Looks Great, Smells Great…But No Thanks!

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15:5 (NLT)

Imagine that you have been invited to a special meal at a friend’s home. This friend has prepared a feast and you are the guest of honor. All of your favorite foods are sitting around the table. All of the food looks great. Everything smells delicious. Everyone sits down at the table.

“Help yourself,” says the host. People begin to pick up bowls and platters and pass them your way. You hold a bowl and say, “Mmmmm, it smells so wonderful.” Then you pass the plate without taking any food. A platter is passed to you. Again, you comment as you pass the plate on to someone else, “This looks terrific!” You keep passing the plates never taking any of the food.

Imagine the host’s response. “What are you doing? Why won’t you take anything? I’ve worked so hard! Don’t you care for it? I thought these foods were your favorite!” Finally, you reply, “Well yes, they are my favorite foods, but no, I don’t actually eat the food. I just look and breathe in the aromas.”

Clearly, unless someone was on a very special diet, no one would do this! Yet, as Christ-followers, I’m afraid many of us do this very thing, spiritually speaking. We gather around a feast of good things that God prepares for us to strengthen and build our lives, such as the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship with other believers, worship and serving others in ministry. Too often our response is similar to the imaginary story described above. “Mmmm… Boy that mission project sure looks good, but no thanks,” or, “Wow, I know that small group Bible study is so wonderful, but it’s not for me.” And so, we sit at the table of a spiritual feast and then pass the plates without taking anything.

God wants us to move beyond a safe, mediocre diet of Christianity–to experience all of what God offers in order to build our lives–so that we truly become all that He has created us to be. We need an ongoing connection to Jesus in order to remain healthy and effective as His servants!

Today, whatever spiritual growth opportunities come your way, be sure to dig in!

1. What opportunities have you passed up recently but know they would be good for your spiritual growth? Are you able to reconsider? If so, will you?

2. What priorities in your life might have to be reordered to enable you to say yes to a spiritual growth opportunity?

Luke 5:1-11; John 6:25-59; 1 Peter 2:2-3

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Jim Liebelt

Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has over 35 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on Crosswalk.com and Religiontoday.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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