There’s a quaint little restaurant that beckons Baptists from all walks of life to come and partake. Some call it the “feeding trough.” Some call it “Gluttons-R-Us.” Some may even call it glorious. But most know it by its common name, “Golden Corral.” Some may feel guilty eating there. You know those people. They always start out with a simple salad – nothing to ostentatious, and they stay far away from the dessert island. Some people, however, have no shame in going right to the “meat and potatoes” so to speak. Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy a good salad. And I enjoy a good dessert, but my real inclination at Gluttons-R…, I mean Golden Corral, is to get a plate and fill it with meaty goodness. Like a schizophrenic carnivore, I want to fill my plate with as many different main courses as I can. I want the steak and the fish and the chicken and the pork and anything else that used to move about on its own volition. Forget the sides, show me the meat!
The truth is that when the meal is eaten, I find that I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. The problem is that my mind (and my palate) is too distracted by too many main courses. I can’t focus on one thing because I am trying too hard to focus on too many things. Instead of simply enjoying a meal, I walk away as a glutton that was overcome by too many choices.
Make the leap with me from the chuck-wagon to the church. If we were to ask the question, ‘What is the “main course” for the church,’ how might you answer? Is it evangelism? Is it discipleship? Is it fellowship? All those things are important. All of those things are biblical. But are these things main courses, or are they carefully selected side dishes that accentuate the flavor of the main course? Might I suggest that a considerate reading of the New Testament reflects that while each of these tasks are essential to the healthy functioning of the church, the main course is actually worship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us revisit our question, “What would the church look like if all we started with is the Bible?” We would find that our singular focus is Christ. We don’t do evangelism as an end; we do evangelism so that Christ will be exalted. We don’t do discipleship as an end; we do discipleship so that Christ is exalted. We certainly know that fellowship is not the end, but only the beginning of a corporate focus on Christ.
To see this most clearly, we must fast-forward to the last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation. The pages of this book open the curtain for us so that we can see into glory for just a moment. While the description of our heavenly home is stunning, it lacks a great deal of detail. It keeps from us what I like to call the “logistics of heaven.” What it does give us is a clear picture of what our main focus will be when we arrive – worship of Jesus. In Revelation 5, John records, “I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
If the glory of Christ is the main course of heaven, then we must understand this life to be a dress rehearsal for the next. As the church, we must be worshippers of Jesus. Not worshippers of a person or a rhythm or an instrument, but of Christ. Revering Christ must be the main course of the church. Nothing else we do should ever be exalted to that same level – and everything else we do should have as its aim creating worshippers of Christ. Nothing else we can do even comes close!