Dinner and A Lesson

Photo by dave.carswell

Once, a young man had the opportunity to go to lunch with a popular Christian leader he admired. The young man had anticipated the meeting for weeks leading up to the day, but as the meal progressed he found himself growing more and more disenfranchised by things the leader was saying and doing.

He was surprised to notice this Christian leader did not pray before eating and that some profanity was sprinkled into his conversation.

Finally, towards the end of the meal, he felt he must speak up and mention what was troubling him.

“Thank you for bringing those concerns to my attention,” the Christian leader said after a short pause. “But I must remind you that the things you find alarming are external and outward and not necessarily a reflection of the heart. Would you mind if I shared some observations I’ve made of you since we sat down, which by the way are commonly found in many good Christian people today?” he asked the young man.

“Certainly,” the young man said with a hint of nervousness.

“Since we sat down,” the Christian leader began, “you have not said one kind word to our waitress, not even smiled at her, or acknowledged in any way that she, too, is a person created in the image of God.

“Since we have sat down, you have mentioned story after story of how you serve God in your church, but you have not once acknowledged your personal need of Him, or expressed gratefulness for what He has done in your life, or praised Him for who He is.

“Since we have sat down, you have used all the current Christian buzz words, but you have not once mentioned concern for your neighbor, or the oppressed, or the poor. You have overtly shared how God has blessed you, but you have not cared to mention how you are in turn blessing those around you.

“You seem to understand quite well what it means to be a Christian, but I have not gotten the impression that you have spent much time with the Savior Himself.”

(Based on Jesus’ confrontation with the Pharisee in Luke 11:37-44.)

Do you think we might have some things in common with the Pharisees of Jesus’ day?

Do you think we might care too much about some silly things while not caring enough about some of the most important things? What might those things be?

Why do we have a tendency to focus on the behaviors that come easily to us rather than opening ourselves up to God and allowing Him to perform “heart surgery” on us?