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Pastor’s Power Point

The Great Commandment & Great Commission

Categories: Pastor

Dear MSBC,

Have you heard about the Popeye’s chicken sandwich craze of 2019? It’s crazy! On August 12th, Popeye’s Louisiana Chicken fast-food chain began serving a new fried chicken sandwich nationwide that was originally intended to be a temporary offering, running only to the end of September. The sandwich opportunity, however, lasted only two weeks. But why?

The sandwich, a simple concoction of buttermilk batter, a chicken breast filet, sour pickles, a buttered brioche bun, with either mayo or spicy Cajun spread, was so enormously popular that a mania broke out surrounding its purchase and thus Popeyes Chicken sold out of the sandwich in a mere two weeks!

The shortage of the sandwich has caused and is causing chaos for Popeye’s and their employees: In Houston, a group of customers pulled a gun on a Popeyes manager after being informed that the sandwich was sold out, and in Tennessee, a man by the name of Craig Barr is suing the company for “false advertising” and “deceptive business practices.”

Concerning this latter incident, the sandwich shortage created an opening for enterprising hustlers promising to provide starved consumers with previously purchased sandwiches at an exorbitant markup. Barr says he paid one such sandwich broker, but the individual reneged on the deal, exacerbating his mental and emotional distress. Barr told news reporters, “I can’t get happy; I have this sandwich on my mind. I can’t think straight. It just consumes you.”

The good news for Craig Barr and others excessively devoted to the popular chicken sandwich is that Popeyes has just announced that the sandwich in question is officially returning to stores nationwide on November 3rd.

I don’t know about you, but although I like a good chicken sandwich as much as the next guy, all this frenzy seems just a bit overboard to me. After all, we are talking about a sandwich! In our world today, people are too caught up in and consumed by the minor things of life while missing the all too important matters that matter most.

As Christians, rather than obsessively hungering for a fried chicken sandwich, our craze and that for which we should hunger and be excessively consumed is the pursuit of God in our daily lives. How do we do that?

We do so by fulfilling the Great Commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…and mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matt. 22:36-40]) and the Great Commission (Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” [Matt. 28:19-20].

As we compulsively pursue the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, we fulfill our fivefold purpose in life as God designed us. In the Great Commandment, to love God is to worship, and to love our neighbor is service/ministry to believers. In the Great Commission, to make disciples is evangelism (sharing the Gospel with unbelievers), to baptize is to incorporate symbolically Christians into fellowship/close relationships with other believers, and to teach is discipleship (i.e. helping Christians through the study and application of the Bible to become like Jesus Christ). In sum, and in keeping with our church mission statement, through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission we are to passionately pursue Touching God (worship), Transforming Lives (fellowship, discipleship, & ministry), and Taking Risks (evangelism) as our life craze.

I would also add that as we pursue God through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, we should do so with a persistent attitude of gratitude, i.e. a thankful heart, toward God (e.g., 1 Chr. 16:8; Ps. 7:17; 28:7; 30:12; 35:18; 75:1; 100:4; 107:1; 118:28; 136:1; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 2:14; 9:15; 1 Thess. 5:18; Rev. 4:9) and toward the people in our lives (e.g., Matt. 22:39; 1 Thess. 1:2; 5:11; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:8-10; 1 Cor. 1:4; Eph. 1:16; 4:25, John 13:34-35; Heb. 3:13; 2 Thess. 1:3).

OK then, don’t get ridiculously caught up in the superficial things of life that really don’t matter like obsessing over a chicken sandwich that is ultimately going to run out of supply and demand. Rather, make the pursuit of God through the Great Commandment and the Great Commission with a Great Attitude the menu item you most enjoy! This menu item for the taking will never sell out or be in short supply.

Blessings!

Bruce

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Author: Bruce Smilie

Pastor - Main Street Baptist Church, Grand Saline, TX bruce@churchonmainstreet.com