To me, probably the saddest place to end up going for lunch is the mall food court, especially if you really have no other business at the mall… just going there to eat. To eat and therefore to be harassed by toothpick wielding chicken pushers. While some might say you could eat for free by simply making circles, I say you have just as good a chance in contracting salmonella…. except maybe from the old guy handing out Chick-Fil-A nuggets.
Which brings me to this thought: why is Chick-Fil-A even participating in this chicken-hawking food court madness to begin with? Don’t they know most of us have a low grade addiction to their God-ordained products already? The thing is- if my childhood memories are correct, and admittedly, most are fabrications of 30+ years of trying to be funny- Chick Fil A might have actually been the first people to stand around with toothpicks. However, in some ways today, they are really just convincing the already convinced, right? There is really no attempt being made to actually drum up new business there. Especially when the old guy with the nuggets at my mall is handing them out to people as they are getting in line… at Chick-Fil-A. And, as I proved (TWICE), he will give you one as you are walking AWAY after purchasing or getting a drink refill. So really, when it comes down to it, I guess these are just bonus nuggets for being a customer… either that or I AM as good looking as I think I am.
Which makes me wonder… how much of what we are doing as the Church is just convincing the already convinced? Are we distributing our best product to those in line who are already raving fans? Might we be going so far as to focus our energies on those who are already “all in” and be oblivious to the needs of people walking in and out of our lives and ministry every day? There are surely a bunch of other options out there for them to choose from (bourbon to terriyaki?), and we might be missing those who are truly searching, going for the easy sell to those already in line. Thinking about this brought to mind the story (and the song for that matter) of Zacchaeus from Luke 19:
1Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’ “ 8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
So, Jesus was headed in a known way and intentionally intersecting with the lives of people who were looking for Him, doing whatever they could to just watch him walk by… Probably not so different than people around us who look to substances or relationships for fulfillment, even if it is fleeting and just walking in and out of their lives. It was not the easy or popular thing to do, but Jesus broke away from convention and offered samples of himself to the crowd of souls searching for something more. Not only did he meet them where they were, but He was compelled to be a part of who they were… allowing for public affection to become private adoration. And the result was salvation.
Jesus was here to save the lost, not satiate the found.
He came to seek the seeking, not convince the convinced.
Challenging thought as I lead myself and others to connect to the real Jesus in a real way.