Just Enough to Make You Mad

I had spoken at a church on Sunday morning and left to get on my way to another engagement. I did not take the time to stop and eat lunch because I really needed to be on the road. Miles on down the highway, I pulled in at a convenience store to get a Diet Coke and a pack of nabs so I could just keep on going. When I went inside the store I saw this long, hot, serving counter with some good looking country cooking. There were peas, corn, okra and mash potatoes along with several other Southern fried foods that looked good, smelled good and I am fairly confident tasted really good. I stepped up to the cashier with my Coke and my package of nabs. I said, “That is some good looking food that you have got out here today.” The lady cashier said, “It is good! You want me to get you a plate?” I said. “No Mam. This is my lunch.” I pushed my selection up before her. She said, “This is your lunch?” I said, “Yes Mam!” She said, “I tell you right now that will not do anything but make your stomach get mad at you.”

I laughed and gave her my money. She said, “I can still fix you a plate.” I said, “I sure appreciate it, but I am going to have to pass.” I left with her interesting and clever comment bouncing around in my head. “That will not do anything but make your stomach get mad at you.” I ate my mini meal and a couple of hours later, I was still thinking about her prophetic words because her prophecy was coming true.

I really did not have the time to stop and eat a big meal, and I am sure in the long-term I was better off just eating what I did. But I thought about how many of us partake of spiritual things in the same way that I nibbled on the physical food. There are times when we take in just a little bit of the good things of the Lord. We take just enough to make our spiritual appetites get mad at us. It is a little bit nourishing and far from being satisfying, but we keep on going.

You can see that taking place a number of times in the Bible as those people who were familiar with spiritual things often would talk to Jesus, engage Him in conversation and Q and A just enough to get a little more insight from Him and a tad more understanding about Him and His kingdom work. But they did not get enough to transform their lives and bring them to fullness of joy, life and obedience.

You may recall that time when they were trying to corner Jesus and get Him to declare which was the greatest of all of the commandments. They thought that they had Him hemmed up when He told them, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-40). He answered them and out maneuvered them, but instead of embracing that great insight, they wanted to argue the next step of the issue.

One scriptural lawyer demanded of Him, “Well, who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded to tell of a man who was taken down by thieves. He was beaten and left on the side of the road to die. It is the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus knew what they were trying to do and with incredible clarity, He sidestepped their attack and gave them even more understanding.

The tragedy is that they were receiving from Him great truths, but they were not acting in obedience upon those truths. They got just enough of Jesus and just enough of His amazing insight to irritate their spiritual appetites and not to solve anything. No doubt, the men who had discussed and wrangled over words and spiritual issues got just enough of Jesus’ teachings not to solve their problems but to frustrate and anger them. Later, when Jesus was on the cross, one of the thieves hanging beside Him who was seeing his life ebb away wanted to taunt Jesus, attack Him and not believe in Him. He was close to the Lord, but all he wanted to do was to argue the issues with Him. He was close enough to be forgiven and enjoy the Lord’s love. He was so close, but he left this life with his eternity empty.

All of us can do that and may have been guilty of doing that numerous times over dozens of different issues and needs in our lives. We get so close, but we do not cross the line of obedience to Him. We walk away with nothing except some spiritual hunger pains down the road.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer