God Doesn’t Fit in a Doggie Bag!
I am a carb lover. Don’t get me wrong, I love meat, too. But give me anything made out of dough and I am in heaven … cake, pasta, pierogies, homemade bread, rolls, doughnuts, pie crust, and especially raw cookie dough.
Martine and my girls gave me a surprise 50th birthday party at a Brazilian restaurant, where they carve the meat straight off the skewer and directly onto your plate. All you can eat … and I loved it. But before they began parading out the meat they sent you to the salad bar, which was filled with all kinds of breads, pasta and seafood salads. It was an awesome spread, but it was really just a distraction from the main event. I had to stop and focus myself … why was I there? Yes, for the incredible MEAT … so I needed to tell myself to focus and resist the distractions.
In Luke 10:38-42, the Bible describes a woman who gave in to distractions. Jesus was visiting the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Martha wanted to be a good hostess, and there’s nothing wrong with that. She was working herself into a frenzy in the kitchen while Mary remained at Jesus’ feet, absorbing every word of His teaching. When Martha complained to Jesus that her sister wasn’t helping, His response really took Martha by surprise. Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the essential activity, the main event … time at the feet of Jesus.
Martha was doing good things. But she became so engrossed with the appetizers and cheap fillers in her sight lines that she neglected what the main course. Then she got stressed and whiney because someone else was enjoying the ultimate main course: quality time and learning with Jesus. Meanwhile, she was at the appetizer table. She didn’t seem to grasp the whole picture before she made her decision. Don’t we all make knee-jerk decisions like this sometimes? Aren’t we often satisfied with the crumbs while missing out on what fulfills us and helps us thrive?
You see, Satan is going offer you many empty, unhealthy, worldly appetizers. He will wine and dine you into thinking his scraps are the whole meal, the only thing needed to get by. He doesn’t want you to see the life-giving meal of God’s Word, you “Daily Bread.” He doesn’t want you to know about the “Lamb of God” that is waiting for you. Flesh is lazy. It seeks shortcuts. Material, physical, here-and-now activities distract us from the psychological and spiritual wealth God offers.
We are all so busy doing stuff – some of it good and some bad. But are your time and attention so focused on the appetizers that you neglect spending time with Jesus? Do you eat some appetizers with the intention of getting to the main course of God and Jesus, but then find you are too stuffed to take in the spiritual nourishment you really crave and desperately need each day? God is not to be put in a doggie bag and taken home as a leftover to be re-heated when convenient. Don’t let anything interfere with your regular time with God and Jesus … in The Word, in prayer, and in worship.
Today, examine your schedule and priorities. Choose God’s life-giving main course. Don’t get distracted with the appetizers or the desserts. Take in the real nourishment that will fill you now and sustain you forever. Does your relationship with God motivate you to make time for Him? If not, you are filling up on scraps, and your joy and peace will reflect just that. Whether you feed on God’s nourishment or you live off the world’s scraps is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I know that I tend to be like Martha. I get so caught up in my “to-do list” that I sometimes neglect spending time with You. Help me to refocus … to choose the main course. Give me discernment regarding the imitations that so closely mimic the real thing, only to lead me astray. Help me build and tune my spiritual radar to Your frequency so I understand how sustaining and valuable Your nourishment is to me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who you sent to nourish me, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her. Luke 10:42
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