The old saying goes like this: “Character is how you act when no one else is around.” Some folks have gone to Vegas alone or on a “business trip” and their true character has gone on display.
All of which brings me to Steak ’n Shake.
My wife was out of town on a Friday evening, and Natalie was spending the night with a friend.
“Hot diggity dog, a night all to myself.”
I have a confession: I went to Steak ’n Shake and got a burger, fries and a delicious chocolate milk shake the size of a blackjack table. For some reason, I felt guilty going there. I snuck in like a Baptist at a liquor store, took a seat at the counter, and hoped no one would see me and send a picture to Sheri. The headline would read: “Local Baptist minister caught stuffing his face on Friday night eating spree.”
The Friday night guilt came as a result of reading an article in the Friday morning paper. The article noted a study about Southerner’s high rate of strokes because of our high rate of consuming fried food. Having digested that info in the A.M., I knew that my Friday P.M. choice of food should have been a salad or a veggie plate. But the saying is true about character coming out when you are alone.
I know what to do but don’t always do it. I know what to eat and what not to eat, but I don’t always make good choices. I am more likely to make good choices when I have good folk around me (can you say wife?) to hold me accountable, but when I don’t, watch out.
The Apostle Paul had his share of temptations, but Steak ’n Shake was not one of them. He lamented (Romans 7) the fact that he knew he should do good, and he knew right from wrong, but even the great Christian leader himself struggled to make good choices. He did not always “eat his veggies,” if you know what I mean.
The season of Lent began last Wednesday, and I trivialize it if my focus is on shakes and fries. Though food temptations (shakes, chocolate, etc.) are significant, we should expand the discussion. Let’s talk real temptation. Jesus was really tempted. Some folks are not bothered by that, but He was. If you read His temptations in Matthew 4: 1-11, then we are not in the baby pool anymore. We are wading in the deep water.
A man sits in his room shaking. He’s got a bad case of the shakes (not milk shakes). Two days without a drink of liquor. He tells his friends, “I’ll never drink again. I’ve almost lost my family; I have already lost my job.” His wife is in the kitchen crying and his kids are in the bedroom trembling. You see, they know what daddy is like when he is drinking. What he knows, that they don’t, is that there is a half pint of liquor stored in a cabinet. When everybody leaves — well, now we are talking real temptation.
That’s tough, really tough. Confess your weakness. Ask God for strength. And when the wife is out of town make good choices. Order the salad.
Davis is pastor of the First Baptist Church in Carrollton.