The Bible Buffet

I love buffets.

Tray after tray of delectable appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts, all a mere spoonful away.

Yummy, yum, yum.

I start at the first tray and zip down the line, taking a spoonful of everything. Well, everything except food containing…


Yuck. And double yuck.

When I get to each tray, I lean close to the Plexiglas shield, scrutinize the mound of food below me, and make sure it doesn’t have even the teensiest trace of onion in it. But even with my hawk-eyed perusal, sometimes I can’t tell if onion bits lurk in there. That’s when I deploy my backup system.

The taster. AKA, my husband.

“Um…” I might say as my hubby travels down the buffet line directly in front of me. “Can you check those cheesy potatoes?”

He’ll proceed to scoop a portion onto his plate, pick up his spoon, and take a nibble.

If he says, “Safe,” I nudge him along and dig in.

But if he says, “Yep, it has onions,” I pat him on the shoulder for a job well done and scoot right on past the dish.

Because another great things about buffets is…

I don’t have to take the stuff I don’t like.

Unfortunately, many people today treat the Bible like a buffet—they take what they like and skip what they don’t. In place of  the I-don’t-like-onions excuse, they choose to ignore parts of God’s Word with rationalizations such as:

  • I don’t agree with those words
  • I don’t believe those words
  • I don’t understand what those words mean
  • That’s part of my nature, so it can’t be a sin
  • It’s too hard to do the things or act the way those words say I should
  • Those words don’t apply to me

But the Bible isn’t a buffet. It’s the perfect, inerrant Word of  the living God.

True Christians don’t pick and choose which parts of God’s Word to live by and which to ignore. If we do, we’re saying that we haven’t submitted to Jesus as Lord. That we don’t trust that his ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. That we might believe in him…

But we don’t believe him.

To be blunt, if we don’t believe him, then we’re not true Christians.

Sure, we all find things in the Bible that we struggle to believe. But the question is — while we’re wrestling with a passage, in whom do we trust? Our own views and reasoning? The world and what it tells us is right and wrong?

Or our big God?

When we put our faith in God and his goodness, and we apply all of his Word to our lives, we glorify our heavenly Father. And we’ll experience the fullness of unsurpassing joy and peace—a joy and peace we will never attain by ignoring those sections of the Bible we think are full of onions.

May I tell you something else I’ve discovered about these Biblical “onions?”

When I submit to God, trust his Word, open wide, and in faith put that spoonful in my mouth…

The taste is sweeter than honey.

Coronavirus or Sharing the Gospel: Which is More Scary?

Like many Christians who recognize the coronavirus needs and fears all around us, I’ve tried to put my faith into action. Shopping for elderly and immunocompromised people. Donating food, toilet paper, and wipes. Calling people isolated in their homes.

But then God challenged me to notice how white the fields are now.toilet paper

No. Not white with toilet paper. With something infinitely more precious.

White for harvest.

While a true Christian’s faith absolutely results in good works, God impressed upon me that my number-one responsibility during this coronavirus pandemic should be sharing the gospel with unbelievers, many of whom are terrified and indeed ripe for harvest.

In his book The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler states it like this,

“If we confuse the gospel with our response to the gospel, we risk drifting into actions that obscure the gospel instead of revealing it. At the end of the day, our hope is not that all the poor on earth will be fed…I’m not saying we shouldn’t feed and rescue the poor; I’m saying that salvation isn’t the same as having a full belly. Making people comfortable on earth before an eternity in hell is tragic.”

Blunt words, I know. However, I realized that my coronavirus response to the gospel—shopping, donating food, phone calls—isn’t the same as telling people the good news of Jesus. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

In other words, I need to do both—share the gospel as well as share disinfecting wipes.

But sharing the gospel is kind of scary. What if I offend someone or make them mad? I’m also super uncomfortable telling people that we are all sinners and should repent, and at times I’m tempted to skip that part. Or another biggie—what if they ask me a question, and I don’t know the answer? A friend once shared the gospel with someone who then asked, “Yeah, well, if God is so loving, why did he command the Israelites to kill their enemy’s little children?” What if that happens to me?

However, I surely don’t want to stand before God some day and tell him I was more afraid of sharing the gospel than I was of the coronavirus.

Matt Chandler writes,

“We will never be able to make Christianity so cool that everybody wants it. Yet this is precisely what we are tempted to do: cut off large swaths of the gospel to make it more palatable to the lost…Acts 2 highlights the fact that we simply have to tell people the truth of the gospel. There is freedom for us in this. We don’t have to explain the gospel perfectly, defend creationism, or argue the falsity of atheism. It’s great to have those abilities, but in the end it is God who opens hearts and minds. Our responsibility is to tell people. It’s as simple as that. That’s the power of the gospel.”

I read Acts 2. Peter pretty much preached a no-holds-barred gospel. And three thousand people came to faith.

So here’s my challenge to myself.

Stop dawdling, trust God, and preach on, sister!

Today’s social-distancing requirements make proclaiming the good news a little tougher, but I can be creative. Use social media. Write a blog. 🙂 Phone or use Zoom and talk about Jesus.

Moreover, I can prepare to share. Read and study his word every day, so it’s fresh in my mind. Pray for our big God to open doors and hearts. Ask him for wisdom and discernment to understand his timing and know the words to say.praying hands over Bible

Draw near to him.

After all, we don’t need to practice social distancing from God.

Have some ideas about how we can share the gospel in our social-distancing world? Write a comment and let me know!

God bless and stay safe,