I eat fast food for a couple of reasons. It is inexpensive, sometimes tasty, and, of course, fast food is fast. The convenience may be its greatest attribute. I can drive through any chain and in mere moments have a cheese burger in my hand in no less than ten minutes. As I drive away unbuckling my seat belt to shuffle the cell phone, burger, fries, adjust the car radio, and dodge better drivers, I find some time to contemplate my newsletter article. May I decon- struct the value of fast food for a moment and see if it applies to our day to day Christian walk?
Inexpensive: Sure, the $1 menu seems cheap. But only for the moment. If we add to that $1 all of the other things that come with a cheap meal, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease... Suddenly, the $1 doesn’t seem like such a value. Our spiritual lives are not different. Quick and fleeting experiences are no match for deliberate, passionate preparation. Satisfying relationships are impossible without deep connections, intentional effort, and sacrificial love. There are no shortcuts to a satisfying life. It takes work. Anything of value, whether spiritual or tangible, takes time and energy. There are no end runs. Far too many of our relation- ships are fast food, when what we desire is a satisfying meal.
Sometimes Tasty: I agree that the pungent flavor of sugar and salt taste good for a moment, but does it last? The strange film that lingers after the meal, a weird reminder of the chintzy investment made, coats your mouth and diminishes the taste of any meal that follows. The unpredictable taste and the lasting regret should prevent us from returning, yet it rarely does. The acracy speaks volumes to the spiritual quick fix. We give ourselves over to self-help books, fads, or trivial stopgaps and though it leaves a lingering insufficiency, an insipid film, we return again and again to more pablum, ignoring the sufficient God that is nearer
than any of us could imagine. How near is the grocery store to your favorite fast food? How much food is in your house that only needs the work of preparation? If you don’t act quickly the food that is already in your house, already bought, already delicious, spoils and what would once sustain and satisfy is thrown out.
Fast: Fast food is fast. For example, the order taker should have the order taken and paid for in 30 seconds. The grill should have the sandwich made in 45 seconds (which starts at the time the order taker begins taking the order). Runner has 17 sec- onds to assemble the order (sandwiches, fries, etc... on a tray or in a bag). The customer (on front counter) should never wait longer than 90 seconds. That’s right, 90 seconds. And if it is one moment late we harrumph. With that hurried pace set we consume the food with equal urgency and almost immediately feel remorseful. May I suggest that the hurry and anxiety of rushing causes us to miss table fellowship. The dinner table is a place of connection, fellowship, brokenness, and Blessing. Once that is understood, nothing should keep you from a deliberate, meal together.
In a hurry to watch a new show? In a rush to get somewhere? Have to get work done? Need to check FaceBook or the weather in Albania? These are the distractions the enemy uses to keep us from the table. 90 seconds to order, 5 minutes to consume, and the only gains are negative. Sharing a deliberate, patient meal nourishes the family.
A nourished family can carry you through dark days. A nourished family can help bear the burdens of life.
We are weakest when we are isolated. Knowing our weakness, God provided us family. How are you nourishing yours?