- Tim Patterson
PLYMOUTH – We had been collecting “coke” bottles for most of the day. Both of us had gone from house to house and asked our neighbors if they had any lying around, they did not want. Some folks were very kind and generous while others just directed us back to the street from whence we had come.
There was one gentleman on “Avenue D” who had what seemed to be an inordinate passion for Dr. Pepper. He also knew that periodically Ricky Burrows and I would be coming by asking for pop bottle donations to our very worthy causes.
We always had a worthy cause, and as far as we were concerned, collecting enough money for the movies or for a box of “b-b’s” was as admirable as any foundation raising money for orphaned children.
On this particular day we had decided that we needed food supplies for our “fort”. It wasn’t much of a fort, just a few scraps of tin and some construction wire covered with a tarp I had borrowed from Dad’s shed.
We knew full well that any standing army must be well fed to do battle with marauding savages, Nazi’s, or motorcycle gangs. (There were thousands of them in our small hamlet!)
After several hours of collecting, we made our way to the local “Pick-Pac” convenience store, traded in our bottles, and purchased the needed provisions. We bought the largest jar of peanut butter that we could find and a loaf of bread.
Now, of course, we didn’t buy the expensive Jif, but some store brand that had about an inch of oil floating on top. This didn’t deter us but merely gave us an opportunity to play in the pasty brown concoction until the oil was well mixed.
It was about 4:00 p.m. when we finally made it back to the fort and that is when the feasting began. One after the other, Ricky and I ingested sandwich after sandwich. I think I ate four or five myself. When we could eat no more, all we could do was lay there like a couple of old hound dogs that just gorged themselves on fresh roadkill. We were full and miserable.
About that time, I heard my dad’s familiar whistle, and I knew it was time for supper. I slowly, but obediently, got up and headed for home. When I walked in the back door, there spread out over the kitchen bar was a feast fit for a king. It was payday, and Mom had prepared my favorite meal. Fried shrimp, french-fries and all the fixings. I could not believe my eyes or my lack of appetite. I could not eat one bite of food. In fact, the smell even made me a bit nauseous. The infamous “spoiled appetite” had overcome me.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard people say, “I just didn’t get anything out of the worship service today. The preaching was boring, the music was dead, and no one talked to me.”
The problem is that the majority of those who voice that complaint came to church with a “spoiled appetite” for the things of God. All week long they have filled their spiritual stomachs with the food of the world, and when they come to God’s house to be fed, they can’t “stomach” it. In fact, it is distasteful to them.
(Of course, the problem does not lie with them or their lack of discipline but with the pastor and the rest of those Christians!)
Friends, when we have developed a taste for the things of the world, and fill our lives with them, no wonder we cannot grow spiritually and we have no desire for His Word. This is one reason why so many of those who claim to be Christians today are spiritually malnourished, dying a slow spiritual death, and have great difficulty living the victorious Christian life.
This week carefully consider what you are feeding your soul. It may taste good, but it could very well spoil your appetite.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.