I don’t remember exactly when and where I was when I was first exposed to it; all I know is I thought it was as excellent an idea as had ever materialized in the mind of a human being. Once I had tasted the wondrous feast that is the all-you-can-eat buffet and once I had sipped from the glorious fountain that springs forth with free refills, there was no turning back.
If it all seemed too good to be true, there was no immediate proof to validate that feeling. Sure there was the occasional time I ate one too many French toast sticks at the Shoney’s breakfast bar and left feeling a bit too full. Of course there were also a few times my adolescent ego got the best of me and I could barely walk away after pizza eating contests at the Pizza Hut lunch buffet. After a few minutes, however, all I could remember was how delicious the food had been, and how I had been able to enjoy as much as I wanted. Years later, however, I carry around a few extra pounds which indeed validate the feeling that it all was too good to be true.
Often we use words like “boundless,” “limitless,” and “unending,” and phrases like “abounding in love” to speak of God. These are certainly appropriate ways to describe what we’ve experienced God to be. Yet I wonder sometimes, if there aren’t unnoticed, negative consequences that result from our describing God in such a way.
Here’s what I mean: an all-you-can-eat buffet isn’t bad in and of itself. In fact, it can be quite a helpful arrangement if it is enjoyed in moderation. The problem comes when I don’t know when to put down the fork, push away from the table, and put to good use the food I have taken into my body.
It seems we sometimes approach God as if God is an all-you-can-eat buffet, where we can have this need met, that hole filled, these thirsts quenched, and those hungers satisfied. Certainly God does meet our needs, fill our holes, quench our thirsts, and satisfy our hungers, but I’m afraid many of us don’t know when to put down the fork, push away from the table, and put to good use the food God has given us. God’s never intended for us to be bottomless pits of consumption, but rather God’s intended for us to be vessels of love. So may we encourage each other regularly to put down the fork, push away from the table, and put to good use the food God has graciously and faithfully given us.