Wednesday, June 22, 2011

With a Side of Salad

Let’s imagine ourselves at The Precinct- a high class, Cincinnati-based restaurant located in Columbia-Tusculum on the east side of Cincinnati. For those of you who don’t know, The Precinct is known for their ridiculously delicious steaks. For us middle class folk, dining at The Precinct comes maybe once or twice in a lifetime, or maybe it never comes at all because the restaurant is so outrageously expensive.

Let’s say that, for instance, you acquired the opportunity to dine here for your mother’s 60th birthday. It’s the first time (and last time) you’ll ever be here, so you want to make the most of it. Personally, you’re super excited to have their steak, because steak is your favorite meat.

You are seated at a table with your family, and are promptly greeted by your waiter who takes your drink order. A few minutes later, the waiter is back with your drinks, ready to take your order. You decide to order the Prime New York Strip Steak, which also comes with a side salad.

The waiter takes your orders and comes back with a basket of bread, the typical procedure at a restaurant, and the typical progression of the course of a meal. Yay Bread! You get ridiculously excited because you also love bread, and it serves as a way to pass the time until your $37.00 delicious piece of meat is placed in front of you at the table.

So, you commence in the wonderful adventure of eating bread, in which you end up eating about five rolls. Next, your salad is delivered, which you also happily inhale because it is your favorite type of salad and has delicious almonds in it. And of course, not to mention the fact that it is also covered in ranch dressing, the best type of dressing!

Finally, the $37.00 piece of steak that you ordered is delivered to your table by the very kind waitress, but then you realize that you’re so full that you’re not sure if you will be able to finish that delicious steak. And then you realize what has been your downfall, what has halted you from being able to eat that delicious and nutritious meat that you have so longed for.

The Rolls.

Yes, the rolls. Not the rolls again! This happens every time! Regardless, you make a strenuous attempt to finish your meat, leaving your stomach ready to burst.

Does this sound familiar?

I thought so.

For me personally, every time I eat at a restaurant, I always accidentally let myself fill up on rolls, and then I’m just not very hungry for the main dish. And after the meal is over, I tell myself I will never do that again. But what happens? You guessed it, it happens again. Let’s face it, this happens to the best of us. And let’s be real, no one ever fills up on the salad.

In a perfect world, the rolls and the salad are not intended to fill you up. The intent is for the customer to have between one and two rolls and a small side salad, preoccupying them enough so they won’t complain to the manager and filling them up just enough so that they’re still hungry for the main dish. The main dish is intended to be the main part of the meal, filling you up the most. After all, it does have the most nutrients.

And if you really think about it, filling up on things other than the main dish typically leaves you full, but only for a short period of time. Shortly after, you are hungry again. It’s like snacking all day. And if you think about it, what is bread anyways? It’s basically all Carbohydrates, which gives you energy, but if not burned, these Carbs turn into fat, proving useless. Nothing in bread will typically sustain you for long periods of time, because you always have to restore on the energy it gives you.

And this, of course, makes me think of God.  Just as the course of a meal intends for the main dish to be the focal point of a meal, God intends to be the focal point of your life. If you think about it, it makes complete sense. Nowhere in the Bible does God say, “yeah, so if you go to church every Sunday and sometimes read the Bible, then Ima be cool with that!”

No. Instead, he says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”- Mark 12:30. Jesus describes this as the greatest commandment in the gospel of Mark- The most important commandment out of any commandment that has ever been declared.

Notice that this verse says with ALL your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

ALL.

This is an important word. According to dictionary.com, the definition of the word all is “the whole quantity or amount. The whole number. Everything.”

Actually, Jesus doesn’t even give us the grounds to assume that we can give part of our time to him. Jesus declares this a yes or no situation. You are, or you aren’t. Jesus explains this in Revelation 3 where he is addressing the Church in Laodicea, explaining that, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

According to Jesus’ figures of speech he uses here, he intends to expel anyone who is lukewarm, or anyone who is not fully living their life for Christ.

And, it only makes sense. In Genesis 1:27, God created man in his own image. He made us to live for him. It’s just like how the inventor of the automobile (Karl Benz, the one who is generally accredited for the invention) created the car. To make the car move, Benz created a tank especially for gasoline. It was not created for milk, sparkly unicorn potion, cranberry juice, or beer. It wasn’t created for anything else but gasoline, and was only created to run on gasoline. If anything else is put into the gas tank of an automobile, it’s obviously going to screw it up. It might explode, or implode, or catch on fire. Maybe nothing as serious as those, but the car certainly won’t work anymore.

Just as a car is made to run on gasoline, we are made specifically to run on God. Putting him at the center of our lives makes us run smoothly, and also makes lots of things make sense, but if we’re not running on what we were made to run on, then we obviously won’t be working correctly.

And, like I said before, we can’t run on half of God and half of whatever else we choose to run on, just like an automobile can’t run on half gasoline and half lighter fluid. We all know that wouldn’t be good.

Take for example the solar system. Everything in our Milky Way galaxy orbits around the sun. Somehow, all of the planets are in place to perfectly orbit the sun and to not hit each other. The Earth is also in the perfect spot to support human life. Everything is absolutely in the right place in our solar system and couldn’t work if it wasn’t. What would happen if the orbits of everything shifted slightly or the sun moved? The results would not be good. Everything would be absolute anarchy in our galaxy. As a matter of fact, we might all be dead.

In our universe, everything is completely in place or everything is completely out of place. If everything is running smoothly, then we are all living, but if just one little glitch happens, we might all end up dead. In the same way, we have to also take on this lifestyle of giving all or nothing. Because, just like in our galaxy, if we are not 100% in place, everything will be out of place in our lives.

And if you make God 100% the center of your life and you live for Him, you will notice that you feel like you’ve suddenly found the right answer. It will just feel right. God will be the missing puzzle piece to your puzzle, the battery to your flashlight, the charger to your phone, the shoe to your foot, the ring to your finger, the water to your cup, the marshmallows to your lucky charms, the money to your wallet, even the grandmother to your rocking chair.

My point is that He will fulfill you. He will complete you. He will just make sense in your life. He will fit in your life, because you were made with a hole in your heart that belongs to God.
After all, He deserves you. He created you and He died for you. Francis Chan describes this with great ease in his bestselling book “Crazy Love,” explaining that, “The core problem isn’t the fact that we’re lukewarm, halfhearted, or stagnant, Christians. The crux of it all is why we are this way, and it is because we have an inaccurate view of God. We see Him as a benevolent Being who is satisfied when people manage to fit Him into their lives in some small way. We forget that God never had an identity crisis. He knows that He’s great and deserves to be the center of our lives. Jesus came humbly as a servant, but He never begs us to give Him some small part of ourselves. He commands everything from His followers.”

Let go and let God complete your life. Let Him fill the hole in your heart.

1 comment:

  1. I love this, Kirsti! Very well written and said.

    ReplyDelete