, but it soon became a side dish at best. Ratatouille was served to Anton Ego when he came to their restaurant to judge their menu. All those in the kitchen tried to keep the Ratatouille from leaving the kitchen but it made it to the table of Anton. When he tasted the basic, exquisite taste of true Ratatouille he was overwhelmed. It brought him back to a time when he was younger and more pure. What was thought to be an outdated, irrelevant dish changed Anton’s life through it’s purity of taste. His taste buds were awakened and he wanted to eat it again and again. Rather ironic don’t you think?
Perhaps we have let standards from people like Anton Ego set the bar for each of us to follow. Suppose they are setting standards and trends that are not necessarily what God intended. Suppose we are in such an apathetic state, we just follow like Zombies. Perhaps what is the main course for our Christian Walk has become the side dish and we have distanced ourselves from the radical change in our life at our conversion. I believe we need to grow as believers, and we need to use the lastest things to make our message more and more creative, but never at the expense of the main recipe of life, Jesus Christ. At the time the dish Ratatouille was served to Anton Ego, the other chefs were kind of saying, “Ratatouille Phoooey” by their attitudes about the basic dish. Afterward, they were confused by how it could be so well received. For some of you believers you may read this and say, “Normal Christianity – Phoooey, it won’t work.” Before you answer, take one taste and see how the flavor of basic faith hits your taste buds. Believe it or not, it may awaken tastes and flavors of your faith that you lost years ago. If it does, then what became the side dish of your life will once again become the main dish. Then you will once again smell the fragrance of His grace in your life and there will be a sensitivity to God like never before. Go on. Taste and See. Come back to the purity of ministry, not for the sake of self advancement, but for God.
Psalm 34:8 (New International Version)
8 Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
The Pilgrimage continues….