stand firm therefore do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
– The Epistle to the Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
This past worship service I opened up a bottle of Shiner Bock. Yup. You heard it right! In the beginning of my message I pulled out the iconic Texas brew and cracked it open saying, “Some of you are angry, others of you are thirsty.” I used it to illustrate there are certain liberties some of us feel free to exercise where others decline, and while people may not like the choices we make it doesn’t nullify those freedoms. There was much more to the message but can I just say one thing? I really, really love my church!
That levity stirred within me such a deep appreciation for a congregation who understands that if we’re going to get irked about something it’s going to concern the Gospel, not whether a Follower of Jesus decides to imbibe alcohol responsibly. That’s a freedom he may choose to use or not use (the same with movies, music, etc.), but we’ve got a bigger fish to fry – helping spiritually dead people find life in Jesus. I know far too many churches who’ve decided to major on the minors and miss the mission, where issues like beer become shibboleths for weak spirituality and engender fruitless causes that exasperate more than redeem. While I’ve personally fallen into that pitfall in years past, I thank God we haven’t done so as a congregation. May it never happen.
Thus it warmed my heart to hear from the mouths of those who call my church their church as well, that it’s the Cross that counts. If you want a Shiner that’s up to you. Be wise. Be discerning. Be loving. But in the end, the Gospel in your heart is much bigger than a beer in your hand.
Now that’s a Gospel that truly is Good News!