Saturday, December 30, 2006

No More Frozen Pizza

I generally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. But this year I’m making an exception.

My resolution for 2007 is not to eat any frozen pizza.

Pizza is a strong candidate for my favorite food. I like deep dish pizza, stuffed pizza, thin crust pizza and authentic Italian pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven. I like pizza with mushrooms, onions, sausage, olives, pepperoni, green peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and just about anything else you can put on a pizza.

Pizza is also the food I am most likely to eat too much of.

I don’t eat sweets, so I am not tempted by pie, cake or ice cream. You can leave a bowl of M&M’s in front of me, and I won’t eat a single one. But pizza is a different matter. I’ve even forced down a slice of pizza when I was already stuffed.

So what’s the problem with frozen pizza?

The problem is that frozen pizza is not real pizza. Most of it is little more than cardboard with tomato sauce and “cheese” on it. Even the best frozen pizza is a weak imitation of the real thing.

If I’m going to have pizza, I want the real thing.

I don’t want to waste empty calories on something that fills my stomach and yet leaves me hungry—longing for the real thing.

Of course, this is bigger than pizza.

I’m also done with reduced-fat peanut butter, fat-free mayonnaise and turkey franks. But food is just the tip of the iceberg.

The prophet Isaiah records these words of the Lord:
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare
Our lives are filled with fake junk.

We sit in our imitation leather chairs while we watch “reality” shows on TV that are interrupted by ads that tell a fictional love story that centers around instant decaffeinated coffee and by mechanically animated commercials selling us financial investments with a “personal touch.” We then go to our computers where we enter the virtual community of My Space while smoking low-tar cigarettes and eating “butter-flavored” popcorn.

Sundays are no different. We get up and eat Egg Beaters for breakfast. Then we drive 30 minutes to a church where we have a manufactured “worship experience” and listen to an entertaining monologue from a preacher who wishes he were Jay Leno.


Jesus said, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10, The Message).

So why do we settle for imitation life?

We spend our time, energy and resources accumulating wealth, trying to make ourselves look attractive, buying the latest electronic gadget, going to trendy vacation spots, developing our abs, indulging in addictive pleasures, applying products to our bodies to make us look younger and scaling the never-ending ladder of “success.”

And the whole time our souls are starving.

I’m not talking about pagans, atheists or hedonists. I’m talking about people who claim to be among Jesus’ “sheep.” I’m talking about myself.

Do I really believe that God causes all things to work together for my good? Do I really believe that if I focus on the Kingdom of God that God will supply all my needs? Do I really believe that nothing can separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ? Do I really believe that God intends to fulfill the desires of my heart? Do I really believe that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us? Do I really believe that my life can be suffused with love, joy and peace?

Then why am I gorging myself on frozen pizza?

Pastor Rod

“Helping you become the person God created you to be”


jeff franczak said...

Living in and savoring the moment may be another key aspect of the “real and better life.” This applies to both the physical and spiritual dimensions.

I have come to recognize busyness in my life as a barrier to enjoying the present. Some years ago, I received the advice that choosing and enjoying the best things involves letting good things pass by. (That might have been a suggestion from you Rod.)

May we all experience the “real and better life” in increasing measure as we grow in the grace of our Savior.

Pastor Rock said...

Awesome thought Rod. I appreciate your heart in writing and the reminder to be real. If I want anything in life, I want to be real and I want my family, friends, and anyone else I come in contact with to know the real God because they know the real me. The me that is too weak to do it without God. The me that is human and has flaws, but has a divine and flawless God to shine throuugh my weaknesses.
Thanks Rod,
Pastor David Sheffield
Albion Wesleyan Church
Albion, IN

Pastor Rod said...


Thanks for stopping by. You've got it exactly right.

Here's something I've learned rather recently. God did not use Paul in spite of his weaknesses. He used him through his weaknesses.

As pastors, we tend to invest lots of energy convincing people that we have it "together." Not only is no one fooled, but it limits God's ability to work through us as real people.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. God bless you and your ministry.