When I first started ministry in the community I now live in, a fairly well known fast food restaurant was undergoing a remodel. There were banner signs on the outside of the restaurant that said, “Open During Construction”. For about three month I passed the restaurant during this construction phase.
Then, just the other day, I was driving by and saw a banner declaring: “Grand Opening of Our Newly Remodeled Restaurant” I was looking for a place to grab a bite, so I thought I would give the “new” place a try.
As I pulled up the outside looked very nice. Fresh exterior design and color made a statement of, well, “newness”. Everything changed as soon as I opened the door. While the interior was also freshly remodeled I was immediately confronted with intense fryer smoke. In fact, the smoke made it oppressive to breath.
I thought, "Maybe it is just a temporary problem", so I went ahead and ordered. Of course, I wanted to take just a few minutes break, so I asked the order “for here”. That was not a good choice. I went to the multi-beverage dispenser and my first three choices were out. Then I went to look for a table only to discover that almost every table in the room was dirty. The tables had been cleared but not cleaned. I finally found a clean spot at a counter with stools.
As I sat eating my burger, trying to not breath to deeply, I was reminded of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees about being whitewashed tombs. Good looking on the outside but nothing but death on the inside. Granted, the restaurant was not anything this extreme, but it did lead me to another line of thinking.
How many times have followers of Christ done an “external remodel”. Perhaps changing churches, reading the latest best seller from the hip Christian speaker, even trying new prayer techniques. In all of this, we fail to address the underlying issues in our inner spiritual lives. We never deal with the fryer smoke of sin. If this is the case we, just like the restaurant, have just undergone a wasted remodel.