Summary: We are to be disciples not converts.
This is the season of Lent. Lent is the 40 period prior to Easter in which Christians have been encouraged to remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross for our salvation by giving up something for the entire 40 days. For some persons some type of food, like chocolate, is given up.
Speaking of food, much has been said this past year about the fat content in fast food and there has been at least one lawsuit filed against McDonalds for their negligence in contributing to the obesity problem in this country.
Earlier this year a federal judge dismissed a class action lawsuit on behalf of New York children against McDonald’s. In fact, there were five counts of alleged wrongdoing against the fast-food company.
One count charged that McDonald’s “deceived the public by stating its foods were nutritious and encouraging consumers to “supersize” meals without disclosing negative health effects.”
Another count alleged that McDonald’s “acted negligently by selling foods high in cholesterol, fat, salt and sugar - ingredients that cause obesity and detrimental health effects.” In response to this count the judge said, “Nobody is forced to eat at McDonalds [or to] supersize their meals... [And] as long as a consumer exercises free choice with appropriate knowledge, liability for negligence will not attach to a manufacturer.”
So I ask you, McDonald’s or Cracker Barrel? Golden arches or rocking chairs and great gifts? Big Mac or Turnip Greens?
I asked this past week both via e-mail and face-to-face “McDonalds or Cracker Barrel?” Of those who responded 12 were for Cracker Barrel and 4 for McDonalds. A 3 to 1 margin.
As we continue to consider what it means to be a faithfully functioning church, we must also consider the dangers of a fast food faith as well. For just as poor eating can lead to health problems so can the lack of proper spiritual nutrients lead to a lack of spiritual growth and health.
In a very important passage of scripture, Matthew 28: 19, Jesus tells His disciples to go and make disciples not converts. Have you ever wonder why Jesus used the word “disciple” and not the word “convert?”
We preach in our tradition the need for conversion. And, of course, it is my desire, as well as yours, that people experience saving faith through confession and repentance of their sins. But, there is more to the Christian life that just getting saved. Scripture is clear that spiritual life and growth is essential and necessary to fully experience life with God.
In our main text that was read earlier, Hebrews 5:11 - 6:3, the problem and more importantly, the dangers of a fast-food faith is confronted. And we need to understand the context of this segment before we look more closely at it.
The opening chapters of Hebrews deal with the person and work of Jesus Christ. But, by the time the author gets to verse 10 of chapter 5, there is a pause and a change of direction, “There is so much more we would like to say about this. But you don’t seem to listen, so it’s hard to make you understand. You have been Christians a long time now, and you ought to be teaching others.” Why is this statement made? Why is there a sudden change of direction? Why does the spiritual maturity of this group of followers become an issue? One possibility comes to mind, the lack of spiritual maturity is keeping this church from understanding and experiencing more of what God has for them!