That’s not a tough choice for me. It’s Blue Bell every time. Spinach? Carrots? Artichokes? Get real— who would choose either of them over a bowl of Mocha Almond Fudge? Don’t tell me “they’re good for you,” because I want what I want, and it sure isn’t broccoli!
To be perfectly honest, the previous remarks are very close to my true feelings, and that may be obvious to all. While I still may not eat everything I should, I learned the hard way that if I eat too much cake and ice cream, I will pay a painful price. I need some vegetables to have good health, so sometimes I eat a little spinach, broccoli, etc., even though I would rather have Blue Bell.
One responsibility that rests upon preachers and elders is that of providing a good, healthy diet for the local congregation in which they serve. The world, and some that call themselves Christians, never want to eat their “vegetables,” always preferring ice cream and cake. A congregation that feasts on nothing, but the “sweets” of the gospel is inevitably headed downhill. What they hear is pleasant to their ears, and they refuse to hear anything that may sound like solid food, that which is necessary for congregational and personal health.
Shame on members who refuse and complain when the “negatives” of the gospel message are proclaimed to them! And shame on preachers and elders who cave in to pressure from weak members, agreeing to serve up only ice cream from the pulpit.
The Bible has something to say on this subject, and it reveals the authority of God. Note that Paul wrote:
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ… Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Tim.4:1-4).
There you have it– will it be ice cream? or broccoli? Will it be “the Word,” or will it be fables? God’s elders and preachers are told in no uncertain terms that it must be “the Word,” but some may choose that which tastes better because of their “itching ears,” wanting only that which is palatable to them.
Some Gospel “Vegetables” We Need:
Just as the human body needs a balanced diet, so does the body of Christ. As a child, some of our parents made us eat things we didn’t want– like asparagus! But surely, we grew up and realized there were some things we needed, and had sense enough to keep our body healthy. There are times in a congregation’s life that we need to hear, “warn them that are unruly” (1 Thess. 5:14). We will need to hear what the Bible says about sin, and fellowship, and hear God say “thou shalt not” as well as “thou shalt” (see Galatians 5, Romans 1,Ephesians 5).
We will always need to know what Jesus said about marriage, divorce and remarriage (see Matthew 19 and Romans 7). That may be spinach or broccoli to some, but it is part of the diet God has prescribed. We may not want to hear about our need as Christians to keep ourselves “pure,” but that doesn’t change the fact that we must do so (see 1 Timothy 5:22). “Please eat your vegetables!”
Some “Sweets” in the Scriptures That Are Especially Worthy of Our Thoughts:
Having made the previous comments, we quickly want to remind us of the beautiful, wonderful and lovely things God has promised us. Consider these:
- “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20).
- “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called sons of God” (l John 3:1)
- The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).
- “How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psa. 36:7)
Why not learn to appreciate the “rebuke” as well as the “exhort” of the gospel? Both are good for you.