Imagine someone that eats only once a week. They are starving throughout the whole week and the only day they can eat, they eat a bag of Funyuns and a handful of Skittles. It may be enjoyable to eat and taste good going down, but there is almost zero nutritional value and it isn’t going to keep you full for very long. This is the sort of empty-calorie fulfillment that is offered in many churches today. Churches that are more about “program” than they are about worship. And contrary to popular belief, “worship” is not singing along with the church band for the obligatory 3 or 4 songs before the next activity on the usual one-hour Sunday program. Songs can be form of praise, but only if done with the right heart, motives and intentions.
I recently read a quote that said, “A church can have all the programs in the world, but if the people aren’t changing, all you have is religion….a show on Sunday.” All you have are Funyuns and Skittles. Which means, no matter how well intended or implemented, all the church programs in the world will never fulfill the deep longing of the human soul for spiritual intimacy with their Creator through personal worship. Yet, that is what so many people in the church clamor for nowadays. They want a church that has a lot of good programs, good entertainment, and all sorts of fun and interesting activities for families and children. Christians are spiritually starving and they are trying to fill themselves with the spiritual equivalent of Funyuns and Skittles. That is, if they even bother to go to church at all.
In Milton’s poem “Lycidas”, he says, “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” To this, A.W. Tozer said, “It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the kingdom, to see God’s children starving while actually seated at the Father’s table….To great sections of the Church the art of worship has been lost entirely, and in its place has come that strange and foreign thing called the ‘program.’ This word has been borrowed from the stage and applied with sad wisdom to the type of public service which now passes for worship among us….For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in [daily] personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth.”
The Apostle Paul said we should hunger for spiritual meat, but most people in the church are too distracted by the world and thus, content with their spiritual milk. Spiritual milk doesn’t force us to contemplate how we are living our lives, neither does it compel us to examine our faith, this is because spiritual milk is easy to digest, no chewing involved, just a little sip here and a little sip there. It’s as easy on our conscience as it is on our digestion, because in either case, not much effort is expended or involved. Spiritual milk is a better fit for our busy, bustling lives because we can close it up in a container and carry it around with us as we go about our business. Some of us don’t even bother to put it in a nice glass, ‘cuz we’re way too busy for that, just pour it in a to-go cup with a lid and a straw and we’re good for the week. You can survive on spiritual milk, but you can’t spiritually mature on it.
The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians that he couldn’t even speak to them about the deeper spiritual things because they were still babies, only able to sip milk, unable to bear solid spiritual food because they were still too worldly. Spiritual meat is harder to digest and you have to chew on it a while before you can swallow it. If you take too big of a bite at one time, you could even choke. Spiritual meat is not a convenient, pre-packaged grab-and-go meal. Spiritual meat requires an investment of your time, your effort and your attention. The American version of Christianity requires just a once-a-week investment of your time and virtually no investment of your effort and attention because we are too busy with our own lives to bother with God’s kingdom. We are too busy stuffing our face with Funyuns and Skittles.
“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly–mere infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready. You are still worldly.” (1 Cor 3:1-3)
“About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again, and you have become those having need of milk and not strong meat! For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But strong meat is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Heb 5:11-14)
“Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity,” (Heb 6:1)