Earlier this week, I was in Evansville on business and ran across a restaurant that had an interesting name – it was dedicated to Chicago style food – especially pizza and burgers. Now it’s been a long time since I was in the Windy City where Janet and I grew up – and both of us have become connoisseurs of Chicago style pizza. In fact, even my parents loved the authentic, real McCoy pizza. Their first date, back in the mid-1940’s after the war, was at Pizzeria Uno’s – the original Chicago pizza.
Throughout our early years dating, Janet and I frequently went downtown for a meal at Uno’s or it’s counterpart, Duo’s, a block away. How many great memories we have of those dates. And then, there was Gulliver’s up north on West Howard Street and later, Dad used to loved Malnati’s in Schaumburg. All in all, there’s no comparison to pizza from Chicago – it just doesn’t get any better than that.
But several times on my travels to Evansville, I have gone past this particular restaurant that claims to serve Chicago style food. So I went in – and even went so far as to ask about how the pizza is prepared. I was assured that it was as good as the original – the stuff I grew up on. So I took a chance and ordered my meal. It was dinner time, I was alone and it just seemed like the kind of night to have a little pizza.
Well, when the food arrived, it just didn’t meet the standard that I was expecting. It was good – but not great… The crust was fluffy, but the ingredients just didn’t “cut the mustard” compared to the real thing. And when asked about my meal, I politely let them know it was certainly good but it would be difficult to confuse with our favorite places. And therein lies the rub – under scrutiny, the imposter just doesn’t hold up – I probably won’t choose to eat there again.
The whole exchange reminded me of God and his constant battle with Satan. Satan is out to deceive us and convince us that he is as good as God. He even went so far as to try to get Jesus to follow him during Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. And we know from our reading of Job that Satan even has access to God in heaven – for now, that is. Eventually, Satan and his angels will be defeated by Michael and his angels – but that’s in the future – a story for a different evening.
The verse for this evening reminds us not to be deceived. In Matt. 24:4-5, we are told, “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” This simple statement should be enough to always keep us on our guard. Christ is imitated but never duplicated. Period.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants you to depend on Him and not be swayed by imposters. He loves us more than we can possibly know and my prayer is that you will put your trust in Jesus and His Father. Stick to the real thing – because close doesn’t count – except maybe in horseshoes… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…