>A couple of weeks ago I posted a thought about truly desiring intimacy with Christ. I used our under-the-weather kitty Vizzini as an example. Now, though, I’m going to use him and another kitten in a totally different way.
Vizzini started showing signs of having “issues” when we returned home on a Wednesday from a three-day out-of-town trip. He and another kitten – Wilhelmina – were significantly smaller than their four siblings, but Vizzini was by far the smallest. Two days later he began to show signs of joint problems. He was hunched over and his hips swung out in an odd manner. He could barely walk. He looked horrible! We originally thought he had fallen and broken his hips, even though feeling of him there seemed to be no dislocation. Then Monday rolled around and Mina started showing some of the same symptoms. We did a symptom check online and came up with a rare neuro-muscular disorder that, among other causes, could have genetic sources.
It broke our hearts to watch them. They spent their time curled up with one another. When the other kittens would come and try to play or interact with them, they’d wail pitifully until we rescued them. Whenever they did try to walk, they would stop every few steps as if overwhelmed. As we observed them, though, we discovered something interesting. Whenever Smokey (the mama cat) came around, Vizzini and Mina would move their hunched bodies as quickly as they could to get to her to nurse ravenously. The kittens had been eating dry food for quite a while, but they all still nursed a bit. But, Vizzini and Mina had been refusing any dry food during their illness. It wasn’t for a lack of hunger, but a choice of nourishment. They wanted only their mother’s milk. We began to be suspicious that maybe their problems weren’t some genetic disorder, but instead the results of malnourishment. We knew that they had been much less interested in the dry food when it was introduced, but it’s often hard with seven cats in the house to know who’s doing what. So, we really didn’t know if they were eating the cat food or not. Now we were highly convinced that they were not. At nine and ten weeks of age, breastmilk spread out across six kittens – even spread out across three or four – is not sufficient nutrition for growing kittens. Their bodies were lacking essential nutrients.
Sure enough, we began rubbing canned food on their faces so they’d have to lick it off. They then began eating the real food. To keep them from being hooked on the canned food, we mixed moistened dry food in with the canned food until they started eating it, too. We tried to reduce the amount of nursing they were allowed to do. They started to recover! By Friday, Vizzini, still quite small, but much healthier, was eating the dry food on his own. When the call came Saturday for three male kittens, he was ready to leave with his two brothers to go to their new home.
Mina, on the other hand, still wasn’t convinced. She’s been eating the dry food, but she’s still choosing to wait until she’s absolutely starving to death. She still wants to nurse. She’s incredibly stubborn.
Our churches are just like these two kittens. Unfortunately, we’re more like Mina than Vizzini. We don’t taste the more nutritious spiritual feeding and decide we’re ready to progress to dining solely on the deeper truths. We taste the deeper truths and then decide that we’re happy with our spiritual milk. It’s got to stop! We live our day to day lives just like anyone else in our society. We don’t want to be challenged. We don’t want to be removed from our comfort zones. We just want to be comfortably saved. So, in the process, our spiritual lives are atrophying. We’re so hunched and cramped up that we are surviving – and probably will survive for some time as long as we get the basic nutrition. But, we’re not active. We’re not interacting with our brothers and sisters beyond the natural church interaction. We’re not witnessing. We’re not teaching. We’re not bearing fruit. We’re just content to get just enough nourishment to make sure we can ask God for what we need or want when the need or want arises. When anyone messes with us, is concerned about us, or tries to get us to stretch and move our cramped spiritual bodies, we get offended and say that they’re sticking their nose in someone else’s business.
Meanwhile, we wonder why the world around us is becoming so dark…
We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But, we are so undernourished that we have no flavor. We’re so atrophied that our light gives about as much help to the world as the cute little light-up stars on Angie’s tennis shoes. They let us know where she is, but that’s about it. They don’t offer light to anyone else – or even to her for that matter!
If we don’t decide that we’re going to progress in our acceptance of spiritual meat instead of milk, we are going to go downhill with the rest of the world. When the persecution does come, we’re going to be like Vizzini and Mina when they were pounced upon by their siblings. We won’t be able to defend ourselves. We’ll just be able to curl up in little balls and wail for help. We won’t be impacting anyone else in the world. There will be no testimony of our lives worth telling. We’re already pitiful, and it’s going to get worse.
Put aside that milk. Be challenged! Find some way to stretch your spiritual muscles. Find a way to expand your spiritual palate. Eat that meat! Sure, some of it might be a little tougher to chew. Some of it probably won’t taste good at first. It might take a while to make it a part of your regular diet. But EAT! Be nourished! Be bold! Be active! EAT!!!