Most of the recipes I found were for simple fare with plain ingredients. When I was a child, my mother’s favorite market did not have an “International Foods” aisle. The only pastas available were spaghetti and elbow macaroni. The only salad dressings were Italian, Thousand Island, and that bright red-orange French. All olives were green and pimento stuffed. The only baked beans were Van Camp’s pork and beans or B & M baked beans, which none of us Southerners liked. There was only one kind of rice and no couscous to be found. The most exotic ingredient any of my mother’s favorite recipes called for was La Choy soy sauce. No one had ever heard of Kikkoman.
Yet each recipe in those old cookbooks was headed by a comment like, “Very filling,” or “Easy and good,” or “A family favorite.” And I know those statements were true because I remember eating some of those recipes and even the dishes they were served in on our family table. Not only were they good and filling, they were inexpensive, even in today’s dollars. But would anyone even be tempted to use those old recipes today? Would we serve them to guests? I doubt it. Somewhere along the line we’ve become status conscious, even in our food preferences.
How about our spiritual tastes? Just look at a modern worship service. Would that “mega-church” down the road be satisfied with congregational singing and a simpler sermon loaded with scripture? No, they demand a praise band for entertainment and a comedian/orator for their “pep rally.” It is no longer about carefully approaching a Holy God with reverence and fear to offer our gift of worship, but all about how it makes ME feel and what I get out of it. It’s about whether I approve instead of whether God approves. Unfortunately, we seem to be falling into the same trap.
In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the people came together to worship, standing for hours as the Law was read (Neh 8). Then the Levites explained it, “they gave the sense” (8:8), what we would call a sermon. No praise bands, no shouting, no dancing in the aisles, just a calm, intelligible sermon. And how did that sermon affect them?
And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. Neh 8:12
How about us? Do we expect, even demand, something besides plain food with simple ingredients? Are we dissatisfied with the old hymns because we are so Biblically illiterate that we cannot comprehend their depths? Do we complain about simple old-fashioned sermons because they’re boring?
Would we ever stand for hours listening to the Word of God, then go home to Sunday dinner with rejoicing just because we were able to hear His Word? Or would we cover our meals with the gravy of griping and serve dessert on a platter of complaints? Is it all about ME instead of all about HIM?
Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jer 6:16