ketchup_ranch1My kids love Ranch dressing. And, like their Dad, they love Ketchup. But whereas I like it on french fries and cheeseburgers, they like it on, well…everything.

During lunch yesterday, we were having Grandma’s potato soup, salad, and toast. Eva asked, “Daddy, can I please have some Ketchup?” For what? I asked, astonished. “My toast.” At first I said no, and tried to explain that we don’t eat Ketchup with our toast. But after her second heartfelt plea, I realized she really wanted Ketchup for her toast. To the point where I’m not sure she would have eaten it without it. I could have forced her to, but God had a lesson for me.

Like growing children, sometimes we can become very particular in how we will receive all things spiritual. Correction, for instance, we say can only come from certain people at certain times in certain ways; if it doesn’t fit our criteria, then we won’t receive it, and it certainly didn’t come from the Lord. A particular Pastor’s method of preaching isn’t really “our style,” so we dismiss it’s relevance. The worship leader last Sunday isn’t our favorite, so we “can’t engage in worship.”

Such stances should be red-flags in the life of the Believer. (All of which, mind you, I mentioned from personal experience). A mark of true spiritual maturity is being able to receive anything at anytime from anyone. Not just when it has Ranch dressing on it. ch:


Len Flack · 10 Jun ’09 at 1:25 pm

Great post! Very timely thoughts. I prefer creamy caesar dressing and Tabasco myself, but it’s the same concept.

I was right with you… until the second to last sentence: “A mark of true spiritual maturity is being able to receive anything at anytime from anyone.”

The context of your post had to do with preference issues, such as music styles, preaching methodology, etc. In that way, I’m in full agreement. As long as we aren’t being encouraged to do something that is prohibited by scripture, a worship experience can take many forms as it’s led by the Holy Spirit, and be completely valid.

However, if we expand the context of that statement from corporate worship to individual relationships, I may have to disagree. Now, I think I understand what you are saying here, and ultimately we probably agree. However, I think we would do well to exercise caution in receiving advice, critique, and even rebuke. We are to “…test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21 ESV). We need to exercise discernment with the input that comes into our lives.

Basically, any input gets handled one of three ways: we receive it, we reject it, or we redeem it. Receiving or rejecting is straightforward, it’s taking something at face value, or discarding it, receptively. Redeeming it can be a bit more complicated. Sometimes Godly people give us un-Godly input, and are unwittingly being used as tools of the enemy to tear the body down. Other times, un-Godly people speak a measure of truth, and are used of God. The trick in sorting it all out, is discernment.

Now that this comment is longer than your post, (sorry bro!), I’ll wrap it up: It’s fine to prefer ketchup and ranch (or ceasar and tabasco), as long as the food you’re putting it on (toast) is healthy (wheat toast?).

I think… 😉

Christopher Hopper · 11 Jun ’09 at 7:48 am

Len: Well I’m stoked my post brought you out of the woodwork with such an awesome reply! Indeed!

Totally with you here. And you’re right, I did stray a little in my point, at least to the affect that I would need a little further explanation to solidify the context of the line indicated.

Surely, it’s not just receiving any correction, instruction, or input…then we’d be basket cases following every religious system known to man, including atheism. lol That input needs filters put on it, and I think you presented the case well. There are many ways of testing that stuff, and also means by which we apply it.

I think the best example of this comes from my Senior Pastor. About 8 years ago he had a woman leave the church in a huff. She was mad. And opinionated. So much so, that she drafted a letter and sent it to him and every one of the Board Members.

At first, some of the Board dismissed the letter and threw it out, defending their leader and the church to a fault. But Pastor Kirk went back and printed out the letter for each of them afresh, asking them to truly examine it, unwilling to miss instruction that they could glean from it, even if the motive or method was wrong.

Upon further consideration of the letter, the Board found things that were indeed Godly and implemented ideas and policies that are in place to this day, ideas that have made our church all the better.

So I should have put a qualifier on the statement of “…receive Godly input…” to better explain things. The key I was trying to get at, still, was that Godly advice can sometimes come from very ungodly people that we dislike. Ranch. Ketchup.


Len Flack · 11 Jun ’09 at 12:16 pm

First, sorry (again) to be so lengthy. It’s a pastor’s curse, I think.

Second, we’re definitely in agreement. And, what a great example of handling a rough situation with grace. Sometimes there really is nothing we can learn from our critics, but that’s probably not true the majority of the time. Praise God for the wise example that Pastor Kirk displayed in that situation!

Christopher Hopper · 12 Jun ’09 at 3:21 pm

Len: you are always allowed to go long here! That’s what blogs are for! Thanks again for your insight. ch:

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