What Mess? Let’s Have Some Soup!
I attend a local church who fifteen years ago emphasized equipping the saints, teaching each individual Christian to read the Word of God and dig for its truths themselves, to listen to the Holy Spirit themselves, to learn to be obedient to what the Word and the Spirit was telling them individually and corporately. From a passive onlooker’s point of view, it looked rather messy. Different people with different passions with different understandings with different points of view all extending their faith in different directions with different giftings, etc., etc. It looked like there was no single purpose for direction. I have been through the Charismatic Movement which released individual believers in Jesus Christ to be priests of the Holy Spirit which exploded in diverse ways, looking extremely messy. Freedom released often looks messy! Revivals, being free in the Spirit, for some reason, always turn out messy!
Since then, the church has been struggling with “how to clean up the mess” as they focus on the mess, but they can not lose sight of the creation that the Lord is brewing. When I make beef vegetable soup, it is quite the process: preparing a stock of rich beef broth with a touch of chicken broth for diversity and taste, cutting beef into small chewable size chunks, dicing carrots, celery, zucchini, and string beans, mincing onions, slicing tomatoes, trimming broccoli and cauliflower into edible size morsels, adding pinches of salt, oregano, and pepper, thinly slicing mushrooms, dumping in a complimentary size portion of peas and corn, and adding the right amount of olive oil, then letting it cook while simmering, allowing all the juices, all the ingredients, all the special flavors to infiltrate each other into a marvelous concoction that only my soup spoon can handle when finished. As I step back to inhale its intoxicating rich aroma while it simmers, I am shocked at the condition of the kitchen: a TOTAL MESS! Although I now spend up as much time cleaning up the mess as in preparation of the soup, I CAN NOT loose sight of that cooking masterpiece on my stove, still simmering, still blending, still in the process of being a culinary masterpiece. Good soup takes time! Unfortunately, the church often looks and works at cleaning up the messes and looses sight of the pot, still cooking, still simmering, still in the process of making a masterpiece: delicious soup!
Do you stop the pot of soup from cooking? Do you turn off the dial that brings the heat that causes the chemical creations of all those diverse vegetables and broth to blend together? No. The soup is not ready yet! Only when there is a think layer of “oil” floating on the top created from the blending of the entire creation do you know that the soup is thick, the soup is blended, the soup is ready to eat! Get out your soup spoon, but not before it is done or you will miss the richness of properly blended soup! We need to “wait upon the Lord” until the “oil” of his Holy Spirit is upon the finished product before we, as humans, mess with it again! If we want the richness of what the Lord is doing, we must be patient, allow His process to work towards its completion!
It is alright to clean up the mess around the creation that we made for its preparation, but it is not wise to mess with or abort the project when it is simmering, stewing, going through the laborious process towards completion. God is still at work! He is the creator; let’s not mess with his creation, only clean up our messes!
I see this generation who has seen the mess created by past movements of God fearful to let go and release again that same spirit that might bring more mess, especially right after a clean up. I understand; I hear you, but don’t forget: the pot is still simmering, stewing, blending, ….. The preparation work is done; the clean up is done; now is the time for waiting for that “oil” to rise from the project to signal its time of maturity. If you are patient, you will benefit from all the preparation, the mess it created, the clean up, and the long cooking time. Remember: WITH PATIENCE YOU GET TO EAT THE FINISHED PRODUCT! REJOICE! Get your soup spoon ready!
I would be devastated if my wife came into the kitchen when it had its mess and tried to shut it down and throw my creation away. She would remind me, point out, and emphasize the mess, MY MESS, that I made! She would demand CONTROL back of HER kitchen because of MY mess! She may get angry, may raise her voice, or may give me the “evil eye” that only mothers and wives can give at precisely the right moment to get their poignant point of their displeasure across! She may even continue to NAG me about MY mess even while I am cleaning it up! And if really angry, if really feeling intolerant, if really feeling offended, she may take the lid off the pot, complain about the “film” of “oil” that is floating on top, and throw all its contents away! After all the mess is cleaned up, after all the emotions are deescalated, after emotional damage has occurred to all involved, there will again be an immaculate clean kitchen, but NO SOUP!
That is how most churches have handled the mess of change caused by the Holy Spirit which we call revival. They choose to throw the Godly workings of that revival out because of the mess that was created. The Church still wants the benefits of revival, but without the mess. The benefits of revival is the soup, but after throwing the soup away, you can not get it back!
Church, let’s be patient. Many in the past have “prepared” that which is brewing, stewing, bubbling in our midst today. We need to recognize that there was mess in the preparation, and it is OK to clean up after making our messes, but please, please, please, don’t throw out the pot of soup, God’s product, or it will be forever lost! Instead rejoice together by getting out your soup spoons in preparation of the “feast” the “banquet” that the Lord has prepared for us to enjoy TOGETHER!