Please, give me a chance to explain. 🙂 I was at Glad Tidings Church in Omaha today, and the pastor gave a wonderful lesson that, as the title may suggest, needs some deciphering.
To make a long story short, there was a reporter who wanted to find the best fried chicken in the South. He was on a mission, and talked to all kinds of locals. They all pointed him to a place called “Church of God Grill.” Intrigued by the name and the crazy-good reputation, he went. And indeed, it was awesome. He then asked the owner about the origin of the name. (I looked it up to find the exact quote…) And this is what he responded:
“Well, we started a little church down here, and we started selling chicken dinners after church on Sunday to help pay the bills. People liked the chicken, and we did such a good business, that eventually we cut back on the church service. After a while, we just closed down the church altogether and kept on serving the chicken dinners. We kept the name we started with, and that’s Church of God Grill.”
This Atlanta favorite lost their purpose along the way. As the pastor at Glad Tidings so eloquently put it today, “A good thing can become a bad thing when it gets in the way of the main thing.”
Chicken to raise money to pay church bills = good thing.
Main thing = God.
Chicken success + reduction of church activities/closing of church = good thing becoming bad, and getting in way of main thing.
Now give me a second, I’m not trying to teach a lesson on the importance of balanced church finances. Far from it. What I’m really getting at is that this lesson of good things becoming bad things is one that I believe we all need to evaluate in our own lives.
For me, I thought of leading my Bible study. That’s a good thing. But at times, I have had to check myself because the stress/desire to impress my group began to overtake my focusing on God to lead me through. Basically, leading (good) became bad and got in the way of the main thing (God).
Now as much as this example of Church of God Grill is mildly entertaining, it’s also quite sad if you stop and think about it. Yet God’s disappointment in the failing of that church in Atlanta can be also be seen easily in our lives when we (forgive me now…) choose chicken over church. It can be unintentional, which is scary – or it can be pretty purposeful, which if you ask me, is scarier.
What gets in the way for you? What good thing has become a bad thing, and thus gotten in the way of the main thing?
Think about where in your life this applies. I bet that you’ve already thought of it, even before I prompted it. Don’t think that you are alone, and honestly, don’t feel crazy bad about it. We’re human, we are sinners, and that’s just what we do. It would be weirder if we DIDN’T fall victim to this whole metaphorical chicken situation.
The biggest step is acknowledging where in your life it is happening, and then have the humility to admit it to your God. We’re pretty darn lucky that we have such a forgiving God who’s heart is so on fire for us that He delights in our weaknesses. So even on the days when you feel like you’re taking giving God more than your fair share of human weakness, know that I am contributing quite generously to the “fail pile” as well. And we all are.
So, (again, forgive me. This is just too good!) What is the chicken in your life? What is the church that you are spending less time and money on? Is the chicken worth the church’s existence. Think about it. Just don’t tell anyone in Atlanta. 🙂
Verse for tonight: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or discouraged, for The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Josh 1:9