Monday, June 3, 2013

Gospel Buffet: Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast is one of my three favorite meals of the day.  A few times a year we'll enjoy a splurge of a breakfast buffet, one of those grand displays of breakfast foods spread out across a room.  

Ever notice that people approach buffets differently?  There are the Initiators, those who grab the nearest plate and start at the first buffet line, making their way until the plate is full.  They go back to their seat, enjoy their food and then start back again where they left off.  There are the Pick and Rollers, those who ping pong around the room, cutting in line to select specific items.  Then there are the Strategists, those who start by walking around the room, strategizing their approach before implementing their plan. You usually see them in the omelette line early.  If you like to people-watch, it is interesting sociological study just to observe behaviors around a grand buffet.  Whatever the approach, a great buffet offers more wonderful food than one person can consume in a single sitting.

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  What we consume in the beginning of our day affects everything else the rest of the day. If we under-eat or eat poorly, we'll feel it.  If we eat well (in both senses of the word), we'll feel it. As true as this is with our physical bodies, so it is with our spiritual life. Scotty Smith confesses he cannot conceive of a better way to begin every day than feasting on the Gospel, on a breakfast buffet of God's grace.  In his wonderful devotional book Everyday Prayers, he writes:  
Apart from the gospel, I'll whine more than I'll worship.  Apart from the gospel, I'll judge people more than I'll seek to understand them.  Apart from the gospel, I'll get my feelings hurt quicker than being careful not to offend others.  Apart from the gospel, I'll avoid people who want more from me than I want to give them. 
Apart from the gospel, I'll react selfishly to irritants rather than responding graciously.  Apart from the gospel, I'll talk more than I listen.  Apart from the gospel, I'll think about me much more than I think about you.  Apart from the gospel, I won't risk anything; I'll do just enough to get by.  Apart from the banquet of the gospel, I'll be reaching for junk food all day long, literally and figuratively.
Starting the day feasting on God's grace changes everything that happens after.  It may be tempting to start the day by chewing on insecurities, pressures, conditions, weaknesses, evil, or all that is wrong in our lives or in the world.  Those may be the most natural places we go, like filling a buffet plate with donuts.  We reach for them without even thinking - and we feel it later.  Instead, by starting the day with the Gospel: 
  • God's love for you, 
  • God's forgiveness, 
  • God's grace and mercy, 
  • God's declaration of who you are in His eyes, 
everything else is experienced differently. We are filled up with the nutrients and goodness of the Gospel.  Those insecurities, pressures, conditions, weaknesses, evil or even all that is wrong in and around us are handled differently when we start with what is ultimately true.  

Starting with the buffet of the Gospel reminds us that if God is for us, who can be against us.  We start being filled up with the truth that in Jesus, we are more than conquerers through Him who loved us.  The buffet of the Gospel is better and more than any one person can consume in a single sitting.  There is no better way to start (and continue through) the day.  It is the breakfast of champions.

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