Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Boy Named Chocolate Chip

Last week, our pastor asked me to speak briefly at the beginning of church on behalf of Sunday School and Bible study. It was a difficult request to fill.

For one thing, he used the words speak and briefly in the same request.

For another, he asked me to do that brief speaking on my favorite topic. It’s hard enough to limit the verbal meandering on a regular old topic. Limiting the word count on the topic about which I’m the most passionate is nearly impossible. It’s like asking the Duchess to speak briefly about her grandchildren.

Plus, what was I going to say?

How was I going to look out at that congregation and convey to them in five minutes or less what they’re missing when they don’t dig deeply into the Word of God. I wanted to be convicting without being condemning. I wanted so desperately to convey that the study of God’s Word isn’t something I do to satisfy the law. It’s something I do to satisfy the longing.  

And then I remembered a boy named Chip.

Years ago, I met a young boy with food allergies. These weren’t your run of the mill food allergies. These were of the severe sort, the type of allergies which, if his food were merely to touch items in the no fly zone, could lead to almost immediate death. Consequently, his parents had to watch him like a hawk. 

I was talking to Chip one day and asked him about the foods which were taboo to him. Poor kid…the list was exhaustive. I listened without comment until he reached one item.


The kid was allergic to chocolate.

Now folks, in Debbie Land, that would be a fate worse than death, and because I don’t have the sense I was born with, I told him so. I launched into an insensitive little yakabout lamenting all that he was missing. I’m pretty sure I used the words, bless your heart before I realized what I was doing and stopped.

Chip looked at me with a completely straight face and asked, “Is it good?”

Is it good?

He didn’t know, of course. The boy had never tasted chocolate. He had no idea what he was missing. Chip’s parents didn’t have to worry about him sneaking death defying little bits of chocolate heaven because Chip didn’t long for it. To him, it was just some brown stuff that other people ate.

Stick with me folks. There's a reason for my rambling. 

You see, I think God’s Word is kind of like Chip’s chocolate.  It's the most wonderful treat in the world, yet  many professed Christians have gone through life having never tasted it. Oh, they’ve had scripture sound bites. They’ve sat in church and listened to 35 minutes of commentary. But the chocolate, they have never even sampled.  That's because you can’t taste the chocolate without chewing on the thing.

You taste the chocolate when you get beyond the sound bite and dig in to the words, and the phrases, and the meaning and context of the thing. Then, you let it nourish your soul as you apply it to your daily life.  That's the point, after all.  

And then, you long for it.
Because, well, once you have tasted the chocolate...

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:103

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