Becoming Chick-fil-A in a McDonald’s World

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daily text logoSeptember 23, 2015

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

CONSIDER THIS

Daily Text 9-23-15 PICWords create worlds. Words redeem worlds. And words recreate worlds. In the beginning, God spoke words and created the world. It was the satanic confusion of God’s word that led to the fall of the human race. In the fullness of time, God sent his son, the Word made flesh, to redeem the world.

We think of the Apostle Paul as planting churches, making disciples, traveling and otherwise suffering in jail for the sake of the Gospel as his primary ministry. While this is true, the far greater impact of Paul’s mission and ministry has to do with the way he put words together into letters to the first century churches across the land. Most all of Paul’s letters were written to solve problems and restore order in the lives of men and women in these communities who were in the process of being saved by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Paul’s words worked and work in the power of the Holy Spirit to restructure and recreate the worlds in which these people lived by bringing the wisdom of the Gospel to bear on their lives and relationships. We begin today with one of these letters; Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth. Over the course of the next ten weeks or so we will become familiar with the ancient city of Corinth, its people and the way disciples get made in confusing cultures. In some ways the ancient Corinthian culture will feel much like our own.

To get started I want to point out Paul’s foundational assumption in his work. Look for the common word here:

Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

The word? “Called.” Paul is called and the people who make up the church in Corinth are called. This letter (and all of Paul’s letters) are written within this overarching framework and mindset. What does this mean for people to be “called.” It means a really amazing kind of different. Let me see if I can make my point with a present day analogy.

Let’s talk about the world of fast food. There are basically two categories: Chick-fil-A and everyone else. You know what I’m talking about. From “How may I serve you,” to the final, “My pleasure,” in the world of fast food, Chick-fil-A has no rival. Their food is better, but not by an order of magnitude. What makes the difference is the way their rank and file employees do what they do. Without a doubt their drive-thru line is twice as long as other fast food restaurants yet it goes three times as fast. They rarely get your order wrong. They actually send employees walking around the dining area inside to wait on people—at a fast food restaurant mind you! They don’t ask if you if you want ketchup. They want to know how many packets you want. As a result, our kids wouldn’t consider another fast food option. Is it any wonder McDonalds is in the tank? Chick-fil-A operates as a “called” fast food chain. In the world of fast-food—they are the holy ones. ;0)

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth as though they were a rogue Chick-fil-A. He is not willing to let them off the hook to be just another McDonalds. He is reminding them they are “called,” to be holy—to be set apart—not some kind of “religious” organization but a group of people who are living out their lives in an “amazing kind of different” fashion. He knows they don’t seem to get this at all, but it doesn’t change the way he approaches them. He refuses to consider them as anything other than “called.”

Paul is not willing to create a category for people in the church who are just kind of there hanging out or who show up every now and then and throw a five in the offering plate. That’s just not what the church is. As we will soon see, Paul’s letter will quickly get to the business of re-calling the called to their calling.

Maybe that’s our big problem today; we’ve given up on our calling to become “Chick-fil-A Awesome” and settled for  the mediocrity of a McDonalds mentality.

THE QUESTIONS

Does the playful analogy here give you a richer sense of what called to be “holy” actually means? Rather than all the “holier-than-thou” images that come to mind, what if we could categorize our calling to follow Jesus in a distinctively winsome fashion? How do you resonate with the Chick-fil-A analogy? And apologies to any McDonalds franchisees out there.

You can now listen to the Daily Text read aloud by J. D. Walt.

P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.

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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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