I enjoy a Friday night fish fry. There is something about going out to dinner after a long work week, not having to cook, and enjoying a good old Wisconsin fish fry. We are blessed in this area to have multiple places that serve quality fish. It isn’t like that everywhere in the United States. Outside of Wisconsin, many places will look at you funny if you ask where the best local fish fry is.
So, the question is, is a Friday night fish fry wrong? Like most things, no. It is something that is meant to be enjoyed and experienced. Like a good Sunday afternoon drive in the country, or a stop at the local ice cream business, or going to watch a ball game. None of these are wrong, and as a matter of fact, can be good quality wholesome fellowship with family and others.
So why ask the question? Well, I was thinking about my experiences with fish fry’s, specifically when I wasn’t a Christian, and they look so much more different to me now. I used to look forward to them with great anticipation. I knew what I wanted to order---whether it was bluegill, baked haddock, perch, or just the regular deep fried all you can eat option that many places have. Then there were the drinks---what was I in the “mood” for? This often was considered with eager anticipation as much as the fish choice. Was I going to have the traditional old-fashioned, or two? Was I going to have a few beers? Maybe a glass of wine? Or, maybe I would have a combination of these and have an after-dinner ice cream drink if you happened to be at a place that served those. I used to enjoy an occasional “Grasshopper.” Yummy.
As I was reminiscing all this, it made me think about church. Quite the segue, hey? It made me think about the times the line for a table was long on a Friday night or having to order two drinks right away because the bartender was taking forever, or the anticipation for Friday night already being pondered in my head as early as a Tuesday. None of these things bothered me. I put up with them. None of these things were serious enough for me to ever consider not going on a Friday night—heavens no. Yet, on a typical Sunday, I hear murmurings of, “the sermon was too long”, “I didn’t even want to go to church today”, “Ok, now that we are done with church, where are we headed for lunch?”, “Are, you going to Sunday School, too?” or maybe even not attending church this week because “I don’t feel like it” or “I don’t need it.”
I was comparing the attitude and passion for Friday night fish fry to many people’s poor attitude or lack of passion for attending church. It made me think of idols. Most people would define an idol as, “an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.” Yet, when you look a bit further in the dictionary, an idol is also defined as, “a person or thing that is greatly admired, loved or revered. Huh. That sounds much like how many might feel about a Friday night fish fry and all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with it. Could it be possible that there are many people who consider themselves Christians who are breaking the 2nd Commandment? A simple definition of the second commandment is: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything.”
If we are looking more forward to a Friday night dinner than we are at attending church and being in the presence of God Almighty and hopefully hearing the Word of God being preached in the pulpit, then I think we have some issues. If there is an eager anticipation for food and drink and are loathing the idea of another Sunday at church, then I think we have some issues. If we have more patience for waiting for a table, a drink or for our waitress to deliver our food versus enjoying being in the presence of our God, in fellowship with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and feeding on the eternal food of the Word, then I think we have some issues.
In conclusion, I encourage each of us to look in the mirror and ponder what fish fry is in our life that we have more passion for and look forward to more than what Jesus Christ died for and is the head of—namely the church.
Posted on Mon, May 28, 2018
by Jeffrey Middlestead