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When the Food is Tainted

2 Kings 4:39-40

One of them went out to the field to gather herbs, and he found a wild vine from which he gathered as many wild gourds as his garment could hold. Then he came back and cut them up into the pot of stew, though no one knew what they were. And they poured it out for the men to eat, but when they tasted the stew they cried out,“There is death in the pot, O man of God!” And they could not eat it.

I love this story because it is indicative of what happens when we are given something that is not right. Would you be that perceptive if you were given something that was not right? I think we have become a society where we don’t want to offend anyone so we do not speak up. Had these perceptive men not spoken up and cried out against the tainted food, many could have become sick and even died. The problem was the man grabbed whatever looked good and assumed it would be good for the stew without ever knowing what the strange gourd was, yet he served it anyway. 

I have always equated this story to what is taught in the Church. We have many voices all contributing to the ministry yet there may be some parts of the contributions that are not quite right in following God’s Word. Like the strange gourd, it may lead people down a different path and take them away from healthy Christianity. 

I have pastored three churches in my pastoral career. Those three churches were quite unique from each other and all of them had some healthy strengths. They also at times demonstrated the dark side of a church where people pretended to be something they were not. In all three churches we had people pretending to be strong Christians, yet when the problems were beyond an easy fix, those who were pretending were the first to exit the church. 

Pretenders are everywhere in society, and they are also everywhere in the Church. These are the people who have strong opinions but their spiritual root in Christ is very shallow. They are also the type of people who would look for strange gourds to be thrown into the kettle of common belief. Sometimes we see these strange gourds to be masquerading as revivals. Real revivals change lives and communities, not theatric demonstrations of strange laughter, uncontrollable emotional outbursts, or people falling over. These are all strange gourds that people have brought and put into the Christian stew. 

Many of these people have a strong emotional side to their lives that affects their perception and understanding of the gospel message. Some have even thrown the strange gourd of Islam and Yoga into the pot. 

As you can see there are many strange gourds that have found their way into mainline Christianity. Some of you may think that I am too narrow in my approach, but remember not everything is profitable for you to practice as the Apostle Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 6:11-12:

11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but Iwill not be mastered by anything.

Just one wrong ingredient in a recipe can mean the difference between success and failure, and that is true in our spiritual lives as well. We don’t have to look for demons under every rock, but we do have to have discernment about the things we incorporate into our lives and call ‘Christian’. Remember the last days will be days we dilute what is real and incorporate the false. It is a slow process of acceptance and ultimately evil wears down any resistance to anything false, until everything is accepted as normal. 

That is the process we see in society and it is happening too often to many of us in the Church. The scripture teaches us to be watchful, sober minded and prayerful so we don’t end up with strange gourds in the pot. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 


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