June 6, 2019
Volume 23, Number 21
What is a cake without icing? True, there are some exceptions, but I’m partial to cakes that have a layer of icing on top. There are many types of icing: buttercream, fondant, cream cheese, whipped cream, etc., and they all have their respective fan clubs.
But what is icing without a cake?
You might ask Marsy Flores of Pasadena, Texas that question. To celebrate her daughter’s graduation she ordered a two-tier cake from a local supermarket. When she arrived to pick up the cake, the store had lost her order. The manager of the bakery told her to pick any cake she saw in the display case.
When it came time to cut the cake, however, Marsy discovered that beneath the yummy icing was a plastic foam cake! It was meant only for display, and not for consumption. The store felt terrible about the mistake, and gave Marsy another (real) cake and a couple of gift cards. Most would agree that was a nice comeback for the supermarket.
There is a spiritual parallel to this story, of course. The apostle Paul warned Timothy about the “tastes” some people would have when it comes to preaching: “Preach the word! … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
I’ve watched children (and a few adults) who gladly eat the icing on a cake, but leave the cake uneaten. That fondness of sweets seems to me a parallel to those who welcome certain portions of God’s word, but don’t want to hear the uncomfortable parts. “Preach only what pleases us!” they will demand.
Paul’s approach to preaching was different: “I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Do certain teachings of Christ make people uncomfortable? Absolutely. Should we omit those parts for the sake of attracting larger crowds? Absolutely not!
The wise man wrote, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6). I like it when my friends tell me things that make me feel good. But there are times I need them to be honest with me, even if it hurts, to help pull me away from dangers.
There will be times of sweet icing in every Christian’s life. But the requirements of discipleship are clear: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2019, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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