Loaves And Fishes Religion
Most Christians are familiar with the Lord’s criticism of those who sought him as a “meal ticket,” for the loaves and fishes which he could provide (Jn. 6). With appropriate sighs of disdain, we express our disgust of those who sought Christ so cheaply and carnally. It is right and proper that we should do so, but are we guilty of the same thing in principle? “Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” No, of course, we are not like them! We understand that the church is not a civic, social, and recreational organization. The church is not a YMCA, or a local boys’ club--we know that (1 Pet. 2:5)!
Yet, I fear that to some the church is a convenience store, patronized by counterparts to the loaves and fish seekers. At such a store, you run by, get what you need, and hurriedly go on your way. A woman may spend nearly an hour in a large grocery store, but whoever heard of anyone taking that much time at a “7--11”? So, the church is where we go for a quick, spiritual snack. Run in, run out; see ya’ next week! No conviction; no remembrance or regret of sin; no promise and purpose in heart to do better, to live better; no hunger for the deep things of God; no thirst for the water of life. No, none of that. Get on with it! Get it over with! Let me have my pinch of bread and sip of juice – uh, oh, the smallest bill I’ve got is a “five,” and here comes the collection plate! Also, in this convenience store, we need another check out lane, or, at least, shorter sermons and one less song.
Do not ask me to help, to serve, to teach, to encourage others, to welcome visitors, or to visit the physically and spiritually sick. Let me criticize (It is what I do best) the elders, the preacher, the length of services, the temperature of the building.
Now, teacher, tell us again just how “sorry” those disciples were who sought Jesus for the loaves and fishes! (But make it quick. The ball game starts at noon, you know).