Coerced joy is as disappointing as an all-you-can-eat buffet. At a buffet, there is a lesser quality of every kind of food at the same time, so that the customer need not worry about missing out on anything, all in one sitting! Thanks to the miracle of all-you-can-eat buffets, it is possible to breathe in twenty or thirty clashing aromas and taste an unlimited mixture of opposing flavors all at once. You can rest at ease as you stand in that buffet line because you know that you won't walk away from that place you'll roll away. And your stomach will be sloshing back and forth with such a mish-mash of flavors that you won't want to eat again for a week.
Biscuits and gravy, fettuccine alfredo, chocolate mousse, chili and corn bread all on the same plate no one's holding you back.
But these flavors don't mix well because they were meant to stand alone. The consequence of trying to taste everything at once is that all the tastes are blended together and lost. Five different main courses, each with their own side dishes, four kinds of dessert and, in the end, an upset stomach, is the joy a all-you-can-eat buffet.
However, there is a better way to eat for both the stomach and the psyche than stuffing down a lower version of everything at once. That better way is to enjoy singular entrées for what they are along with a few complementary side dishes if necessary.
In the same way, each gift from God should be enjoyed for what it is. But this is incomprehensible for those who are afraid of missing out on something later if they sit content with whatever is put in front of them right now. (Mind you, I am not trying to renounce all-you-can-eat buffets, but rather I am trying to illustrate God's design for us in relation to Him.)
God intended that all humankind might bring His Son glory by delighting in Him as the Real Food, the Real Drink and the Real Life, set above every other enjoyment and every other thing on earth. Christ by Himself is more than enough for us today. He has been enough for us all along.
Though the discontent rich man might display his riches for himself to see all at one time, yet the content poor man is wiser for enjoying whatever he has at the time he has it.
Life is best enjoyed one serving at a time. And this is the wisdom of God, that He commands us to keep our minds set on nothing more than His One Goal, who is also our Main Food at any and every point in our lives.
On a similar note, any food is satisfying to the man who eats because he is hungry, but the man who eats to be entertained is not easily satisfied. So also, if we cling to Christ for dear life as God intended, then we will be more likely to accept Him as He is. When we are hungry and thirsty for the unique spiritual fulfillment of knowing Him, then we will best honor Him during our sojourns on this earth. When we desire Him as a hungry man desires sustenance then we will also worship Him effectively.
We honor God best when we honor Him as He is. We worship Him most effectively as we live by confidence in Him, that He will continue to be who He is. And we will appreciate Him best by embracing His singular All-sufficiency, no man-made add-ons required. He deserves our admiration for being none other than Himself, the only One in the universe who is God.
This is an excerpt from To the Church of the West, Scattered Throughout the World. Find this book and similar articles at www.BooksByPatrick.com
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
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