My family

My family
Child of God, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Aunt, and friend

Monday, August 25, 2008

Peanut Butter & Jelly

This devotion hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it from my friend Dori's blog the other day. I just had to share it!

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Written by:

One of the people that we co-teach 2nd grade with on Sunday mornings just returned from a mission trip to Zambia. A team of about 10 people from our church went for 10 days to help with a camp for orphans there. He was back in class yesterday and shared with the children about his trip and showed some amazing pictures.

The children that they ministered to were children who have nothing. They come to camp with just the clothes on their back and even one little boy didn’t have that — he was given clothes when he arrived.

Brian told of how each day the team would prepare 80 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the camp counselors to eat during the day - 4 sandwiches per counselor to be exact. He then turned around and told about how the children would be given 4 pieces of bread and an energy drink for their meals. I was a bit disappointed in them! I thought to myself, “Now if I had 4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my backpack and there were hungry children with me, I would have to give them my pb&j and just go hungry for that day." I kind of stewed on this for about 10 minutes while he continued to share photographs from his lifechanging trip.

Then he cleared it all up for me.

On slide #50 or something like that he showed a slide of one of the children eating their 4 slices of bread and he said something like this:

“You might be wondering why we didn’t just give our peanut butter and jelly sandwich to the children. The reason is that they are not interested in the peanut butter and jelly — they just want the bread. It is the bread that sustains them and fills them. They don’t want the extra stuff on the bread. They just want the bread.”

Oh yeah, I heard it. Did you?

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

How many times are we guilty of the Bread of Life not being enough to fill us?

The peanut butter and jelly we crave might sound something like this:

“I didn’t get anything out of worship today. I don’t like to sing that song. Did you see how the praise team was moving today? Their choreography is distracting me. Norma Jean really does need to stop dominating the stage. Did Buster forget to shave or is this a new look for him? Don’t they know that everyone is watching them? I don’t like the praise team. I want the choir back. I don’t like the choir. Can we just worship and not have ’specials?’…”

“The pastor clearly needs to spend more time in his quiet times this week. I am not getting anything from his sermons. Is he preaching a sermon he has preached before? Haven’t we heard this story one too many times? He needs to clearly take an indepth study so he can know as much about the Word as I know about the Word. Isn’t he dumbing down the gospel too much? Isn’t he making studying the Bible too hard? I wish he would preach a sermon on (INSERT TOPIC HERE). I don’t like the way he dresses when he preaches. Shouldn’t he wear a tie? I don’t think he needs to dress up so much. Shouldn’t he dress more like us?…”

“My children are bored in Sunday School. The teacher needs to bring in snacks every Sunday — my child is always hungry by the time the service starts. I wish they had a children’s church. My child gets bored during the pastor’s sermon. VBS was too crowded this year. My baby’s diaper didn’t get changed the whole second service. I can’t work in Worship Care. I’ve done my time. My children are older now. I wish the children’s minister was a little older and wiser. I wish the children’s minister was a little younger and could relate…”

“My goodness. Why are we building again? And where is the parking? I’m having to park my car a half mile from the building and it takes me 30 minutes to get out after service and get to Cracker Barrell. And why do we have so many parking spaces marked off for visitors. Why do we have shuttles to help people get from the cars to the building? Can’t they walk? Why do I have to walk so far. Can I get a shuttle?…”

“Where are my free devotional magazines that used to be in the foyer? I loved those. I took one for me and one for my mother in Kentucky. Why does the women’s retreat cost so much? Can’t the church cover some of the cost so it is more cost efficient for me to go? I wish they did more in the men’s ministry. My husband is not interested in hunting or fishing or the outdoors. Can’t they come up with some fresh ideas…”

On and on I could go. And don’t get me wrong. A few of these things I’ve heard myself say! It’s all just peanut butter and jelly, friends, when all we need is the Bread!

It’s a temptation that is as old as the Garden of Eden. We are given the simplicity of a life lived in the presence of the Living God; sustained by the fullness of Him in every way. And yet we are tempted to want more.

For Adam and Eve, they were drawn to a tree that they had no business being drawn to. God wasn’t enough. The promise was that the tree would fill them in a way that they hadn’t been filled before. For us, we are drawn to making our spiritual lives more complete by piling on more studies, more books, more programs, more this and more that, the latest gimmick and the style that is all the rage, the biggest and best church, the greatest church building, the most awesome worship style, on and on and on.

But I fear that somehow you will be led away from your pure and simple devotion to Christ, just as Eve was deceived by the serpent. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

Pure and simple devotion to Christ…the Bread of Life.

On a morning when I realize that I’ve been filling up on peanut butter and jelly, my heart cries “Just give me the Bread, forget all of the extra stuff that I’ve tried to pile on…Just give me Jesus!”

“How did John know that,
at the beginning of a new millennium,
our lives would be so busy,
our focus so divided,
our bodies so tired,
our minds so bombarded,
our families so attacked,
our relationships so strained,
our churches so programmed…
that we would be desperate
for the simplicity and the purity,
the freedom and the fulfillment of
a life lived in Jesus’ name?
Just Give Me Jesus!"
—Anne Graham Lotz


No comments: