It’s a funny-sounding word that yet probably brings up some pretty delectable images of incredible spreads of food. When I think of a smorgasbord I visualize an enormous, long table filled with foods of all sorts … meats and cheeses, fruits and breads, literally everything you can think of, in amounts that I could only aspirationally. in my wildest dreams, make a meaningful dent in … as though there is never enough of an appetite to take it all in. Maybe it brings up similar images for you.
And then … I think of a time when I was a kid, maybe in middle school, when I found a bag of Cheetos that somehow got left behind in my homeroom desk. I opened up the bag thinking I’d uncovered some hidden treasure only to find a most horrific and disgusting sight. A full bag of greenish, orangeish, blackish “stuff” that perhaps at one time was the delicious, cheesy goodness that is Cheetos. But instead now it only brought nausea and gag reflex. Please forgive if these are not helpful visuals for you. As you would expect, there is a point to all this.
And it’s just this … if you were confronted with the opportunity to partake in the most amazing smorgasbord you ever saw, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? Think of every food you love being part of it, prepared just the way you love it, and plenty to go around not just for you but for everyone you would want to have join you. All your favorite foods accompanied by all your favorite people. Wouldn’t that be the best thing ever? Wouldn’t you probably jump at the chance? Who wouldn’t?
It would certainly beat opening up a who-knows-how-old bag of moist, moldy, discolored Cheetos, wouldn’t it? I mean who in the world when confronted with the most incredible smorgasbord experience would instead choose moldy Cheetos?
Answer: Spiritually, we would, and I sometimes think we do every day.
You see, God desires the best for His children. After all, He created us for the purpose of communing with us, bringing maximum glory to Himself and also maximum blessing to each and all of us. It’s not about us, but that’s what makes it all the more incredible that He wants to lavish us with His love. We read in so many places in scripture …
You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.
“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
And yet, instead of us marveling in humility over the generosity of His invitation to the most incredible smorgasbord we could ever imagine, many of us would rather grab the old, moldy, disgusting bag of Cheetos and why? Because it’s ours. Because we can. Because we fear that if we attend the smorgasbord, we are somehow losing our independence and control.
I think we all think we would love that independence and control. People talk all the time about being “in control” of their own destiny, being “captain of their own ship,” and all sorts of impressive and self-inspiring characteristics. But as great as the independence and control sound, they yield, at best, moldy Cheetos.
There are so many times when I look at my choices and wonder why in the world I would choose moldy Cheetos rather than the smorgasbord. In other words, why did I once again choose less than God’s best for me and choose what my flesh thought it preferred? It’s silly and senseless.
We can make our own plans, but the Lord gives the right answer.
God always offers smorgasbord. The problem is, we look at it and belittle it and undervalue it. Perhaps it’s because sometimes we only get to view a small portion of it, and we figure it’s not worth partaking especially when we have this whole bag of our own. Set aside of course the fact that the whole bag that we have contains nothing more than moldy Cheetos. It’s ours, and that’s all we care about.
God may sometimes not reveal the entire smorgasbord, and so we’re forced to exercise faith that He offers a banquet for the ages. We can choose His banquet, but it requires us to leave behind, and preferably discard, our bag. And I can tell you, sometimes I really struggle to let go of my bag of moldy Cheetos.
But let go we must, in order to enjoy the smorgasbord God provides us. The best thing is this … not only does God offer us a smorgasbord, but He offers to join us at the smorgasbord. In fact, He Himself is the one that put it together, and the smorgasbord that He offers you is perfectly comprised of the perfect things for you … the very things that are your favorites and that fill you with joy. And even better, He offers me that which is perfectly composed for me. The things that are my favorites, that will fill me with joy. And the joy he offers you and me … all of us … is joy that is perfectly full for each of us. And all we have to do is drop our personal bag of moldy Cheetos in the trash, and choose to accept the magnificent smorgasbord He offers us.
Soli Deo gloria!