This past Friday, Janet and some of her friends were having lunch together at a local restaurant – The Original Pancake House. The place is not open for dinner and closes after the lunch crowd is finished – in the early afternoon. Anyway, Janet and her group were the last ones out as the Pancake House closed and by the time she got home, Janet couldn’t find her favorite scarf and was positive that she had left it behind. There was no answer when we called, so I made it a point that I would be there when they opened on Saturday morning – hoping that her scarf was still there.
Anyway, I got up early on Saturday morning and returned to the Pancake House. Sure enough, a wonderful server found Janet’s scarf and all was well with the world. But while I was in my car waiting for the place to open, I noticed that The Original Pancake House was started in 1953, the same year I was born. I also recalled all the fun meals our family used to have on the south side of Chicago in Beverly Hills at another location of The Original Pancake House.
There were all kinds of pancakes on the menu. They had ’49er Flapjacks – three really sweet, thin pancakes that were terrific. And my favorite was the German Pancake, large like a deep dish pizza, covered in powdered sugar. I can still see my Mom and Dad smiling as all sorts of pancake orders were delivered to our table. It was great – and what memories! I always wondered why they called it The “Original” Pancake House – after all, does it make any difference that there were many different pancake houses?
But the more I thought about it, the more it makes sense that they branded themselves as the “original.” It was a way to set themselves apart from the competition. After all, there is only one “original.” And sure enough, they were the first chain that focused on pancakes in the country. Since you know me so well, I’m sure that you can see the connection to God already.
Our God (notice the big “G”) is the original as well. The Egyptians and many other groups worshipped thousands of gods (small “g”) and the pagan cultures worshipped every conceivable kind of idol, but through it all, God prevails. As they say, often imitated but never duplicated. Even in the New Testament cities of Corinth and Thessolonica, there were many different ways to worship false gods. And quite often, it was not an external influence that drew people to these false idols – there were actually people in the church who thought they knew more than anyone else. Many of the problems in the early church, including the worship of antichrists, came from former members of the early 1st century church.
The verse for this evening is the verse that started it all – proof that God is the original. We are told, in the first verse of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” The first verse of John also confirms that Jesus was there with God (and the Holy Spirit) so the entire Trinity was there when it all started. One God in three forms – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Since they were there “in the beginning” they were the original – God didn’t imitate anything or anybody else. You can bank on that.
My encouragement this evening is that God created each one of us as an original as well. No two of us are exactly the same – even identical twins have separate thoughts and different passions from one another. My prayer is that you will celebrate your unique qualities – different from anyone who has ever lived – or ever will live. You are an original as well! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…