A few years ago, some friends introduced us to crab rangoon at a local Chinese restaurants. The crab rangoon that we were served was fried dumplings with some cream cheese on the inside served with the standard orange sweet and sour sauce. They were okay, but they were not as great as most people made them out to be.
Then, a few weeks ago, we tried crab rangoon at a new Japanese sushi restaurant in town. This time, the crab rangoon was completely different. Yes, it was still fried dumplings. But instead of cream cheese, this time there was some type of delicious crab salad on the inside. And, the sweet and sour sauce was not the typical orange sticky mess. It was a wonderful sauce with a combination of sweet and chips of peppers for the “sour” part.
We fell in love with this type of crab rangoon, and we realized that we had never truly had crab rangoon before.
Our experience with crab rangoon illustrates something that I’ve learned about Christians and the church, especially when it comes to fellowship, discipleship, edification, community, service, etc.
Often, it turns out, Christians have never really experienced these things before. But, they don’t realized that they’re missing something until they begin experiencing it for the first time.
For too long now, the illustrations, principles, and commands of Scripture have been placed under the hermeneutical (interpretive) pattern of the traditional local church organization, hierarchical leadership, and “worship service.”
As I’ve met more and more people who begin to understand how the patterns and descriptions and instructions of Scripture can and should apply to their entire life and to all of their relationships and time spent with other believers, they also begin to realize that something was missing all along. But, of course, they didn’t realize that something was missing, because they had always been told that everything was great.
When people move away from “fellowship” as a covered dish meal, and their eyes are opened to how they can experience the community of the Holy Spirit with one another, they begin to see what they’ve been missing. When those who are following Jesus Christ step away from “discipleship classes” and truly begin to share life with one another, they also start to understand what they’ve been missing.
And, I have to add, these things that are missing from the lives of many Christians (and were missing from my life for a long time) are much more important than crab salad and good sweet and sour sauce in a crab rangoon.
Jesus Christ has a full, exciting, interesting life awaiting those of his children who leave their old life behind and begin to follow him. It is much, much more than singing a few songs, putting money in an offering plate, and listening to a sermon. It is much, much more than attending a few classes and taking part in some programs.
Don’t misunderstanding me… this full, exciting, interesting life is always packed with struggles, troubles, trials, hard work, sweat, tears, pain, etc. But, you’ll find your life also stuffed with Jesus along with the struggles.
Many of my readers know exactly what I’m talking about, because they’ve tasted the difference. Some of you may not understand what I mean. But, I hope that soon God will allow you to live the life of fellowship, service, love, discipleship, etc. that he has for you, and that you will be able to say, “I didn’t know something was missing.”