Saturday, September 7, 2013

Hungry? .......................... Parables 017

Have you ever heard the expression, “I don’t want anyone cramming religion down my throat”? I am sure we all have, and many of us have said it ourselves. In fact, I doubt if anyone wants anything crammed down their throat, especially something for which the stomach is not a suitable destination.

Where does religion belong? Some say it belongs with children and old ladies. Others say it belongs with those who cannot cope with the stresses of life without it. Some say religion belongs in the churches, and like well-behaved children, should be seen and not heard.

Frankly, I don’t often use the term religion. It has come to have a rather man-centered meaning and describes, at least in my own mind, the efforts of man to reach up to God and somehow gain His approval or favor. Biblically, that is not possible. Romans 3 says that no man seeks God and that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The next chapters of the book of Romans go on to describe in great detail the difference between a religion of human achievement and Christianity. Christianity is God having mercy on sinful men and reaching down to them, in fact, coming down to them, not only to pay their penalty for sin but to offer them the free gift of eternal life.

Everyone knows what a gift is. It is something that cannot be earned or deserved, or crammed down anyone’s throat. It is something that must be received, willingly and gladly, without effort to pay for it. Otherwise it does not come under the ownership of the one to whom it is offered.

Think of a young robin in the nest, hungry for that food that will keep him alive. His mouth is open wide, his throat totally exposed, not only willing to have something crammed down it, but his life literally depends on that happening. He will perish without it.

Jesus said, “For God so lived the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Try telling a baby robin, “You need to get your act together . . .  you must do these 239 rules and get out of that place that you are in and do something about your life.” The poor little thing will die, mouth open, and likely with a sore throat. He needs the right food, but he also needs to have it given to him in love and with concern for his well-being. Certainly a hasty or less than gentle feeding will also mean a pain in the neck.

Then, should he decide to spit it out, or decide that he really is not hungry, or just does not want to acknowledge that he is in need of some nourishment, the resulting condition of his throat and his life is something for which he alone is responsible.

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