Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hold the black olives please.

Most of you know that pastoring Fellowship of Believers is not my only job, I also hold down a 40 hour per week job doing environmental and safety work for a manufacturing plant. This is the job that pays our bills and insurance.

So while in a meeting at my 40 hours job this morning I heard this phrase, “We’ve got enough going on without getting sidetracked by the pizza.” This made me almost laugh out loud, to think with everything we have going on to operate a multimillion dollar operation, we do from time to time, have to deal with things like a dispute over pizza. But in our work environment it has to be done because we have 400 people working together 5-6 days a week, and disputes like this are bound to happen. You know how it goes, free pizza comes in, not enough for everyone, some get some, some don’t, someone gets mad, someone says something they shouldn’t, people’s feelings get hurt, things start to escalate and before you know it we’ve totally lost track of why we woke up and came to work today. We’ve totally lost track of the task at hand.

When the “sidetracked by pizza” comment came out, my reaction was to laugh, my second was how it reminded me of something that happened to me just last week.

Someone delivered pizza to the comment section of this blog. Yes, I have finally arrived! I received my first official negative response to one of my posts.

I am not saying that just because someone doesn’t agree with me necessarily means it’s a negative comment.

What made it negative was that this person, who chose to remain anonymous no less (imagine that), also chose to get hung up on something absolutely insignificant and missed the entire point.

As I’m trying to give God the glory for the work He was doing through an awesome group of people and lives He has changed as a result, “Anonymous Negative Commenter Man” spent his time trying to pick one word from my post apart in the name religion.

That’s like wanting to spend time debating over whether or not the water Jesus turned to wine was alcoholic or not…if that's what you choose to debate then YOU’VE MISSED THE POINT OF THE STORY.

When this becomes the case, “we’ve become sidetracked by pizza.”

How many times a day do we get sidetracked by the pizza of life? People getting bent out of shape at little league games. Our kids and their Junior High drama, “He said, she said.” Us adults in our office drama, “He said, she said.”

Our everyday lives are so full of “pizza” and it’s spilled over into our churches and personal walk with the Lord as well. We forget that the Christmas play is about Him and not about who gets to sing the solo. We forget that serving the food to the needy is about Him and isn’t about who gets to be seen doing the actual serving. We forget that communion is about Him and not about whether we do it with one prayer or two. We forget that the song we sing is for Him and not about whether or not I like the slow ones. THE MINUTE WE LOSE SIGHT OF HIM IT BECOMES NOTHING MORE THAN RELIGION.

This is how Jesus commented to his critics in Matthew 12:6 when they questioned Him and his disciples about breaking Sabbath rules (Jewish day of rest)
6-8"There is far more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this Scripture meant—'I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual'—you wouldn't be nitpicking like this…" (The Message translation)

Friends, I plead with you to pray that God will help us to see through the junk in our walk and focus more on Him. Lord allow my eyes to see through the religion. Lord you’ve given me important work to do, don’t allow me to become sidetracked by pizza.

As for my anonymous friend the following is for you, enjoy, today’s post it quite possibly the most recognition you will ever receive on here again.

1) I love you though I don’t know who you are or what your name is.
2) I won’t post your comment, not because I don’t want my readers to see what you have to say, but simply because it won’t grow God’s kingdom by a single person.
3) Don’t waste your time making more pizza because I’m full.
4) I’m praying that you too will see through the religion that surrounds you and the religion that binds you. I’m praying that you will truly see Jesus and not just the thought of Him.
5) I love you man.