So, what in the world is that title about anyway? Well, pablum is another name for a mushy cereal for babies, bland and easy to go down. How often are we fed pablum as a Christian? Taught the basics but never taught the deep things of God. We are taught to just trust Jesus. But why? Well, because the bible says He is faithful, that He is true, that He is not a man that He should lie. We are so often given scraps and then wonder why we are not growing in the faith. Even Paul berated the followers in Corinth, saying in 1 Corinthians 3:2, "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for solid food. In fact, you are still not ready." Just as physically we grow and mature, we are to do the same in our Christian lives. We couldn't function as adults if we still crawled on the ground, played with toy cars or colored all day and threw tantrums if we couldn't have mac and cheese for every meal...although that might not be so bad once in awhile! No, we are to grow in the truth, we are to study to show ourselves approved and we are to then share that fabulous mystery of God with others. We need to quit settling for the instant oatmeal of faith and dig into the filet mignon. Taste for yourself and see that the Lord is good!
Placebo, we know what that is, right? Usually a sugar pill given in place of a real medication. Often used in medical trials, to see if the authentic drug really works. I was amazed when I went to dictionary.com and looked up the origin of that word. It comes from a Latin phrase used in the Vulgate, a fourth century translation of the bible. The phrase is "placebo Domino in regione vivorum", "I will please the Lord in the land of the living", or meaning I shall please. In the case of medicine it was often a remedy used to please the patient, not always to benefit them.
How often do we use a placebo instead of the real thing? How often, instead of getting into the bible to seek out the hard truths of the Lord do we read a Christian bestseller? How often instead of spending quiet time praising and worshipping the Lord do we turn on the radio and just hum along? How often instead of taking time to fellowship with other believers do we turn on the tv and watch someone else do it? Now there is nothing wrong with any of those things, but they all have their place. Take a look at that word placebo again, it means I shall please. Are we pleasing ourselves with our minimal effort and modicum of work or are we doing the sometimes hard thing and truly seeking to please the Lord. Really digging into a relationship with Jesus. I am sometimes guilty of this myself. I get tired, I get busy, I get bored. But, just like that little sugar pill, those things won't complete a good work in me. They won't bring me the true healing that I need. They may give me good information, make me feel good for a time, but an intimate relationship with Jesus gives me that and so much more.
And that brings us to platitudes. Platitudes are trite remarks spoken as if they were deeply profound and full of meaning. And the Christian community has them in spades. "Let go and let God". "Everything happens for a reason". Or the worst one ever, when someone dies, usually a child, "Well heaven just needed another angel". Easy answers for difficult situations. You know something, nowhere in the bible does it say that we have to have all the answers. Nowhere does it say we should have a pat answer ready for every occasion. Often the best remedy is to just be quiet. To pray and ask the Lord what would really minister to that person. To just be a friend. Often the greatest healing comes in the silence. To let that person know that someone else cares, that you can be a sounding board, or just to give a hug. See that is the hard part. Not a quick easy answer, but to be available. To take that time to be a true friend. That is not easy. We are busy. We have lives to live, things to do and people to see. But wait, aren't others supposed to see Jesus in us? Aren't others supposed to feel His love through us? We are His ministers here on earth. We are His servants. We are His ambassadors. We have His Spirit alive in us, let's live as if that were really true.
I am so tired of pablum, placebos and platitudes. I want the real and the authentic. I don't want the easy or the mediocre. I don't want to just rest on my laurels per se and ease through this life, just floating along. I want to be that shining light on a hill. I want the meat of this thing we call the Christian life. I want to please my Lord and Saviour. I want to speak His truths to others and to be the bearer of His light and life. And with effort on my part and the promise that the Lord is always with me, always helping me I can.