Appreciation Alert

My first real job was at Chick-fil-a.  I was probably the worst employee in company history.  The cash register looked to me like a giant calculus problem.  When large groups of people came in with coupons, I would hide behind the counter and act busy.  Once I walked away from a customer in the middle of his order because one of the girls from TLC came in and I wanted her to sign an empty bag of french fries for me.  I have no idea where that autographed bag of french fries is today.

Today is Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day.  I thought every day was Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day but I’ll play along.  I can’t drive by a Chick-fil-a more than twice without going inside.  Sometimes I’m not even hungry.  I just go in for the smell.

“Sir, we’re gonna have to ask you to go ahead and leave.  Please don’t make us call the cops again.  And could you please put down the cash register?”

Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day brings with it a danger that those of us who agree with Dan Cathy’s statement in favor of traditional marriage must be on the lookout for.  It’s a danger that Jesus addressed long before Chick-fil-a invented the chicken sandwich.  The danger is that instead of appreciating a really good restaurant that stands on Biblical principles, we might actually end up appreciating ourselves.

In Luke 18, Jesus tells a story to prove a point to some people who, “trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (9).  In the story, a member of an elite religious group called the Pharisees and a hated tax collector, go into the temple to pray at the same time.

The Pharisee prays, “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax collector” (11).

He continues his prayer by reminding God of how morally pure and valuable to the kingdom he is.  “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get” (12).

And there we see the danger.  It’s possible that with each delicious bite we take today, we might be saying to ourselves, or perhaps even to others, “Thank God that I’m not like those gays and liberals.”

“I go to church.  I’m straight.”

Make no mistake, homosexuality is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10).  And so are adultery, idolatry and pride (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10).  And self-righteousness (Luke 18:9-14).  The Christian that emphasizes one sin while looking past another is no different than the Pharisee in Jesus’ story.  He is trusting in his own righteousness.  He has forgotten the cross.

Go to Chick-fil-a today and order a big meal.  Just take it easy on the cashier.  It’s a really hard job.

And when you say your blessing before the meal, pray like the tax collector did.

“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:13-14 (ESV)