Wisdom at Luby’s

Luby’s and I have a definitive love-hate relationship. My wife and I began eating there even before we were married. Dining in Waco always felt eclectic, even at chain restaurants. In other words, eating out was like a box of chocolates. Luby’s, however, was consistent. The food tasted the same, the process never changed, and the cliental, predictable. A few college students and young couples adorned the tables looking for their one taste of vegetables for the month but largely, the restaurant was filled with life’s seasoned veterans.

Looking back now, I wish we had taken the opportunity to simply pull up a chair at each table and listen to the amazing life stories embodied in those seniors. Instead, we observed from our table. We watched some couples struggle to find the right table while carrying a tray full of Luby’s delights. Others quickly nodded to one another when the “right” table appeared, often the last communication that would take place until the meal was finished. Many couples appeared to have a disconnected relationship. It was almost as though they had discussed everything life had to offer and now, marriage was speechless. Others just seemed sad, and even lonely, sitting across the table from the “one” of so long ago.

Every once in a while, the scene would change. As if a new wind blew through the dining hall, we would notice a couple that still gazed into one another’s eyes. After decades of marriage, they were still affectionate, attentive and loving. Those couples brightly defined an amazing word, intimacy.

In the middle of our youth, Jessie and I recognized that two paths stood before our marriage. Only one would continually require our very best. Only one would require focused intentionality and constant attention. And only one would lead to intimacy.

Our walk with Christ is the same. Going on a date (church) with Jesus once a week only reveals a shallow depth to our love and commitment. Paul wrote in Philippians that his life mission is to know Jesus – to foster intimacy with the creator of his very life.

Decades later, will the intimacy I have with Jesus Christ reveal the intentionality and commitment to grow today? Will I look more like Him as the sun sets each evening? My salvation is clear, but the depth of our intimacy requires my very best. He has already given His.

Do I Cheat?

Because of what I do, I often hear the stories that shake families. Stories of husbands who never meant to, of wives who simply got carried away in the moment resound throughout the hallways and offices. Most began the journey innocently and after a series of subtle compromises discovered they were past the point of no return (or so they thought). It is one of the most difficult things to hear and even more challenging is watching the face of the one receiving the news. A faithful husband discovers his wife has been seeing a neighbor or co-worker. A loving wife’s heart breaks as her husband confesses news that will take years, if not a lifetime, to work through.

I have often heard and even studied the incredible parallels Scripture draws between marriage and Jesus’ relationship with the Church. We are called His Bride. Scripture even details a wedding ceremony and covenant of sorts dating back to the giving of the law to Moses and Israel. Upon becoming a follower of Jesus Christ, I became the bride of Christ and said yes to the covenant of “marriage”. Out of love and passion, God gave His Word, the Bible, to lead and guide every believer in relationship to Him. Living according to HIs ways leads to an amazing abundant life. It is a life build on God’s grace, love and mercy and the covenant necessitates my obedience.

I can’t imagine or comprehend ever sitting down with my wife and hearing her confession of unfaithfulness. Nor can I grasp the idea that she would one day tell me that she is bringing another person into our covenant with no regard for me. What is holy and sacred would become filthy and desecrated. Our covenant and my trust would be destroyed and my intense love for her would fuel a passion expressed in anger and tears.

After thinking so personally about this covenant that I share with my amazing wife, it hit me for the first time. Years of study and understanding of the bride of Christ symbolism hadn’t pierced my heart. Yet such a personal perspective brought a real lump to my throat. How can I treat sin so casually in my relationship with Christ? How can I make excuse for pride, discontentment, or any other “pet” sin I choose to keep and subtly feed? It is no wonder that God’s anger burned with Israel and the Church when they turned from Him! It is not simply wrath, rage, or purposeless anger but instead the heart of a Holy God who gave His Son to redeem mankind. It is the passion of a God who loves me like I love my wife, actually, much much more.

Today, I am thankful for the cross of Jesus Christ because my sin was dealt with there. I am thankful for the resurrection of Jesus Christ because my death was dealt with there. Today, I am also thankful for the righteous anger of God fueled by a love for me I cannot comprehend.

Oh how he loves you and me…