“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are profitable. “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things build up. (1 Corinthians 10:23 WEB)
When we first arrived on Guam the number of fast food restaurants was limited. The ubiquitous McDonald’s were spotted about the north half of the island. The children loved that sight.
I wasn’t so thrilled even though I’d grown up with a great love for fast food. Restaurants such as White Castle and Krystal make my heart flutter with excitement. I’m not sure if that is joy over the food or an arterial reaction to the blood clotting fat in the meal. Regardless, I’ve always enjoyed such fine eating establishments and occasionally sneak a bite even in the face of my present dietary restrictions.
McDonald’s was as close as we got when we arrived in the tropics. With careful research, known as driving around the island, we eventually discovered a Pizza Hut way up in the north. A couple years later we were thrilled when they opened a second shop close to our home.
When the spirit of fast food, mixed with the grain of available cash, moved, Beth and I would stop by Pizza Hut for lunch. One time, while Ellice was in school, we took Joel along to enjoy the treat.
We selected a booth by the window with a view toward the main road. Joel took a seat beside me as we ordered our pizza and drinks. Joel played while Beth and I chatted about the week’s events and our up coming schedules.
After a few minutes Joel decided he’d have more fun sitting by Mommy. So, with the usually shifting of our legs Joel descended beneath the table and arose again beside Beth. We continued our conversation as the waitress brought our drinks.
Out of the side of my vision I saw Joel coloring on the placemat and chewing on some appetizer. At least I thought it was an appetizer. Glancing about the table for the crackers he appeared to enjoy I couldn’t find them. I wanted a little something to chew on while waiting for the cook to finish the pizzas. I asked Beth if she gave him some gum and she said, “No.” We stared at each other a moment then turned toward Joel.
Looking at Joel I asked, “What are your chewing Joel?”
“Gum,” he replied without looking up as he continued to fill the paper before him with color.
“Gum,” I mused, “where did you get it?”
“From under here,” he said, without concern, as he pointed under the table.
Needless to say Beth and I had Joel spit out the gum. We then instructed Joel in no uncertain terms never to take it from under a table again. We promptly lost our appetite! Our son was passing by the attractive collection of colored temptations on his way from Dad’s side to Mom’s side. In the joy of his colorful discovery he partook of the offering and enjoyed himself, for a while. He wasn’t aware of the potential danger.
Sin has a way of entering the Christian life as we casually saunter by temptation out of the sight of others. The appearance is good and no one is looking. We take a bit and off we go . . . until we get caught.
We were glad to catch Joel and provide proper instruction for the future before something tragic happened. He survived his short episode as we sometimes survive our tripping into sinful situations. If he had asked before he partook of the secret temptation he could have saved himself some trouble. As believers we can save ourselves some trouble if we pause and take time to ask before we start chewing on the wrong thing in our walk with God.