Every since I have been grilling I have been a part of a common debate, gas or charcoal. When I started grilling as a kid, I used a gas grill that my mom had. It was simple to use. I cut the gas on, and then hit the starter button to light it up. Of course later on the starter button quit working, and I had to use a lighter (I have lost count of the number of times I either burned my arm hair off or my eyebrows off). Later in life my wife and I lived in an apartment that would not permit us to own a grill, so we had to use an indoor electric grill. It was okay, but it was not the same as grilling outdoors.
When we moved to our house in North Carolina, the biggest purchase I made that summer was a grill. I decided to go charcoal because if I wanted to use a quick firing grill I could just use my little electric grill.
While I was cooking the other night, it occurred to me that the often we desire gas grill Christianity, when we really need charcoal Christianity. We desire a faith that starts quick and easy to use. We desire the benefits of Christianity without the discipleship and discipline required to see all that God has to offer us.
What we really need is a faith that takes time and work to strengthen, but has a better flavor and has a longer burn. Personally I prefer the flavor of food cooked on a charcoal grill, and I think most people do as well. A Christianity that takes longer to strengthen is what we truly need. It takes time and work, but it is worth it. When cooking with charcoal, it takes a while for the fire to go out. You could pour water on it, but the best way is to let it burn out. When cooking with gas, all you have to do is turn the dial and the fire is done. Often times, life will try to put our flame out, and if our flame is quick to start, it is quick to turn off. However, if we have a faith that takes time to build, it will take time to bring it down.
The passage I thought of while reflecting on these things was the Parable of the Sower.
Matthew 13:3-8 3 Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “Consider the sower who went out to sow. 4 As he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5 Others fell on rocky ground, where there wasn’t much soil, and they sprang up quickly since the soil wasn’t deep. 6 But when the sun came up they were scorched, and since they had no root, they withered. 7 Others fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them. 8 Still others fell on good ground and produced a crop: some 100, some 60, and some 30 times what was sown.