I like donuts! Who doesn't? I only eat them once a week, at church. My kids love donuts! One of their favorite donuts are the iced ones with Jimmies sprinkled on them. There is just something appealing about a donut sprinkled with red and green jimmies at Christmas time. Or ones sprinkled with blue sprinkles on Penn State football weekends. And of all the donuts they could choose, they just are drawn to those decorated with jimmies. Somehow those jimmies just seem to add a little extra appeal to the taste buds.
Donuts are good tasting, filling, and make tummies happy, but they have absolutely no nutritive value to our bodies, in fact they harm us in that they fill us with nothingness and leave us not hungering for the real nutrition that our bodies need. They give us that sugar rush and then drop us dead, like a lemming running over the edge of a cliff, into the depths of exhaustion! (It's like sin, pleasurable for season!) They add a lot of extra calories, which in turn add a lot of extra baggage to our waistlines (the wages of donut sin) which we must then drag around everywhere we go, stuff into our jeans every morning, and half kill ourselves to try to get rid of it.
Religious activity is very much like a donut! We can get so busy doing the religious activities like reading our Bibles, praying so many minutes a day, going to church, doing good to our fellow man--all periphery activities but not necessarily gaining us the favor of God. People work in the Kingdom for many different reasons. Some work to get to the cross, to gain the favor of God. Others work from the cross, because they have already gained the favor of God and live to please Him in gratitude for what He has done for them. (Stole that idea from D.L. Moody)
Problem is with religious activity, just like the donuts, the center is missing and in the case of Christianity, that center is Christ. That's a very big hole, by the way! We can get so busy doing Christianity that we totally lose touch with Christ!!! And like the doughnut, religion satisfies for awhile, but eventually you will realize that it has left you exhausted, empty and without strength!
Personally I think that donuts with a hole in the middle are a waste of good air space. I gravitate towards the ones that have that cream filling in the middle. As tasty as the outside is, there is just nothing like getting a bite of that sweet, creamy filling in the middle.
Once I told my Sunday school class that the ones with the hole in the middle were "Sauls" and the ones with the cream in the middle were "Pauls", hoping to increase the demand for cream fills in the weekly donut order. (just kidding! It was an illustration about the difference between religion and relationship). But I think it was fitting.
A young girl recently posted a question on her facebook account that could clearly identify where we fall in the donut box. The gist of it was "if I didn't have all the stuff I have, would I be content with just having Christ." What if we couldn't even do our religious activities? Would we still be just as happy and content in God as we are with them? Would we have that same sense of security that ministry to the body and others affords us? What if we were like Paul and Silas, chained to a wall, expecting to die at daylight? Would we feel a sense of nearness to God, a sense of completion in our walk of faith, even if we had never done anything except be born again?
A fitting question and one to ponder, especially with a cup of tea and a donut!