The Distractions of This World

I love Chipotle. They make the best burritos around. Their ingredients are always fresh and tasty. And this story is in no way a knock against the franchise, just a demonstration of how distractions can move people astray. 

I will be returning to have that burrito… someday (probably today).

The pandemic has caused a lot of burnout for restaurants. This makes these poor workers very short-handed. Online and from a distance, there are all of these expectations. “Sure, make an order. It will be done shortly”, my app tells me. 

Yesterday, I showed up as promised to pick up the food I had ordered. My heart sank upon entering the restaurant and seeing several people also waiting for their online order. I go to the rack where they place online orders. There are three of them, none are mine.

My app says the food is ready. The restaurant says nothing of the sort. In the back I can tell these poor workers are short-handed. I’m irate like the next guy, but what can be done. I have to wait. A few irate customers speak to one of the workers. I just hang back and listen.

All the while, the restaurant is taking orders for people who just entered the store. They are getting food. I am not. An hour and a half later… I’ve been waiting here. The store closes. I have to cancel my order. There are several orders on the rack which have not been picked up, several people like me who have stood there and waited for their tasty burrito..

I went to a nice Tibetan/Indian restaurant across the street. I ordered something with beef and potatoes dipped in a tomato-based sauce. The service was pleasant, the atmosphere magical. I’m eating within 15 minutes.

Logistics of the Heart

The issue is one of logistics. In my workplace we learn how you should not take new orders or jobs until the old ones are first dealt with. This has made my company very successful. But we constantly have to manage and produce people who want to start new projects, even after having several old and half-finished projects yet to be accomplished. 

Chipotle should have foreseen this. They should stop receiving any new online orders. They should halt any new orders from the walk-in crowd. They should work on finishing the pending online orders first. But I didn’t see any manager at the store. No one was there to make these calls. So, again, I’m not saying stay away from Chipotle. The reason things take time there is because they make everything fresh. I don’t go to Chipotle to get fast food. I go there to get good food. The fact I was willing to wait so long proves how much I’m willing to wait for that quality burrito. I have no doubt they will fix this in the future. Many eager customers will gladly return.

Without a manager to guide them, without an order of things, chaos reigns. There are so many distractions in this world, so many things to move us away from the goodness of God. 

If you are struggling with managing your life spiritually or otherwise… don’t take any new orders. Focus on the orders you have, but unlike Chipotle who should have focused on who put in their orders first, we should put a priority on what is the most important thing to address. 

Fleeting Prayers

Don’t put off the things of God because they are uncomfortable. 

Galatians 5:

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

We are not called to do what we want to do. We are called to follow after God. God has one voice in your life. You must pray long and hard to find it. This is by His design. We cannot just add him to our busy schedule. We have to stop, pray, and listen. If we do not do this, we will always miss Him. Fleeting prayers do not change the world.

Sometimes, we cry out to God and He seems very far away. Perhaps this is because He has already responded, but it is with a response we do not like. So, we ignore it and forget about it. Then we come before the Lord begging for Him to help us. He already has.

Some cry for grace to cover their disobedience to God. Then they wonder why He isn’t speaking to them. He already has.

How We Should Pray

Matthew 7

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Jesus is speaking in a riddle here. He often did this (usually through parables). Why? Because in taking action to do what he seems to be saying, they reveal the fleshly tendencies of our heart.

Ask to be the president of the United States of America. Why not. Seek every pathway you can to achieve this. Follow your dreams. Knock on all of the doors that will make this come to pass. God will open them… right? The word good things at the end of that verse is derived from our old Greek friend named agatha. The Greek word agatha means good whether you see it to be good or not.

So, if you ask, seek, and knock your way, He will respond in His way. Jesus clarifies how we should pray further in John 14:

12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.

So, now we hear it plainly. We must ask according to God’s goodness and not ours. James 4 explains this further:

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

God gives us a response. We feel it. We know it. We’ve asked, sought, and knocked. He’s just  responded according to His goodness and not ours. He’s given us something we weren’t actually seeking (but it is so much better than what we seek after my friend). He’s opened a door we weren’t knocking on (a path far greater than our meager understandings). 

Flee the distractions of this world. Priorities God’s order above all others. Go back to the Lord in that uncomfortable prayer and respond to His answer with, “Not my will but yours be done.”

2 thoughts on “The Distractions of This World

  1. We’ve been to a restaurant where when we entered, the person at the front explained that there would be a 15 minute wait to order because they were filling mobile orders. It was helpful because we were able to make other plans since we were on a lunch break and had to be back to work soon. Some eateries have added the ability to throttle online ordering – PF Changs does this for instance.

    Thanks for the encouraging words. It’s a good analogy…sitting at the feet of Jesus must remain at the center.

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