Points to Ponder: Food Service or Food For Service

Points to Ponder
Food Service or Food For Service
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

Having worked in restaurants during my college years, I can relate to the following experience, as told by OMS Missions staff person, Betty Starr:
"The table next to ours at the restaurant was a disaster. Six young boys eating there had been having a good time as their parents enjoyed their meal at a separate table. Little did I realize just how good a time until a bus boy came to clean up. Lifting a water glass now stuffed with a large muffin, he viewed the mess and promptly left to bus another table--obviously leaving this one for someone else.
"Wanting to see who would accept this clean-up challenge, we watched two other employees approach the table, take one look, and do an about-face. When we left, the tables around ours were clean--except for the avoided one. Desserts in glasses, water in dishes, forks dangling by the tines on the edge of glasses were as effective as a KEEP AWAY sign in fluorescent letters.
"Not always cleaning, but looking for an easy place to clean, the busers kept busy. At least three persons knew of the need to clean that table. Obviously, being aware of a need is not enough."
I have often heard it said by people, "I come to church to be fed." It is wonderfully important that we "desire the pure milk of the Word, that (we) may grow thereby." (I Peter 2:2) Solid spiritual food is also vital as we grow in our faith. The "solid food belongs to those who are full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:14)
As you nourish yourself with spiritual "calories" in Christ, are you also being sure to "burn it up" in exercise? The Bible calls it a "walk." That's a good term for what the Christian lifestyle ought to be. To walk by faith, to walk in the light, and to walk circumspectly takes spiritual food. Work out your salvation, Paul tells the Philippians. James says, "Faith without works is dead." Yet with all of that said, how many folks come to church to be fed, but don't want to do the dishes? Uncomfortable situations, people whose differences disturb us, and challenges that stretch and faith (and patience) are like that dirty dinner table piled high with an ugly mess. In this world there are people's lives which are piled with an ugly mess. And when we encounter them, a sign in our mind flashes, "KEEP AWAY." We are all very aware of the problems in this world and many of their causes. We sometimes forget that every world problem started with an individual, then several individuals, then a neighborhood, a city, a country, etc.
We come to church to be fed and to also bus the tables. Jesus didn't go to the gatherings of the religiously important and the righteous. Most of His time was spent with the people no one else wanted. Which should make us examine the circles in which we most often find ourselves AND the people who do (or do not) feel most welcome in our churches. We are not the only ones who need to be fed.
So enjoy the buffet--but remember to bus some tables and clean up some messes.

This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.