The second week in February of this year I left the church office and was headed down Guess Road to make my way to Clements Funeral Home for a visitation. As I got to Carver Street, traffic was backed up. I thought it was strange, but figured there must have been a wreck and the traffic was moving slowly.
As I made my way past Guess Road Baptist Church, I noticed people were trying to move over into the left hand lane. It was the right lane that was backing up. As I approached Bethany Methodist Church, I could see some blue lights flashing in the center of the road. Just as I thought, it must have been a wreck.
As I got closer to Bo-jangles, I realized it was not a wreck at all. The traffic was backed up because people were in line to go to the new Popeye’s! People were backed up a half a mile up the road just so they could be one of the first to say they had been to the new Popeye’s.
Here I am worried I won’t get to the funeral home in time and these people are causing a major traffic pileup. I am trying to minister to a grieving family and these people are waiting in line for fast food Cajun chicken.
Think about it, these people are not hungry, because if they were, they wouldn’t be waiting in a drive thru line for an hour to place their order. If they were really hungry, they would have stopped by any of the other fast food options along the way.
We live in a culture where people are hungry spiritually. Many of them though, want a type of fast food spirituality. I had a seminary professor who used to say that American Christianity was just like Burger King. He said people had a “Have it your way” mentality when it came to spirituality. It would fill you up for a time, but was full of empty calories.
David describes the people of Israel in a similar way. In Psalm 107, he paints various pictures of people searching for ways to fill the emptiness inside their hearts and lives. David describes these people as having a “longing soul” and a “hungry soul.” People, who have hungry souls, try to fill themselves with things that cannot satisfy them completely. Many turn to drugs, alcohol, relationships, career, fame, and even religion, just to name a few.
The only true way to satisfy and fill your soul is with a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus describes Himself as the “Bread of Life’ and the “Living Water”. Those who come to Him will never thirst nor hunger again. He completely satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul.
Many of our churches run like fast food restaurants. They put up buildings and a sign and expect people to drive up and come in. They have it all wrong. Christianity is not about “ya’ll come”, it is more about “we go”, “we invite” and “we bring”. If we really knew and understood what Jesus has to offer the longing and hungry soul, we would have a traffic jam every week at our churches.
By the way, I have eaten at the new Popeye’s. Pretty soon, the newness will rub off and traffic will settle back to normal. Popeye’s will become just another option for fast food.
Jesus is not just another option for the hungry soul. He is the only option.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.