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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Duck Fat Fries, Temptations, and Doing Nothing

The other night on Darkwood Brew, Eric Elnes   pointed out, in his usually brilliant way, that Jesus was tempted by things that most of us consider "good." That is, the Tempter didn't present Jesus with a 21 year old's dream of "hookers and blow," but rather with feeding people, curing people, and leading people. Jesus turned all those "temptations" down so he could do what he was supposed to do: love people. (Curiously, when you love people, you tend to feed and cure them, and even lead them. So Jesus accomplished what the Tempter offered without succumbing to the temptation. Clever guy that Jesus.)

I am tempted by Duck-Fat Fries from the Grey Plume in Omaha, NE.  Yeah. These fries are cut in generous rectangles, seasoned lightly, fried in duck fat, dressed in an aioli, and topped with a fried egg. (I once had it with a goose egg, and I swear on Jaques Pepin, the egg was the size of the bowl.) They are delicious. However, about three years ago I decided to only eat fries once a month...this is a nod to my age and digestive system. Now, if I know I am going to the Grey Plume, I can plan accordingly. But what happens, as it has, when Chris and I decide at the spur of the moment to stop by and have a drink? (You are shocked?)  There I am at the Grey Plume in the midst of a quandary. Do I have the fries or not? Maybe I've already had fries that month? (It's just a silly rule you made anyhow..go ahead.) Maybe I an not ravenously hungry, and the fries would be "too much." (Hey! It's possible.) Maybe I'll get Chris to order them, and have a few of hers. (btw, this is the option that usually wins.)

But you see, if I have the fries I will NOT have something else...a soup, a chicken terrine, or chocolate soup. So although I am always tempted by the fries in duck fat, oftentimes I turn them down for something else, equally as good, and probably better. The chef is truly great. I trust that he and his team will not let me down if I pass on the duck fat fries (or only eat one or two...maybe three, of Chris')

It is precisely the idea that there is a trustworthy future that allows me to overcome temptation. Were my future not held in trustworthy hands, like his  (Clayton Chapman of the Grey Plume, Omaha, NE), I might not pass on the fries--especially for a salad. That's why Jesus was able to overcome temptation, and how we overcome the temptations in our lives. We trust the people who promise us a future. If you don't trust, the temptation is too good to pass up. Jesus trusted that God had a future for him that was better than feeding the world or curing the injured...that's some serious trust.

Who are you trusting with your future these days? Beware of only trusting yourself because your future then is limited to you...you might not get hurt, but you probably won't flourish either. Who do you trust with your future so you are not overcome by all the goods that swamp you today?

I have passed up many goods over the years (I still wonder about that Irene Ryan scholarship?) in order to trust the future God seems to have laid out for me. At 50, I've come to accept that it means I will die, probably on a cross. The temptations pass because I do nothing, and let them pass in hope for tomorrow. Seems rather pathetic, I know, but imagine Jesus in the desert, how pathetic do you think that was? And he didn't have duck fat fries anywhere near him. At least for me, the Grey Plume is only 30 blocks away.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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