No, You Cannot Have it That Way!

Posted: June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized
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It was 1976 and I was the youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Duncanville, Texas. We had been on a ten day youth choir bus tour presenting the Gospel in prisons in central USA. We were on the way home and stopped at a Sonic Drive-In in the middle of somewhere Oklahoma that you cannot get to from here. I was missing very much the world famous Beacon Drive-In in my hometown of Spartanburg, SC. I was craving a Chili-Cheeseburger.

After studying the menu and not seeing what I wanted, I ordered anyway, “Chili Cheese Burger please, and add slaw.” The girl behind the counter said, “We don’t have that on our menu.” But I was not to be deterred. So I smiled and said, “Do you have cheeseburgers?” “Of course,” she replied. “Do you have hot dogs?” I asked. “Absoluely,” she said. “And do you have chili for your hot dogs?” I inquired further. “Why, yes, we certainly do,” she replied.

“Would you take some of the chili that you normally put on hot dogs, and put some on a cheeseburger for me?” was my quick suggestion. “No, I couldn’t do that,” she said. “Why not?” I queried. “Because it is not on the menu,” she added with a growing sense of exasperation at my impertinence. “So what if I buy a hot dog and a cheeseburger, and you just put the chili that was for my hot dog on the burger?” I asked. (All the while the youth from my church were enjoying this more and more). Adamantly she said, “No, you cannot have it that way!” Once again I asked, “Why not, if I am paying for both?” Quickly she asserted, “I already told you, that is not on the menu. Are you going to order something we have or not?” I could tell she had grown weary with the whole thing and decided not to say what had come to mind, ‘Obviously, this is not Burger King. They let me have it my way.”

Maybe there is some deep spiritual lesson here. Jesus spoke of giving lip service to God with our hearts being far from Him. The prophet Elijah said, “How long will you vacillate back and forth between two opinions?” So really, which is it? Are we all in for Jesus or not? You can never live an effective Christian life with one foot in the Kingdom of God, and one foot in this world. Although we try that so often, I can hear Jesus saying, “No, you cannot have it that way.”

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