Summary: Our ability to be grateful to God is largely dependent on the perspective we bring to life.
Title: There’s No Peanut Butter
Text: Psalm 100
The Big Idea: Our ability to be grateful to God is largely dependent on the perspective we bring to life.
The painting you see on the screen is a familiar one.
Bovey, Minnesota is a small community in south central Minnesota. In 1918 a man by the name of Eric Enstrom took a photo of an old man named Charles Wilden, a door-to-door shoe scraper salesman.
Enstrom’s daughter often replicated the photo in water colors but the family eventually sold the copyrights of the photograph to Augsburg Publishers in Minneapolis in 1945. It is now a famously familiar print framed and hung in homes around the world.
As you can see the painting depicts Charles Wilden, with his hands folded and his head bowed, saying grace over a humble meal… a loaf of bread and a bowl of soup. We know the painting as “Daily Bread” but its real name is simply “Grace.” (www.gracebyenstrom.com/news/html)
“Grace” is not without its lighter moments… a little girl had accompanied her mother to an art store where she was shopping for items to decorate her home. The little girl went her own way and for a time was separated from her mother. When her mother found her, she was staring very intently up at the painting of Charles Wilden, hands folded, head bowed, in prayer before the simple meal. She asked, “Honey, what’s wrong?” And the little girl answered, “The poor man, doesn’t have any peanut butter!”
We certainly understand that the little girl was feeling sorry for the shoe scraper salesman because he did not have the stuff to even make a good PBJ Sandwich. Her heart was good… but she does remind us that we can let the images of what we have be overshadowed by images of what we do not have. We can look directly at a loaf of bread and a bowl of soup and see “no peanut butter.”
This morning my message is going to be about perspectives… about how we think about and see things, using Psalm 100 as our eye-opener. I would like for us to begin by giving thought to our perspective of the sanctuary… of going to church.
For the Psalmist going to church, so to speak, was something he looked forward to doing.
1. There was the appeal of the sanctuary.
• “…come before him, singing with joy!” Psalm 100:2
• “Enter his gates with Thanksgiving, go into his courts with praise.” Psalm 100:4
Perhaps you identify with the guy who said, “Well, I can’t go to church now.” My shirt was wrinkled. My car has bird droppings on it. I’m having a bad hair day. I can’t find my Bible. The Broncos are playing today at 2 p.m. and two and a half hours is hardly enough to get home from church. Our pastor is out of town this week. I had to work on Saturday and today is my only day to relax. My shoes are dirty. That party last night went to three in the morning. I did not bring any money for my tithes. That car just cut me off as I was going to church and I cursed him out. My gas tank is almost on empty and I won’t make it in time if I stop for gas. Somebody might be seated in MY seat. My socks are different shades of black. I don’t feel like going to church today. It might rain. The weatherman said there was a two percent change of drizzles this week. I’m too hungry to sit through the service and my stomach will probably growl and embarrass me. I might run into a terrorist who hates Christians. There are too many hypocrites at church. No one will talk to me at church. I probably won’t like the subject that we will be talking about today. The music will be too loud or too soft, and too hard. There will probably be too many hymns or not enough hymns. They will probably do too much repetition. I don’t mind repeating the chorus to six verses of a hymn but repetition in those praise songs drives me nuts. It’s too hot in the sanctuary and I will probably sweat like a banchee. Oh no, that guy that I earlier cursed at in traffic is pulling into the church! Why, I think it’s the guest speaker! Well, I can’t go to church now. That would be silly of me, wouldn’t it? (Adapted from Tracy Young, I Can’t Go to Church Now – It Might Rain, August 7, 2007)
I must confess that I have gone to church a few times in my life… as a child it was compulsary. As an adult and a pastor… it is still compulsary. I still do not always feel like or want to go to church… but I want to want to. I think that is why I like Psalm 100. It gives me a new perspective on church-going.