Last week, I really wanted a BLT. I kept thinking about the BLTA Croissant that Red Robin has on the menu, and I couldn't get the idea of having such a tasty sandwich out of my head. Unfortunately, pay-day isn't until tomorrow, so running out and paying the $9-some-odd for the sandwich was out of the question. Instead, I went to Safeway to pick up an avocado ($0.50) and a bun ($0.59). I already had the bacon and lettuce at home.
What you see here is my take on the BLTA Croissant - a BLTA on blue cheese and pepper cibatta roll. Oh, it was delicious! The perfect balance of smooth toppings, crispy bacon, and spicy bread. I really don't think the actual Red Robin sandwich would have held a candle to this fantastic creation. And to think, it only cost me a total of $2 to make it myself (including the ingredients I had at home).
This got me thinking, though. If I can make such a rewarding meal at home on the cheap, why do I go to restaurants instead? Yes, you get a different experience in the themed atmosphere, and it's nice to have someone serve you from time to time ... but half the reward of this particular meal was the fact that I made it myself.
I often draw parallels between the Church and my everyday life, and this situation was no exception. For the longest time, I went to my church every Sunday expecting to be fed by the congregation - I was expecting the show-up-and-be-satisfied restaurant experience. Most of the time, though, I left unfulfilled. Some weeks worship wouldn't be intense enough for me. Others the minister's message would be just a little off target. For a long time, I was frustrated with the church experience.
Imagine going into Red Robin expecting their typical high-level of service and watching them fall short of your expectations. It wouldn't cut it, would it?
But if you think of the Church as a home instead, things change dramatically. It's no longer the ministry's responsibility to feed you. You become one of the cooks. Your level of satisfaction is directly proportional to what you bring to the table and put together in the kitchen.
Think of the Church as a potluck rather than a restaurant. If you walk away unsatisfied, who was really at fault? Did you show up empty-handed expecting the rest of the congregation to provide the meal? If you have that kind of mindset, what's to say your brothers and sisters in Christ won't share it? When supplying the meal becomes "someone else's" responsibility, no one steps up to take care of it.
When you show up to church (or any opportunity to share in fellowship), are you a restaurant patron or a cook? Are you the one making the meal, or are you sitting at the table expecting to be fed?