Of French Fries and Steak
Written February 2018
I know what you are thinking. What in the world does french fries and steak have to do with numbering our days and the preciousness of life? Well I hope they have a lot to do with it when looked at properly. Growing up I ate my fair share of french fries. I like almost every man, woman and child in the US loves a good french fry. Curly, shoestring, fast food, or big steak fries they are all tasty morsels that are like fried slices of heaven with salt on them. I would probably be amazed at how many french fries I have eaten during my childhood because the number would probably be astronomical. Here’s the thing, though I have eaten a huge number of french fries I bet I have hardly savored any of them. By savored I mean to give oneself to the enjoyment of, to relish in the taste and smell of something. The closest I probably got to truly savoring the taste of a french fry was when I tried to see how many I could stuff into my mouth at one time. Fries were meant to go along with a mean, they were numerous and expendable, there for fleeting enjoyment. Now steak, that’s a different story.
Back when I was first entered into full time ministry I was invited to a ministers banquet. Though I had only been a pastor for a little while I was excited to be able to be part of this event and I had no idea what to expect but I was amazed at the dinner that was served. I have no clue if I had a salad, vegetables, bread, or even something to drink. My brain has decided that those minor details of the meal paled in comparison to one thing, the steak. I do not know who prepared it, nor do I know any of the details behind where it came from, but that night I was served the greatest prime rib I have ever had in my life. Whatever you imagine your absolutely perfect steak to be, this was it. It was flavorful, juicy, seasoned to perfection, cooked perfectly and every bite was Christmas morning. To this day I have not had a steak surpass that one I had so long ago. I will tell you this though, I savored every single bite. This was a meal that was to be taken slowly, and every bit enjoyed for as long as possible. I cut small bites, I used every drop of au jus, and savored every last bite.
The way I look at it is we have a choice. We can either treat life like steak or french fries. We can savor this life or spend it frivolously. We can cherish it or treat it like it is a cheap side dish. God gave us this amazing thing called life, I do not think that He did so that we would treat this life which disregard but to value it and use it for everything that it can be. So I ask again, “what are you doing with the life you have been given in light of the fact that life is precious?”
Do you treat life like a super sized order of McDonald’s fries? Devouring the days without tasting the minutes? Or do you treat the life you have like a magnificent steak, savoring each moment? Each one of us has a life to live, how we perceive our life and treat our life will make all the difference.
Allow me to give five truths about life and ways we should live in light of these truths.
First, life is precious, cherish the time you have and those that are around you.
On Wednesday nights we have a little time called “Getting to Know You” where I ask questions to everyone and we share memories and our thoughts on different things. During one of these times of “Getting to Know You” I asked a question about who you would have dinner with if you could choose anyone past or present. I remember asking that question and I honestly thought we would have a couple of famous individuals like George Washington or Billy Graham thrown into the mix, but the persons that were mentioned more than anyone else were parents and grandparents who had passed away. To me that is very telling, it says that those that are around us are precious and the time that we spend with them is priceless.
This life affords us the opportunity to spend time with friends, family, and loved ones, let us seize the opportunity to do so as often as we can. Beyond that we should also make every effort to break down the barriers that so easily pop up which keep us from fellowshipping together. I remember back about 10 or so years ago I knew a man who was not doing well health wise. He was up in years and battling diabetes as well as some other issues. He had one daughter that lived close but did not have the closest relationship with her dad.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32
This individual did pass and I remember in planning the funeral service that I was asked probably the oddest question I have ever had in planning a service of any type. The daughter, who had a son, asked how to make sure that her son did not come to the funeral and what to do if he did show up. I am not sure what transpired in the past but something had broken the relationship and nothing had been done to mend what was broken. What struck me was the fact that in a time of grief and heartache that someone would want to push others away rather than embracing them.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! -Psalm 133:1
Life is precious and it is far too short to hold grudges, unforgiveness, and animosity. When we share time and fellowship with one another it produces memories and events that are far more precious than any amount of money or property we could ever imagine. Therefore anything that would block us from that fellowship must be addressed and taken care of immediately.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, -Ephesians 4:26
Let us then, through our lives, regard life as precious and do all we can to fellowship, love, and cherish those that are around us. If you have a grudge or unforgiveness in your heart towards another, make amends seek or ask for forgiveness and mend the bonds that have been broken. Life is far too precious to live with the ugliness of unforgiveness and avoid the beauty of fellowship.
Second, life is powerful, use it for the glory of God.
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. -1 Thessalonians 4:1
It is interesting to consider that when God wanted to accomplish His will and incredible things in this world He almost always used the lives of ordinary individuals. Just a few times we see God using His angels, or animals, of Himself entering into this world. In creation it was God alone working, in the destruction of certain armies or cities it was the work or angels, but almost every time in Scriptures where God wanted to do something amazing he used ordinary individuals with no special talents or powers.
Moses was stutterer, David was a shepherd, most of the disciples were uneducated fishermen but he used their lives to utterly shake up the world in which we live today. Today, God is using ordinary, regular people to do amazing things through missions, teaching ministries, evangelistic outreaches, and everyday encounters with the lost. These people do not have superpowers or PH. D’s in theology and evangelism but rather they are ones who are just following God and being obedient to Him. That makes it pretty clear, life is powerful.
I remember back in the heat of summer a picture of Willis Carrier kept circulating around facebook. Who is Willis Carrier? He is the inventor of the air conditioner. Usually the picture had a caption that read this is Willis Carrier the inventor of the air conditioner, let’s take a moment and be thankful for him and his invention. In the heat of summer with the AC blasting out nice cool air you couldn’t help but be thankful that someone invented that wonderful machine.
Your life, which is powerful and is something God wants to use, will be remembered somehow and in some way. When we live for the glory of God the impact we have might be minor in this world. We may never have our face plastered all over facebook being remembered for an amazing invention, but we will make a huge impact in heaven, where we will have made an eternal difference.
as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. -Philippians 1:20-21
When you look at your life what are you impacting for the glory of God? Let me give you at least three places where you should be living to make a Godly impact in the world around you. First, your home. Moms, dads, the greatest impact you and I can make for God is in the lives of our children to ready them to live lifes that are pleasing to God. For kids still living with their parents you can impact the lives of your parents by showing your faith and growing in Christ. You can ask questions about God, pray, and serve God and be an amazing blessing to your family. Second would be your church. Church is the place where we find great ministries and ways we can impact the lives of others. Each Sunday and Wednesday is a chance to bless others and seize opportunities to give God glory through worship, service,
and counseling. Finally your work. These are the people that you interact with and who see you everyday. When you live for God others cannot help but see that. It doesn’t mean you come to work preaching and hound people with Scriptures all day, it means you work with a Christ centered heart, Christ centered actions, and Christ like love for others around you.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16
I am what is referred to as a child of the eighties. My childhood spanned those years and I grew up playing the old Nintendo Entertainment System, watching the cartoons of the 80’s, and was immersed in that culture. Video games were a huge part of my childhood and I remember one game that I played was called Strider. In it you played as a character named Hiryu who goes and saves his kidnapped friend Kain. In the game you get different weapons and power ups and I remember one time I was playing I got the most powerful weapon in the game. It was some type of huge laser blaster but you were only able to shoot it one time. I remember waiting and waiting and waiting until the very end of the game to get to the final boss battle. When I finally got there I let him have it. See, I knew the value of that one shot. It was so powerful I couldn’t waste it on a small enemy but I needed to wait to use it on something big.
Life is the same way. It is powerful and makes a huge impact. With a powerful life what type of impact are you making? Where are you aiming your one shot? Is the life you are living now making more of an impact in the world around you or in heaven?
Thirdly, Life is valuable, spend it on the best things.
Back when I was in high school my youth group when white water rafting on the French Broad River in the mountains. It was a wonderful trip where we camped out the day before and got up early, packed up our gear and went to where we were going to go rafting. Before we boarded the rafts and donned our life vests we had a chance to walk through the store they had and I remember one boy in our group who was just itching to spend some money. He was intrigued by a container you could put items in that said it would keep your wallet or valuables dry. Well, even against his father’s advice, he purchased this plastic container. When we went and got into our rafts the guide mentioned to my friend that the container he bought would probably not keep his items dry as it was very prone to leaking and sure enough it did.
Have you ever done that before? Bought something and regretted it a few hours late. You were swept up in your desire to get something now and let your heart have your wallet as opposed to your head. Well, losing a few dollars isn’t so bad, what is bad is when you spend something that is immensely valuable and come away with something worthless.
Life is a currency measured in minutes, hours, days, and years. Once we spend it, it’s gone for good. No receipt will ever give you back your minutes as there is no return policy on life. Therefore the choices we make in how we spend our time are
some of the most important decisions we will ever make.
To all of our youth and those at the beginning of your lives, please take these words seriously. Don’t spend your time on things that will yield poor results. Spend it on the things that really matter in this life and it will bless you all of your life.
Forth, Life is brief, take care of the important things first.
This point is very much like the last in that it deals with how we spend our time. I am thankful for the education that I have received. I appreciate the fact that I was able to go to college and seminary and received the degrees that I have. I am also thankful that I did this very early on in my life because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to earn the same degrees now in the same time I did then. Though it was not the easiest thing to do, Allison and I pushed through college and got our degrees and we are better off because of it. We took care of an important thing first.
I’m glad we took care of those things. You know in life if you take care of the important things first, life is much easier and much better. I remember back in college I had a friend on my hall that was from up north. He had a distinct northern accent and was proud of it. He was studying to be a preacher like I was so there was some comradery there but one thing that was absent was a good focus. Rather than finishing the courses and pushing through school my friend dropped out, I thought this was sad because in him was a great deal of potential.
Friends life is short, therefore the important things must come first. The temptation is great to substitute something truly good for something fun and fleeting. What truly important things are you putting off in your life that need to have top priority?
Finally, life is limited, be ready for the end.
One of the truths that kept popping into my mind with every tragic and sad event over this past year is the fact that one day I too will pass from this life into the next. I know that thinking about death is not a pleasant activity but it is a reality we all must deal with.
For me in thinking about this I always go back to the story of how I came to Christ and surrendered my life to Him. I go and remember the anchor of my life is not placed in something in this world but in Christ my Savior Who died for me and rose again from the grave. So though it might not be pleasant to think about I know assuredly that I am ready for the end.
How about you? Are you ready for the end?
How about your life. How are you spending this amazing, precious, and powerful thing called life.
Remember, only one life, this soon will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last. May we spend our lives wisely to the glory of God.