The Bible, Frozen Dinners and Shepherd's Pie
"And he said to me, 'Take and eat it; and it will make your stomache bitter, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth'." - Revelations 10:9b, NKJV
What do TV Dinners and Shepherd's Pie have to do with the Bible?
TV Dinners are an interesting little invention, aren't they? It is a meal that requires absolutely nothing from a person, save that we remove it from the box and push a few buttons on the microwave, after which we may sit back to let electricity and convection take care of the rest. So, all things considered, in less than five minutes, one is able to have a meal at their fingertips, ready to enjoy at their leisure. And the best part? There is no mess to clean up once it has been eaten; just throw it away!
Another interesting fact regarding these frozen entrées is that everything is separated out nicely and neatly into their very own little compartments. Nothing touches, mingles or intersects with any of the other items in your tray. Chicken nuggets are nestled nicely right there. And over here, we may have a small space in which a spoonful or two of corn has been provided and finally, our favorite: the magical compartment that is set aside, containing either a still-frozen or still-sizzling bite of chocolate pudding. (I am fully convinced that you will never get it just right; it is either one extreme or its the other when it comes to the dessert.)
But returning to my notes; in knowing how this food tray has been designed, I may say, "Oh, I'm not overly fond of corn," or, "I'm not in the mood for macaroni and cheese tonight, so I will just leave that part out." Therefore, if I only wish to eat the processed chicken nuggets and my burnt/frozen pudding and leave the rest out, I have been enabled to do so because someone has invented a plastic plate by which I am able to pick and choose what I wish to apply to my mealtime and what I do not.
Yet, even with all of these amazing attributes that it possesses, there is one thing that this TV Dinner cannot do: It cannot satisfy your hunger. It is a mere snack because it lacks substance and is not nourishing. It does not have everything that you need.
Shepherd's Pie, however, is a whole new menu. It requires work on your part. There is much time and preparation that goes into creating this hearty meal.This dish is comprised of everything in your fridge, as well as your pantry closet: mashed potatoes, carrots, onions, peas, corn, ground beef, eggs, cream cheese, gravy or broth, parsley and paprika... all wrapped up inside of a pie crust.
What is interesting about this dish, though, is that as you bake it the ingredients merge together and become one. So, when you eat it, you are not able to have a spoonful of one ingredient, without also taking a bite of all of its counterparts which have been included in every taste. It is all a part of your meal and there is no way to pick and choose around it.
But do you know what the best thing about this dish is? It satisfies. It has all of the nutrition that your body requires and it fills the need that you want to be met - i.e., your hunger.
The Bible is the same way. Allow me to explain: Just like a Shepherd's Pie, all of the ingredients go together. Everything mingles and intersects with everything else so that we cannot pick and choose what we want from it and leave everything else out.
For example, One may not take a bite from the most misused and misquoted verse on earth which is Matthew 7:1 (NIV), "Judge not, that ye be not judged," without also taking a spoonful from Matthew 18:15-17 (TLB), "If a brother sins against you, go to him privately and confront him with his fault. If he listens and confesses it, you have won back a brother. But if not, then take one or two others with you and go back to him again, proving everything you say by these witnesses. If he still refuses to listen, then take your case to the church, and if the church’s verdict favors you, but he won’t accept it, then the church should excommunicate him."
Just as one may not partake of Matthew 7:3 (ESV), "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" with also having a helping of 2 Timothy 4:2 (TLB), "To preach the Word of God urgently at all times, whenever you get the chance, in season and out, when it is convenient and when it is not. Correct and rebuke your people when they need it, encourage them to do right, and all the time be feeding them patiently with God’s Word."
Likewise, in John 4:16, we are told that "...God is love..." yet we also read in Ezekiel 7:9 (ESV), "And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord, who strikes."
We also read in 1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV) that, "...love will cover a multitude of sins." yet we also read this in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (TLB), "Don’t you know that those doing such things have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who live immoral lives, who are idol worshipers, adulterers or homosexuals—will have no share in his Kingdom. Neither will thieves or greedy people, drunkards, slanderers, or robbers."
So you see, unlike Frozen Entrées, we do not have the right to pick and choose what we want to follow out of the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) says that, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." which means that every word in this book came from God and that all of it is to be used. Not just potions or the verses we want to apply to our own lives. All of it.
That is not to say that we will never make mistakes, because we most certainly will. We are imperfect human beings. But there is a vast difference between making a mistake, repenting of your sin and actually turning away from it, as opposed to using God's grace and mercy as an excuse for your behavior, fully knowing that what you are doing is wrong. Galatians 6:7 (NKJV) says this, "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." What God called a sin way back in Bible times, is still a sin today because he does not change. Hebrews 13:8 (NLT) states this, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Friends, allow me to be blunt with you. God does not send anyone to hell. His heart's desire is that we would be with Him forever, in a paradise He created for that purpose.
But we, the imperfect people that we are, do send our own selves by our blatant disregard and disrespect for the rules that He clearly laid out for us to follow in His Word.
I would like to challenge you to dig into your Bibles and learn what God says, for yourself. Anyone can trick you by telling you that something is in there, but if you have not read it and studied it on your own, how will you know that you are being misled? The answer is simple. You don't. So, even if it is only a few verses every day, that is a start. Do it.
In closing, I leave you with this: Choose the pie, for it will always satisfy.
*I do not claim any rights to the photos used in this blog.
Note: If you have any questions or if you are confused about anything I have said here, please do not hesitate to ask. God has so much more planned for you. Don't wait to make Him a part of your life today. Psalms 103:11 (NIV) says this, "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;" His love for you is so much greater than any love you have ever experienced. Allow Him a place in your heart and in your life, right now.