Column: One Layman's Outlook by Larry Elkins: Spirituality is more than candy from an Easter egg

Monday, July 3, 2006
Forty years ago the Christ of the Ozarks statue was erected on the grounds of today's Great Passion Play. Inset shows its appearance today.

This year on the Saturday before Easter our church held a community egg hunt.

I don't know how many of you have ever been to one of these egg hunts, but basically we scattered plastic eggs filled with candy all over a baseball park. They were not hidden. Still it took us about an hour to "hide" the eggs. Five minutes after we let the children onto the field it was over.

As the crowds began to thin out I decided to walk the field to make sure it was clear. I didn't want any ballplayer to slip on a jawbreaker and miss the play or break his jaw.

All I found was a handful of candy.

It seemed strange to me that some of the children had taken the plastic eggs and left the only thing that made it worth anything, the candy.

Then, on the backside of that baseball field a still small voice whispered, "A lot of people do the same thing."

My answer was, "Huh?"

That's about as articulate as I can get when the Holy Spirit is speaking.

He said that a lot of adults go for the shiny, bright colored plastic egg without realizing that inside it is empty.

Matthew 23:27 says, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness."

We, like the Pharisees, have built huge temples and extravagant church buildings. We set up worldwide television ministries, but without the Word of God they are as empty as a plastic Easter egg.

Psalms 127:1 says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

I've heard several preachers say, "Thank God for air conditioning and padded pews."

I agree. I'm not saying that we should leave our big, beautiful church buildings just because they are big and beautiful. I've read where God showed Moses the temple in heaven and told him to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness. He said, "And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount." Exodus 25:40.

John also received a vision of the temple in heaven. He was even told to measure it in Revelation chapter 11. It was big and beautiful and filled with the glory of God.

If the Word of God is in your big, beautiful church, then it is not empty. If the presence of God is there, then it is full.

If God is the head of a ministry it will be done right. The Word of God will be sown and souls will be harvested. But just like in any field on any farm, some of the harvest will be missed, simply because the workers have so much to gather.

Chapter two of the book of Ruth explains, "gleaning." It means to go behind the harvesters, gathering what is missed.

The hungry people in Bible times would pick up everything the reapers missed, the broken grain, that is trodden under foot, what was ignored in the corners of the field, and the grain that just didn't look good enough for the reapers to bring to the master.

Gleaning is our job. We must find the broken people who have been stepped on. We have to go into those corners to the ignored people.

They are all part of the harvest. God loves them and is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." That's 2 Peter 3:9.

What I am saying is that if you are hungry and searching through empty plastic eggs for a piece of candy (spiritually), maybe you should go into the field and find what God has for you.

"ŠSeek, and ye shall findŠ""Matthew 7:7. "Šhow much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:11.

John 4:35 states, "Šbehold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest."

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