I was well into my college years before I ever had access to a microwave oven. My dad, who grew up without indoor plumbing or any other modern conveniences, apparently felt that his children would become hopelessly lazy and decadent if they were ever introduced to a world where food was cooked in less than three minutes. So it was quite a revelation for me to experience the thrill of microwave cooking for the first time. For the first few months, it seemed more like a new toy or a magician’s hat than a kitchen appliance to me, and I constantly experimented with different foods to see if they were “microwaveable”. Fortunately, my roommate, who hailed from a family that had progressed past the Stone Age, had used a microwave for years and was wise enough to take me aside early on and warn me with great sternness and solemnity – like a three fingered shop teacher lecturing on the dangers of a table saw – that I should never, ever put aluminum foil or metal objects in the microwave. I was smart enough to heed that advice, but I still felt that any food product was fair game.
One day, however, as I was preparing to make Rice Krispie Treats – a major source of nutrition for the average college student – I thought it would be a great time saver to use the microwave to melt the marshmallows. I filled a dish full of them, set the timer for five or ten minutes and let them cook away while I left the room for a moment to attend to other matters. When I returned to the kitchen, I was startled to find that the marshmallows had expanded exponentially in size and were oozing around the microwave door and down the countertop to the floor. It really looked like an albino version of “The Blob” that was rapidly evolving into the evil “Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man” from the first “Ghostbusters” movie. I briefly had terrifying visions of being consumed by the ever-enlarging, gooey mass, but, luckily, the timer kicked off before I was forced to flee for my life. After spending more than an hour cleaning the sticky mess out of every corner and crevice in the kitchen, I was forever cured of my enthusiasm for experimenting with the microwave. I had been given full autonomy to use the microwave in any way I saw fit, but I found that “some ways lead to destruction” (instead of sweet treats). From that point on, I quit viewing it as a toy to play around with and began viewing it as a useful and convenient kitchen appliance, which was its intended purpose in the first place.
Just like my experience with the microwave, when we use our freedom and grace in Christ to “toy around with” misbehavior or questionable conduct, we may realize – too late – that our sins have “expanded exponentially” and trapped us in a horrible, sticky mess. The book of James tells us that even a small kernel of evil desire that goes unchecked can quickly explode into full-fledged sin. We’ve been given liberty and blessings, not as a toy to use in improper ways, but as a privilege (and a duty) to show others the way to freedom through God’s grace.
Post by: Eron Elswick, Leadership Team