What’s His Angle?
On my very first day as pastor at Lindsey Trinity, a couple treated me to a sandwich at Sandi’s Village Cafe, right here in ‘downtown’ Lindsey. After ordering, I sat down and was having a wonderful conversation. Then something strange happened immediately after I received my sandwich. I was entranced.
I did my best to keep my composure, but this sandwich… looked incredible. As a good United Methodist, one who enjoys his potlucks, where food abounds like water in the ocean, I had managed the challenge of maintaining my dignity in the face of overwhelmingly good food and emerged victorious! Here, in the presence of new parishioners and with first-impressions on the line, I had to control myself. But this sandwich…
It looked deep into my soul. The panini was bursting at the seams with ham, salami, banana peppers, onions and lettuce. I took a bite. It was as I feared. Despite its size, bigger than most men could handle in one sitting, I immediately wanted another. Gluttony was attempting to overtake me. I had to remain strong. I couldn’t start my new position being known as “Two Panini Pastor.”
Regardless its size, the sandwich vanished. I wish that I could say my taste buds were “delighted” but that sounds much more final than their present state truly was. They had been set ablaze with desire. They were insatiable. However I, like Hercules, conquered the mighty beast of bountiful blessing and walked away from the establishment as “One Panini Pastor…” That is, if you don’t count the ridiculous number of times I’ve returned to Sandi’s Village Cafe for just “one more sandwich.”
At this point you may be thinking, “Seriously, what’s this guy’s angle? What’s his ulterior motive behind writing a newsletter article about an Italian Panini? This thing reads like a romance novel!”
Good question. It could be that I own stock in Sandi’s. It could be that I have a daughter working there and she could use the tips. It could be that I’m leasing the space to the establishment or that revenue from having the business right here, in Lindsey, supports something I care about. I could be any number of things that benefit me, directly. None of which are true, but how are you to know?
So here’s the question: What ulterior motive could possibly be attributed Jesus’ dying on the cross for us, other than love? Sure, He died to cover our sins and to open a door to a relationship with God, but are those not a reflection of love? I can’t conjure up a single ulterior motive for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. What does He get out of it? Nothing else makes sense. Why else would an innocent man chose to go through that much pain and that much suffering to ultimately die (as history reflects) if it were not for love?
There are plenty of ulterior motives that could be attributed to my public panini pandering, accurate or inaccurate. However, I cannot come up with any ulterior motives for Christ’s decision to die on the cross. The only motivation I can conclude is “love.”
Pastor Travis Montgomery