Having a couple of hours to spare last Friday evening, my wife and I headed out to a well established local riverside eatery for some dessert and coffee. I will refrain from giving a review of the place but I really must tell you about dessert.
My wife had chosen Sticky Toffee Pudding. I had decided upon Hot Apple Pie with Custard. When the waiter brought the desserts he made sure he covered health and safety regulations and warned us that, “the plates are very hot; do take care”. His manager would have been proud. Our appetites immediately grew as, let’s admit it, there can be nothing more delicious than a freshly made custard-covered pudding served piping hot. I’m sure we must have replied, “Oh yummy”, or something similar – I fail to remember.
Imagine my surprise then when my first spoonful of custard was barely lukewarm. The Apple Pie was crunchy as my spoon broke through the outer pastry; yet the crunch came not from perfectly baked apple, but ice crystals. My wife had fared little better with tepid custard and cold sticky toffee pudding. The details of the rest of our dining experience are perhaps for another time; but we left unsatisfied.
Here is the moral of this little tale. If the food aint hot; it doesn’t matter how hot the plate is – the meal is spoiled. Church ministry leaders take note. A local church’s ministries, departments, programmes, teams and groups are only plates. They are simply vehicles for serving up the food. Yes, let’s pursue excellence and creativity and make sure we always do the best we can, remembering that even the little things can make a big difference (a warm welcome by a member of a church’s hospitality team is surely as important as a clean plate in a restaurant). Yet we must make sure that we serve Jesus and His cause hot. He is the staple meal of life. All the flavoursome and lasting goodness is in Him.
Join me in being committed to serving the good news up hot. If your church’s ministries are operating like a well oiled machine, that is fantastic but do please pause a moment. It could be worth it. Shiny hot plates don’t always mean hot food. Excellent departments don’t necessarily mean authentic spirit-filled, Jesus-centric ministry.
Let’s serve Him hot.