High Chair Food: ME, MY, & MINE

High-Chair-Food--ME,-MY,-&-MINEHas your family ever had get-togethers when they bring out the ancient family pictures and films? My mom was the typical mother who took lots of photos of her two boys. Some photos were of my brother and I as babies propped up in our high chairs being spoon-fed Gerber’s baby food. And, of course, most of the food ended up on our faces, heads, ears, etc. Can you imagine how absurdly strange it would be to see me now, at age 50, sitting in a high chair being spoon-fed?

Comfortable beds and couches. Ever-running air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter. Constant and immediate access to high-definition TVs, satellite movies, and smart phone calls and texts…all at the touch of a button to meet every whim that flashes through our minds and emotions. In other words…has the Christian church in the United States of America (and in all developed countries) become the most “spoon-fed” country in the history of the world? If we are painfully honest, it is safe to say that the bulk of most Christians’ lives consist of ME, MY, & MINE—MY family, MY children, MY home, MY job, MY church, MY retirement account, MY bank account, MY vacation, MY schedule…MY SECURITY! These “things” should be, and are, important to you and I, but just how “important” to us are they? Here is an easy way to test this: on a piece of paper (I already did this and it was eye-opening) make categories and—honestly—put the number of daily hours we spend for work, family, kids, friends, entertainment, sleep, exercise, Bible study, prayer, etc. Then, put the numbers for the hours (or minutes) each day we directly spend: 1) doing, or planning, to share our Christian faith verbally with someone; and 2) doing, or planning, how to help Christians grow in their faith; and 3) doing, or planning, how we can use food, water, shelter, etc, as a platform for evangelism and discipleship, not just “good” Christian humanitarian things we do as a replacement for actually sharing the Gospel verbally with other people. Then, multiply these numbers out over 365 days, which is one year. Now, what percentage of our time is honestly used for building God’s Kingdom worldwide via personal evangelism, and personal discipleship, and mission’s involvement? What percentage of our time is truly used in the Great Commission?

A danger of being an American is our American lifestyle! We are born into this lifestyle “system,” and this system conditions us. We WILL easily become inoculated by the American culture if we are not intentional in allowing God to somehow “disturb” our comfort and reveal to us not if, but how, our American culture has, and is, affecting and effecting and infecting us. Some of the most “hardened” and “logical” and “theoretical” and “spoon-fed” Christians we may know are active in church, they are “nice” Christians. They have access to more material resources and finances than many Christians, yet they squeeze out a 10% tithe feeling they are doing God a favor when they should be giving much more than just the “minimum” tithe. Me, My, & Mine Christians have allowed the “willful blindness” surrounding our American culture as their choice to NEVER share their faith, and to NEVER personally go every year or two on short-term mission trips? In other words, how many Christians in America, and all around the world, have a Christian ministry commitment equivalent to the photo at the top of this blog…adults in high chairs being spoon-fed a diet of “self-absorbed narcissistic Christianity”…adults propped up in their high chairs, dangling their feet, living an “easy & safe & comfortable” Christian life, while stuffing themselves with the 3 most popular Gerber baby food flavors found in the jars labeled, ME, MY, & MINE. From their high-chairs Me, My, & Mine Christians use every “excuse” imaginable to not, for example, go on a short-term international mission trip. Here are some of the most popular excuses, some of satan’s favorites: “I can’t go on missions ‘til I have more money saved,” (as if God is not able to cover our mission trip expense through our Christian friends, family, and church). Or, “I can’t go on missions ‘til my kids are grown,” (as if family or friends are not able to watch the kids for a week as their parents set a Godly example for their kids by going to the nations for Christ). Or, “I can’t take time off work,” (as if they can’t use their vacation, or part of it, for a mission trip instead of spending their entire vacation on another Me, My, & Mine trip). Or, “The Lord has called me to serve just in my city & area.” Jesus Christ said in Acts 1:8, “You WILL be my witnesses in Jerusalem [local], and in all Judea [region/state] and Samaria [state/national], and to the ends of the earth [international].” I wonder what it will be like for such Christians who NEVER share their faith with anyone and who NEVER go on mission trips…I really wonder what Jesus will say to them? Perhaps Jesus will simply quote Himself using His verse in the paragraph below…

At times, in an attempt to shake, and agitate, and discipline us as Christians, Jesus Christ said some unusual and “offensive” things that cut through all of our fluff and “manure.” To separate the “men from the boys,” so to speak, and to find out who was dead serious about following and serving Him, Jesus said the following as a litmus test in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Perhaps a reason Jesus said this “harsh” statement was because He knew Christians, in various ways and levels, will use their family—even their own children—as an “excuse” to not be fully committed to GOING to the world with His message. The word “hate” here in Greek means “to renounce one choice in favor of another” and “to love less.” Are you and I “hating” our father and mother? Are we “hating” our wives and husbands (those who are married)? Are we “hating” our children (those who have children)? Are we “hating” our brothers and sisters? Are we “hating” ourselves? In other words, who do we really love most…family, spouse, children, ourselves, or Jesus? The answers to these questions, which are proven by our actions and choices, will be plastered in eternity as the evidence of our lives on earth!

Before finishing this blog I took a long and deep dissection of my life in every area…not to be legalistic or mean or harsh, but just out of intentional curiosity. If I am totally honest with you I must say…I do enjoy the comforts I have in being an American. Chances are I have much less “stuff” than most Americans do because I am single with no kids, and I am used to not having much in the area of material things. But, I do very much enjoy my one-bedroom carpeted apartment that has non-stop air and heat and warm shower water. I also like my 2001 Ford Escape SUV. I confess I spend too much time watching the 32-inch high-def TV some of our donors bought me seven years ago after an apartment fire ruined the few hand-me-downs I had for years (moving 13 times in 16 years meant traveling light; after the fire my “stuff” increased thanks to God’s gracious people who helped). I am also grateful for my bank accounts, and for the retirement account our ministry started for me 2 years ago. I do enjoy the food and milk and soda (I definitely drink too much soda!) in my fridge. I really enjoy watching endless baseball games on ESPN and the reruns of Friends and Seinfeld as I lay on my soft couch while flipping the channels—with tremendous speed—on my remote. And, without any doubt whatsoever, I adore my memory foam bed! Why I am not even sure I could, or would, survive without air conditioning, and heat, and clean drinking and showering water. What I would do without a vehicle, or TV, or internet, is unimaginable…these things are fused into my very being as an American! The comforts of America are so deeply “engraved” in me that whenever they are removed, if even for a few days, I am so uncomfortable I feel stressed! During the frequent international outreach trips I take several times each year, my comfort zone gets mad at me and at Jesus and at everyone…my cozy American flesh gets cranky on every evangelistic trip I take when I inevitably get jet lag, and when I get traveler’s diarrhea, and when I can’t find out the baseball scores due to no internet access, etc, etc, etc! But…I am 100% confident I would much rather be “uncomfortable” serving out in God’s Great Commission than to remain “comfortable” in my high chair eating my Gerber’s.

So, the goal of this blog is not necessarily to make us squirm and feel “guilty” (at least not too much) because we as Americans (or other developed countries) live in the wealthiest and most luxurious country in the history of the world. Rather, my motive is to ask all of us—for the sake of our own temporal and eternal fulfillment & fruit—what number totals did we come up with from the sheet of paper from earlier in this blog? When we hold that paper in the mirror and look at ourselves, what do we see: OPTION 1) honest Christians who are conditioned by, and appreciative of, the comforts God has allowed us to have in the USA (and other developed countries)…in the mirror do we see Christians who, in spite of our American comforts, are still truly fulfilling our individual roles in the Great Commission? Or, OPTION 2) in the mirror do we see Christians who have become so “spoiled” and “theoretical” and “cozy” in our Christian life that we (I) sit in our (MY) high chair, munching on and slurping down our (MY) Gerber’s, and reading our (MY) Bible and going to our (MY) church, while having no intention whatsoever of…EVER getting involved in local and international missions, and no intention of EVER verbally sharing our faith with lost people, and no intention of EVER somehow helping Christians around the world—those millions of Christians who basically have nothing compared to what we have, those Christians who are being hurt, persecuted, and even killed, just because they love Jesus and they are willing to risk their lives to live for, and to tell about, Him? So, which one are we, which one are you…OPTION 1 or 2?

For shaking, agitating, and emptying, the high chairs,

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Scott Nute

1 Response — Written on June 20, 2017 — Filed in Blog

One Response

  1. mike dacy on June 23, 2017 at 2:43 pm Reply

    Wonderful, keep it up—we need to start being uncomfortable or at the very least challenged to be more faithful to our Lord & less faithful to the world & our entertainment
    mike

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