Waitin' in the Buffet Line

I don’t know about you but we love to eat out! There is less mess and clean up, it doesn’t require any preparation and everyone can order what they want.  Of course, on the down side, it is more expensive. 

For many, a favorite place to eat out is one of those “all-u-can-eat” buffets. On a buffet, everyone gets what they want to eat and they can go back and eat as much as they want! Now, I assure you I am aware of healthy eating habits. I didn’t say I always had good eating habits I just said I was aware of them!

Oh, you too? 

Most diets have as many green vegetables as you want because they are so healthy. Really, I do know about those things called “vegetables.” I am also aware that at most buffets, they serve salads and vegetables. (At least that’s what I’ve been told)

But when I get to the line: I head straight to the BBQ beef, fried chicken, french fries, pizza, hamburgers---ummm---you know, the good stuff. And if I do get near any vegetables, they are usually breaded and deep-fried, and dipped in sauce. (Is corn pudding a vegetable?)

Don’t even get me started on the dessert bar! Pecan pie!  German chocolate cake! (Excuse me, I’ll be right back. I need a snack break.)

It seems to me that many people live their Christianity like it was a buffet line! They pick some of this and some of that------just picking out the stuff they want and skipping what they do not “savor” from the commands of God. 

A fellow recently asked about the church with which I worship.  He wanted to know mainly about our worship “style” and how it compares with denominations. I explained to him that we were not concerned with being “traditional” or “contemporary” just scriptural.  In fact the same principle applies to us in doctrinal matters, neither “liberal” nor “conservative”, just scriptural!

I answered his questions…but I got the feeling he wouldn’t be coming to worship with us. He didn’t want to know if I preached Biblically sound sermons. He didn’t appear to care what we believed and taught or what our doctrine was. I got the feeling he was looking for an “entertaining” church where he could sit back and get blessed, have nothing expected of him and leave without getting involved. A kind of a “Christian buffet” line, taking a little of this, some of that, and never getting to the stuff so important to spiritual health.

Most people think “church” and “worship” is like a buffet line. Just go wherever you choose, head straight for the “junk food” and gorge yourself on things that satisfy your appetite...your taste buds...while missing the point of what the church really is. Just pick and choose from the smorgasbord of positions and opinions from the buffet of “the way I see it.”

Recently a preacher acquaintance of mine was asked about how his church group was growing so fast. He replied: “Because we give them what they want.” I get the feeling sometimes that churches and church leaders are more concerned with providing what is “wanted” rather than standing for the truth. Doing it “my way” is not a sign of integrity and creativity but sinful rebellion against an eternal God.

Here are some Biblical principles for us to grasp:

1] The church is not about what I want it to be.

The church, it’s organization, it’s way of doing things, it’s mission, and it’s manner of worship are not matters of MY choice but of His direction. What and how the church does things is not open to “red state” or “blue state” preference. We need to be a part of JESUS church and function the way He has directed. It’s not a matter of what I want---my “buffet” choices---but what He has commanded.

2] Worship is not about how I prefer it or how emotionally “revved up” I get.

Too often there is the attitude of "what did I get out of that church service?” But the real question is..."what did GOD get out of that church service" Was He exalted, lifted up, glorified and honored? How we worship....who we worship…when we worship...and where we worship...are all prescribed by God in Holy Scripture and not subject to our approval. True worshippers worship God in the right way and with the right attitude. God has provided directions for acceptable worship...and no, you can’t just go and pick what you want...gorging on 1 or 2 things...while leaving the other parts out. If we truly want to worship God, we will come before Him in humble recognition of who He is and follow His will.

3] Doctrinal matters are not democratically decided.

Matters of the teachings of the church are not subject to some board or council, the vote of the congregation or edicts from scholars or human leaders.  They are not “menus” that are subject to changes in “taste” or “cultural” surroundings. The only “meal” that matters is the wholesome feast on God’s Holy Word! 

The scripture does not change but it changes us! My opinion or what my Daddy believed have absolutely no effect on doctrinal truth.  If I am sincere and look into the mirror of God’s word, I will change myself---not the Word. 

We do not change God to think our way but His Word changes us to think His way!  

God has quite an enterprise going! He is trying to reach the entire world with His love. If we truly are seekers of God, we will find out in scripture what He wants and do it.

Any questions?  Call me, we’ll talk. Or meet me at the “all you can eat” buffet.  I’ll let you have the check.  by Jim Kelly, His Servant

310 East Main        P.O. Box 37        Asher, OK 74826         405-784-1380