Saturday, May 10, 2014


Slice of Cherry Blueberry Pie by DigiDi, on Flickr

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  DigiDi 

There was a summer when one of my aunts came out to visit. She spent a lot of time at our house after my mother passed away, taking care of us and relieving some of the load from my dad. Memories were made while solving puzzles, making food and running errands. This particular Aunt is an avid baker, and if you have ever been to a dinner with us and partook in herb bread, this is that Aunt. You may not have even known it, but you owe her an eternal gratitude for that creativity.

She is not afraid of a good laugh, and often will create situations that involve both food and laughter. If you think about it, most of the truly great memories in life involve these two ingredients -- food and laughter. Bonds are forged around a dinner table, stories are retold, games are played and our brains relish in the mixture of senses with important people.

This story is no different, although I did far less eating than my brother. On one afternoon my Aunt was where you would so often find her, baking in our kitchen, making an assortment of pies that would be frozen for our consumption later. My brother, never shy asked her if he could have a piece of the apple pie that was still piping hot out of the oven. She replied that he could, but if he was going to have a piece, he better finish the whole thing. A look of glee swept across his face as took her up on the deal.

And so began three hours of pie.

This was not some wimpy, store bought apple pie. This was a deep dish, sugar laden, ooey-gooey apple pie. The kind a baker would not make because you couldn't afford it, and the kind you hope your mother is going to pull out of the oven. Forget dinner, this is the main dish, and it fills you up like it too.

After the first third, my brother was still shovelling the pie into his mouth with some gusto, but the first cracks began to form. There was a slight groan after the swallow, and a portioning of the liquid he would use to wash down the pie lest he use up vital space. The rest of us moved through the family room with some interest as the minutes ticked by to check in on my brother's welfare. Let it never be said that eating is not an extreme sport.

My brother engaged in a glorious act of gluttony that day. There were moments when he begged to be let off the hook for the promise he made, but my aunt responded with a mischievous glint in her eye that he made a promise. A promise he fulfilled that day, despite his gastrointestinal health... and wasn't hungry for the next twenty-four hours. It is the kind of story we continue to retell in our family with great delight.

We all have our pie in life. For some, that might be a literal thing -- food being the all consuming goal of our lives. For others, it hides a little more insidiously, lurking beneath the surface like an unseen alligator preparing to leap for it's pray. The approval of others, the need for more stuff, your career, better grades, sports. We are always consuming the pie, always hoping that it will satisfy it.

If you are anything like me, hiding in the back of that perpetual stuffing of my pie-hole, there's a little voice telling you that it can be satisfied. It's a soft, gentle whisper beckoning you into better health -- and it is easily ignored. You see, we like to give God a piece of our pie. A tiny little sliver that we tell others we hold in reverence. It has it's time and place, like the china or a perfectly clean house: when other people come over. We parade that piece on Sunday's, and hide it through the rest of the week.

God doesn't want a piece of the pie. He craves the whole thing.
Mark 12:28-34 - The Most Important Commandment
One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.” 
Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
It is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.

Meditate on that for a moment. Let it wash over you like a tsunami, tearing you loose from the handholds you've formed in your life. We run around in  our lives, keeping ourselves so busy, always looking for the next greatest thing, the latest flavour. When we find it, it's a rush -- until we're halfway through the pie. Then rather our satisfaction turns to a threatening pain. We haven't found the one just yet -- and this thing is killing us from the inside out.

Jesus doesn't say that God wants half, or one seventh or even fifteen minutes a day. He throws down the gauntlet and says that God wants all of us.

Do we throw in the towel and stop pretending we haven't given into materialism? Do we throw ourselves into unreserved hedonism, forgetting all that we've learned? Of course not. Jesus is radically challenging the priorities of our lives, stating clearly that God is not interested in anything but first place. He's kind of jealous that way.

God doesn't want your stuff. He doesn't want you to make a show of your faith, He merely wants your everything. While we're running around, tiring ourselves ourselves out from the hustle of life, God is patiently waiting on the sidelines for us to turn towards Him and rest. Like petulant children, we whine, complain and throw temper tantrums at how God is not doing what we want, as if we were that important. He waits for our energy to wane so He can give us what we really need.

This is a radical, new way of looking at our faith. It isn't something that happens in a place, or during set times through the week. Instead, Jesus is giving us a new way to lives our lives -- by putting God first. That conversation you are having with your co-worker... how is God involved in it? That championship you have been training for... how is God involved in it? That song you are listening to... how is God involved in it?

He's not a piece of the pie, He is the pie.

Everything is viewed through Him. Everything. There is no Christian or non-Christian... there is God.

Is what you're listening to - reading - doing - dreaming about glorifying to Him? If not... why are you doing it? Is it drawing you closer to Him? Is it tempting you further from Him?

How much of that pie are you giving God? How does He compare to your time on Facebook? What are some steps you can take today to give him your heart, soul, mind and strength? It sounds exhausting, but I assure you -- it is the most freeing experience.

Just like a perfectly portioned home-made pie, it leaves us completely satisfied at the end of a good meal full of hearty laughs. God wants that for you.

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