This is a picture of me taken about 13 years ago. My hair is grayer now and my glasses are a little more stylish. It was my birthday, and I have always wanted pie for my birthday. I’ll eat cake, but nothing compares to a pie for me, particularly an apple one baked by my wife. Yum! One time, she baked an apple pie for a dinner to which we were invited. As we were getting ready to leave, she offered to leave the leftover pie for our friends to enjoy. I was trying to make eye contact to indicate that I wanted a couple pieces for myself. I was too late. We drove home empty-handed. Nowadays, I don’t eat much pie because I have eliminated most sugar from my diet, but I still enjoy a piece on special occasions.
Perhaps it is my love for pie that long ago I began thinking of life as pie. We typically divide up our lives in our minds into different categories. There is our work life, our family life, our social life, and our spiritual life. Like cutting up a pie into slices, we tend to divide our lives into different sections. And often we are encouraged to keep these separate from one another. We are told not to mix our work life with our social life; marriage counselors will often encourage couples to create boundaries between work and family because work tends to intrude on time with family. I have seen many students, as well as adults, separate parts of their lives from their spiritual lives. For example, it is not atypical for students to attend church or a campus ministry, but party on the weekends. Or for an adult to be a faithful churchgoer, but not a very good husband or wife.
If we’re honest, we’ve all done this at one time or another, to some degree. I know I have.
However, what we need to understand is that our lives may be divided into sections, but what holds every aspect together is the Lord, like a pie dish holds the pie together. He is the foundation for everything else. Without the pie dish, a whole pie will never hold together. Yet, we often try and the results are what one might expect when trying to make a pie without a pie dish.
As I mentioned, I have often seen students try to live the Christian life, but they justify partying. I remember once challenging a student in our ministry who I knew was quite a partier. Her response was, “Jim, we’re college students!” In other words, her social life was separate from her spiritual life. I see that in some parents as well. They are professing Christians, but they parent with a very worldly approach. They often have goals for their kids, but rarely is the goal for the child to be obedient to wherever the Lord leads them in life. They create boundaries based on what they are comfortable with, like getting a well-paying job and living near home. Their role as a parent is separate from their life as a Christian, though this is not apparent to them.
If we follow Jesus and profess he is our Lord, then he is over everything in our lives. Nothing is separate. He is Lord when we are at work; he is Lord of our marriage and family; he is Lord of our relationships and activities outside of our home. In other words, our lives are not truly divided; they are one whole, and what holds them together is the Lord.
Thus, if we are truly following Jesus as Lord, the evidence will be there in every aspect of our lives. As the Apostle Paul says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) Do it all is the key phrase because we live a life in the Lord that is whole and not separate. When we work, we are to do it in the name of the Lord, for his honor and glory. When we parent, our goal for our kids is to be that they grow into men and women who love the Lord and want to follow him wherever he leads. When we socialize with others, we do it in a way that brings honor and glory to him. All of these parts of our lives, which naturally want to separate, are held together as one whole for those who follow him.
Take it from a true pie lover, it’s quite fine to divide a pie into slices. In fact, it’s much better for your health to do so. But when it comes to your life in the Lord, letting him keep it whole and held together works far better.
© Jim Musser 2020 All Scripture references are from the New International Version, 2011.