We tried a new restaurant the other evening. We all disliked pretty much everything. The place looked like your grandmother’s house — that is, if you are in your 80s and your grandmother was a sharecropper. The paneling on the walls was ugly. The décor (if you would even call it that) was worse. The location was inconvenient. The menus were cheap. (Ironically, the prices were expensive.)
The food, however, was outstanding. Interesting. Attractive. Tasty. The worst thing I could say about it was that there was too much of it. We will be back.
I have my priorities. I like ambiance as much as the next heterosexual guy. But I go out to eat for the food. If I don’t like the food at a restaurant, I won’t go — or at least, I won’t go without kicking and screaming. They could be giving the food away for free; I don’t care. And yes, it’s still Hal Hammons, famous tightwad, at the keyboard. Not a pod person.
I worry we get caught up in externalities and irrelevancies sometimes. The church, for instance, is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). We are made part of it to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). If we are given an opportunity to do that, we should count ourselves blessed. Instead, though, we judge a church experience by how many friends our children have, or how they set the thermostat, or how musical the singing is, or how likely it is that the preacher will shut his trap in time to keep everyone from starving to death.
Are those concerns legitimate? To one degree or another, yes. But it’s not why we came. We came for the Lord.