Eating spaghetti in Italy …

This may sound silly, but while planning my trip to Italy some years back, one of the things I looked forward to was enjoying a delicious spaghetti dinner. Spaghetti is one of my favorite foods, so how much more enjoyable would it be to have the real thing in the land of it’s origin?

As much as I looked forward to it, a spaghetti dinner wasn’t the first meal I experienced on the trip. I discovered that, as far as food was concerned, there was much to explore, including how different pizza is in Italy as compared to our American version.

So it wasn’t until my last night in Italy, while spending time in Venice, that I picked out a little cafe with tables outside along the grand canal and ordered my spaghetti dinner.

How great was it?

It was a real disappointment.

The meal had very little flavor to it. I had eaten much better tasting spaghetti in America. And to top off my disappointment, it was the single most expensive meal of the trip!

How could spaghetti, made by native Italians in Italy, be so disappointing?

I wonder sometimes if non-Christians have a similar experience when they come into the church. They hear us preach loudly about love and forgiveness and grace, then when they finally come to visit, they’re all too often disappointed in what they actually experience.

Instead of a delicious taste of Christlikeness and agape, they’re often served up judgmentalism, legalism, liberalism, and pop psychology in place of genuine Gospel, none of which resemble God’s lovingkindness, holiness, and truth. It’s an experience that doesn’t taste good.

Just as I expected something better from my Italian friends, those who finally come to the church expect something better from God’s children.

They should!

Jesus said, “I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you,” John 13:15.

When people step into your life to know you as a child of God, are they disappointed, or delighted in the Christlike love you serve them?