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Back To The Garden
by Bro. Clifford Hurst
1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
Having been in church all my life and having been in ministry for thirty-five years, I should not be surprised; yet, it still leaves me dumbfounded that, when some believers decide to loosen their convictions, seek out a church where less is expected of believers, or simply adopt some worldly pursuit, fashion, or pleasure, that more often than not, they give a "spiritual" reason. Once a family left the church giving as a reason, "We just aren't being fed." I am not so naïve as to believe there are no places where people are not being spiritually fed. There are places where the Gospel is no longer preached, the supernatural and eternal are not believed, the speakers have put little effort into the sharing of any spiritual truth. But, this, "We just aren't being fed," was in the face of frequent expositional preaching, Spirit-infused exhortation from ministers, some of the best Sunday School teaching anywhere, and targeted group meetings with relevant material from the Word shared. Yet, to say, "I'm not being fed," sounds like spiritual high ground. It is meant to. If it is a "spiritual" reason given, it precludes and circumvents anything said to question the decision to go elsewhere or do otherwise. It is a way of saying, "I am really spiritually hungry, but being a expert connoisseur and judge of what is spiritual, I have concluded what is being presented is not spiritually nutritious." (Today, often, "I'm not being fed," really means, "I'm not being accommodated or entertained in the way I’d like.") Contemplating this reason, "I'm just not being fed," it struck me: Where is the honesty? Where is the true, sincere self-reflection? Why does none simply be honest and admit, "I haven't been eating." Instead of making it about the deficiency of the spiritual food served through the teaching, preaching, etc., why not be honest about the lack of appetite, failure to be regular at the table, neglect to truly listen, absorb, reflect, and apply the Word? That will be my response in the future. When told, "I am not being fed," I will ask, "Have you been eating?" I have seen the disappointment of my wife and other cooks when they have worked so diligently to prepare a meal only to have someone at the table put little or nothing on his plate, pick at the food, and leave most on the dish when rising from the table. I have heard my wife say to the children when they did so: "I don't want to hear in a little bit you say that you are hungry." In other words, don't leave my table saying, "I am not being fed." Tell the truth and say, "I haven't been eating."