Pastor Says 'Cold Turkey'

Pastor Greg Owenby

When the term “cold turkey” is used, my mind goes to only two things.

The first is a person or group stopping something abruptly, which is called quitting “cold turkey”.

The Apostle Paul is an analogy of someone quitting something abruptly. He was persecuting Christians then he met Christ at a divine appointment and he quit the persecution…that’s right, “cold turkey”!

The second is what happens at lunch or supper the day after Thanksgiving. Some of the best sandwiches I have ever had have been “cold turkey” sandwiches.

Therefore, the second of our analogies concerning “cold turkey” is one of leftovers. I have a child that rarely eats leftovers. I say to him often “you don’t know what you’re missing, it is even better now.” That is because now that all the flavors and seasonings have had time together, it IS even better.

When we leave leftovers, often it is just crumbs – not enough for a meal but enough for a taste to remind us of the meal.

I heard a man one time, speaking of his grandmother’s cooking say, “I would give anything for just a few crumbs from her table.” The word crumbs only appears in the Bible three times. Twice it is in reference to a single meal, the other to a series of meals.

Matthew and Mark record the story of a Syrophenician woman who comes to Jesus for help. She had three things against her. The first two were that she was a woman and she was not a Jew.

When we consider those two things, one could understand why her first request for help was met with silence and why she would have thought very little of her chances of getting help from Jesus. The third thing against her was that Jesus was eating a meal that she had just interrupted. His silence always has a cause and this time it was probably so the crowd could contemplate all she had to overcome to get help from Him. But His silence was also cultural; after all, Jewish men rarely even spoke to Gentile women.

She would ask for help two more times and, in my opinion, it was once for each thing she had to overcome. Her second request was met with words from Him she had obviously already considered, because she immediately responded. He said “I have come to feed the Jews, not to feed “dogs”.

This was the title most Jews gave to Gentiles. She responded with, “But the dogs eat from the crumbs their masters leave behind.” The fact that He spoke and she responded to Him must have shocked everyone in the room and, if it didn’t, what Jesus said next surely would.

Before we get there let’s talk about her interruption of His meal. Why wasn’t she escorted out of the house, or at least asked to act like a respectable guest and let Him eat? It was because just like Paul’s meeting, this too was a divine appointment.

We must be reminded Jesus knew she was coming and He knew she needed Him! So saint, when your life is interrupted and Jesus gets your attention, remember He knows who you are, where you are and that you need Him!

So what did Jesus say to her next that was so shocking? He said “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” Saint, our words are expressions of our faith. In her case, when she called Him Lord and the son of David, she publicly and unashamedly recognized Jesus for who He was.

Only twice did Jesus brag on a person’s faith and both times it was a gentile who came to Him on someone else’s behalf. One was a Gentile soldier who came to Jesus to get help for his sick servant. This time it was a Gentile mother who came to Jesus to get help for her sick child.

When I think of leftovers, I think of the things Jesus has let fall from His table for me! I have left those times ever so satisfied. But I also think of the times those crumbs have helped someone else.

I mentioned earlier the word crumbs was used three times in scripture, and we discussed two of them in one story told by Matthew and Mark. That leaves one. When the beggar Lazarus sat outside the rich mans house, he did so begging to be fed from the crumbs that fell from his table.

So, saint if you can’t think of a reason to fall at the feet of Jesus to be fed today, remember there are others right outside your house that need a crumb from Him!

Saint, don’t be surprised if you ask for a crumb and you leave like the Apostles on the day Jesus fed the five thousand. Each one of them carried away a full basket of leftovers from that meal.

Each one of them had enough to share a taste of the meal they just had with a lot of other folks.

So saint, when you come to Jesus on behalf of someone else, you better bring a basket in case He gives you enough leftovers to take them a taste too!

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at mlayton@ncweeklies.com