Hors D’Oeuvres Devotional Thought
Recently, I have been contemplating the nature of both the message and ministry which our Lord has entrusted to us who have placed saving faith in Him, and been sent into the world as His representers. It was the risen Christ who dispatched Spirit empowered believers into the world, which He described as the sending of “sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt 10:16).
Apparently, Jesus means for His servants to brace for some kind of certain hostility, and some measure of opposition. The “beef” that we face is usually due to the message we preach and the ministry we do for the sake of Jesus. So in light of this reality, what would lead us to offer the world anything from the Master’s table? What if they disrespect it, or mock it, or refuse it? Thus the concept of “the hors d’oeuvres.” Hors d’oeuvres are usually not requested, they are just available for the public based on the Chef’s desire to provide them.
I’m reminded of a similar thought in the book of Isaiah, “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price (55:1). Later, the Lord explains that the way to eat freely, not by coercion, but in response to the gracious offer, is to “Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” (2-3).
Our message is from the Chef—and He has prepared truth to feast on, and eternal life to consume. We must come to grips with the fact that Hip-hop, like the entire world, has no innate appetite for the gospel, or the God who offers it.
In light of this reality some have concluded that we should not give the gospel to them. In fact, within Christian Hip-hop circles and some “seeker oriented” ministry circles, gospel-centeredness seems like an obvious counter-productive method of missional engagement. Often, when the gospel is too present, or the exaltation of Jesus and His principles too forefront, people will say, “that’s for the church.” The inference is that it must be for the church because the world would never want that.
To this logic, I say “NO!” The elevation of Christ, and the offer and explanation of His good news is as much for the world as it is for the church. The imperative nature of our call to “go and make disciples of all peoples” means that God, our Chef, has provided that which people are free to take or leave, but it is very much intended for them to partake of and find life.
As hors d’oeuvres are given freely for enjoyment, so the crux of our message and ministry is offered regardless of whether it has been requested or not. We offer it, expecting it to be received as an acquired taste. We believe, as Jesus told the Pharisee, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn 6:44).
Jesus Himself is an acquired taste, and without an appetite for Him due to the drawing of the Father, people will not desire anything that makes too much of Him. Thus, the hors d’oeuvres concept applies. We dare to keep Jesus on our menus, and on our tables—not because people want it, but because God says that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations…” (Lk 24:47).
To go even further, we persistently offer Him because Acts 4:12 declares that “there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” People can go on iTunes and order what they want, but as for me and like-minded believers we say, “Come and get up on these hors d’oeuvres!”
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