Yesterday at church we had a guest speaker and his wife, missionary colleagues of ours when we served in Brazil. And when I began thinking of what he said and how he said it, I was reminded of food, especially Brazilian food.
In every city in Brazil there are neighborhood bakeries. In the big cities that can be almost every other block. Every morning the neighborhood gets their freshly baked bread, lunch meat, cheese and milk for that day from those stores.
Besides the wonderfully delicious warm bread, they also make all kinds of deserts that they prominently display in glass cases. They all look absolutely scrumptious. They are intricately decorated with colored frostings and take on all kinds of shapes and sizes. On rare occasions I would buy one, hoping against hope that what I saw in the glass case would measure up to my taste buds expectations, but almost without exception, they always looked better than they tasted. What was packaged and presented so well, often was just a little better than cardboard.
So often, the church has fallen into this consumer mindset. We spend so much time and energy on packaging a product with very little return for the investment. Millions are spent on marketing, buildings, technology, research, you name it – all to make us look more attractive to the consumer, but little of it contributes their spiritual maturity (Colossians 1:28-29). They might like the frosting, but there is no nutritional value in the final product, because it isn’t about Christ.
Yesterday, it was about Jesus. The gospel – no frills. The word – Plain and simple. Nothing fancy in the message itself -three simple biblical points on a passage in Matthew 4:18-22 and then a challenge. And then there was nothing fancy about the man who presented the message (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Except that, we met man and his wife who adorned the message of the gospel with 50 years of faithful service (Philippians 1:27)
Now that was good!