Who here likes wasabi? Who here even knows what wasabi is? It’s a spicy, green plant used in or with many Japanese foods like sushi, and chances are, you’ve never had the real thing. Only thirteen percent of wasabi is the real thing. Most is just horseradish colored green. And the reason that most is fake is that there just isn’t enough to go around. Wasabi is one of the hardest foods to cultivate. One plant takes fifteen months to grow. If there is too little sunlight, the plant won’t grow. Too much, and the plant withers and dies. Aso, the pure spring water that flows through the plants has to be 13-18 degrees Celsius.
In many ways, this is like denominations. Many churches claim to be the right church and make it look quite convincing. Others try to be right, often times trading out the truth for opinion. Matthew 24:24 says, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive”
We should also consider Psalms 18:30, which says “as for God, His way is perfect, the Lord’s word is flawless, He shields all who take refuge in Him.”
We have to be careful to make sure we as the church are teaching the truth, God’s perfect way, and are Wasabi in its pure form, and not Wasabi that is just green horseradish.
A few years back I started goose hunting and I found out something very interesting about myself. I like it a lot! They are exciting to hunt, easy to harvest the meat, and they are delicious when I smoke them into jerky. Many of you probably don’t understand the challenge and excitement involved since most of the time you could just grab one off the street and throw it into your car. But out in the open, where it’s legal to shoot them, it can be a real challenge.
In order to get flying geese to come in for a landing close enough to shoot them, there are two basic tactics. One is decoys. Geese want to join up with other geese, and if they see some on the ground it tells them that it is probably a good area to feed and that it’s safe. In order to fool them, your decoys need to look real, and mine look real. Anytime I leave my spot and return, I spend an embarrassing amount of time sneaking up on my own decoys. The second thing you need is to sound like a goose. Your call needs to be authentic. It needs to get their attention to draw them into the kill zone.
Many of you have already connected the dots in my story. It’s so simple really. It’s a do-it-yourself lesson. We need to be on guard as Christians so as not to be fooled or deceived by teaching that is not authentic, not the real deal. Teaching that may look and sound good, but will cost us our souls, can fool us.
But that’s not the lesson. I challenge myself and all of us to consider an even more sobering question. Have I become the decoy? Has looking and sounding like a Christian become enough for me? My calls are spot on. I can speak their language. My decoys look fantastic. They dutifully show up for every hunting trip. But they are not real, and they don’t move.
A real goose moves.
A real goose flies.
A real goose feeds.
A real goose is active all the time.
A real goose is busy being a real goose, all the time.
Read Matthew 25:34-36.
So are you, am I the real deal? It depends on what we do between “hunting trips.”
[Originally from Scott’s “90 Seconds of Power” devotional at Bear Valley]
Have you seen The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore video where he is ebulliently exulting over the thunder snow he witnesses and knows to be captured by his cameraman? The YouTube video montage where he is on camera for six lightning strikes says it all. At one point, he implies that he’d rather experience this weather event than win the $500 million lottery. The enthusiasm is transparent and honest. You can’t help to feel excited about what he’s excited about because he so enthusiastically expresses it.
Being a Christian is not necessarily a non-stop fist-pumping, mountain-top experience. The late Wendell Winkler used to say that there are not very many mountain-top or valley days but that most were “in between.” He called it “the glory of the ordinary.” What we do on the ordinary days is what typically makes the bigger impact. However, the genuine enthusiasm of Christians is certainly contagious! Some of the best church leaders I have known have known how to inject others with zeal. Other words are “passion,” “desire,” and “excitement.” If this is artificial and contrived, it is eventually detected. True enthrallment for pursuing the will of God, though rare, leaves its mark far and wide.
What should fire our enthusiasm?
- A baptism
- A wayward Christian being restored
- A well-delivered, challenging, and biblically accurate lesson
- A demonstration of decisive, godly leadership
- A challenge to growth or involvement
- Godly conviction from our youth
- Hearing of a good work within our brotherhood
- Singing in worship
- A sound idea for church growth
- The dedication shown by a spiritual brother or sister
Challenge yourself. Ask, “What gets me excited?” If the Georgia Bulldogs were to ever win the National Championship again, look out world! I’d give those around me a “Jim Cantore” moment. My honest prayer is, “Lord, help my greatest passion and enthusiasm be reserved for the things that will endure after the heavens and the elements burn and melt” (2 Pet. 3:11). Let’s get excited about serving Jesus and doing His will!
Melissa Smith contacted KGTV in San Diego, California, to make an interesting report. She had watched a pregnant woman and her little boy beg for money at a local shopping center. Many people gave the woman money. Melissa happened to watch the woman, who held a sign reading “Please Help,” get into a car with a man driving a Mercedes Benz. A follow up story, a few months later, found what appears to have been the same couple driving a brand new Mini-Van that still had dealer plates. The address for the Benz owner was an upscale apartment that rented for $2500 per month (10news.com). There are many people in legitimate need of financial help, and there are many more legitimate ways to contribute to their assistance than handing money out of a car window.
Yet, there’s an application I want to draw from this extreme case. As incongruous as it is for a Benz owner in a fancy apartment to stand on a corner and beg, there is something more out of place. In Colossians, Paul describes Christians as those qualified to share in an inheritance (1:12), attaining to all the wealth attached to that (2:2), partaker of all treasures (2:3), and owners of an unparalleled prize (2:18). Do we ever live like spiritual paupers? We do when we allow worry, doubt, immorality, fear, guilt, or any similar thing to cause us to live like and act like the impoverished world who has no access to these wonderful spiritual blessings. We have a place in glory reserved with Christ (3:4). We have no need to beg for the scraps the world can offer. Let us live like the rich children of God that we are!