While helping our agricultural economists determine their angle for their Fall economic report, I asked them, “Will there be turkey at Thanksgiving?” This was their first economic report before a major holiday in 2020, and I knew it was a valid question to ask in the middle of a pandemic.
Their answer: Yes, but other dishes might take center stage. It could even be replaced by steak or fish, or lots of side dishes.
Needless to say, it made for an interesting report, and news reporters gobbled it up after we released it (pun intended).
I personally found it to be a lesson on so much more than just menu-planning. I started reflecting on my behavior, my faith, and how so often I traded out the main course of Jesus for a side dish of culture…pandemic or not.
Let’s start it simple: Getting the family out of the house to make it to the Sunday service on time. The stress to get the kids dressed and loaded, and the conflicts that arise when you’re running late. But the main thing is to experience Jesus.
Christmas - the chaos behind finishing our shopping list, getting the cards out, and the presents wrapped is another example of us being distracted from the main thing: to experience Jesus.
Or how about the fun debate Christians sometimes engage in when it comes to Bible translations: NKJV vs. ESV, the Message vs. the Passion translation? While I’m sure there are some valid reasons behind their choices, the hurt I’ve seen others cause and experience because of their choice in Scripture translation is unnecessary. The main thing is to experience Jesus.
The solve: Let the main thing be the main thing.
Maybe we’re a few minutes late to service, but if we extend the same grace the Lord’s given us to our families, their experience with Jesus can start before they get to Church…before we wrap the presents…before we get disgruntled by their choice in Bibles. Our actions don’t always reflect our intentions, but they can often reflect our faith.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
If Jesus is the main thing in our lives - all else will follow.
Because here’s the thing, turkey may not be the main course on the Thanksgiving menu because there’s a shortage of turkeys or people around the table. But there never has been and never will be a shortage of God.
“Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” Psalm 34:9-10
Friends, I know how noisy the world is and how demanding our culture can be. But keeping our gaze on the Lord saves us from giving anything else the power that only God truly has.
Let’s not make idols out of our circumstances, our careers, or our lists. The King is so much more than just a side dish. He is the main course that broke His body so that we can be made whole.