When I was a kid I used to love mayonnaise sandwiches. That’s right, just two pieces of bread, with a thick helping of Miracle Whip (which technically, isn’t mayonnaise — it’s salad dressing) in the middle. No meat, no cheese…no veggies. Just Miracle Whip and bread.
I’m not sure how that started. Perhaps it’s because we were so poor and often didn’t have anything else to put between our two slices of Wonder Bread. It’s not very nourishing. But at the time, it was a wonderful snack.
And now, having grown up and had all sorts of meat-filled hoagies, clubs, burgers and Reubens — mayonnaise sandwiches don’t sound very appealing.
The early part of my spiritual journey was just like that mayonnaise sandwich. I had the bread, but not much to put in the middle.
My early walk with Christ was encapsulated in the only two things I really knew about Jesus:
- He was born of a virgin, in a manger, under a bright star. Wise men came to see Him and brought Him gifts.
- He was crucified for my sins. But after three days, He rose from the grave…proving His power over death, and thus granting us everlasting life.
But I knew very little about the middle of the sandwich. What happened between birth and death? What did Jesus do with His time here on earth?
We can grow so complacent in our spiritual journeys that we forget about the middle of the story. And frankly, part of that may be the fault of the Church.
Pastors — not all of them, but many — find it easy to talk about the bread. Sermons about how Jesus was born…and how He died for our sins are abundant. It’s an easy topic to give the body. But what about the middle?
Last year, a Barna poll found that more than 50 percent of church-goers in the US said they had not heard a single sermon about ministering to the poor over the past 12 months. Over 50 percent!
But so much of what Jesus did was ministering to those who were hungry, thirsty, hurting, sick, lame, blind…poor. Jesus spent the better part of His ministry addressing those needs. And He told us to do likewise.
Why isn’t the Church teaching about the middle?
Seems to me that ministering to the poor ought to be the most preached topic in the Church today…not one of the least.
If we truly want to be Christ-like, and we should, then let’s start teaching Christ’s message to the Church. Let’s start doing what Jesus did — and what He told us to do…serve the poor.
Anything less…is just a mayonnaise sandwich.