St Johns Lutheran Church Willow Creek

Connecting People to Jesus in Rural Minnesota

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Spam

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Pastor John Bennett

What comes to mind when you hear the word “Spam”? Last year I had the opportunity to drive a bus load of students from Austin High School up to the Target center to watch their boys basketball team play in the state championships. While waiting for passengers to load, I stepped outside the bus and was almost immediately overwhelmed by a rather putrid smell. Out of curiosity I asked someone what the smell was, to which they replied, “Oh, that’s the Hormel factory, you know, where they make Spam.” I thought, “If that’s how bad the factory smells, imagine what it tastes like!” Then I remembered my first taste of Spam. For everyone there’s typically only one of two responses: either, “I’ve died and gone to heaven,” or the more likely, “I think I’m going to die.” I fit into the latter category.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know there’s some people who enjoy Spam, perhaps some of you reading this post. Whatever your opinion of it, Spam will always have the following reputation: you aren’t quite sure of what’s in it, and you’d rather not know, even though by the list of ingredients it seems harmless. It’s exactly this reputation that’s led to the use of the word “Spam” in reference to another part of our life: email.

Those messages that we’re not quite sure of, and would rather not know of their   contents have commonly been labeled “Spam.” They clog up our Inbox, consuming our time as we have to filter through them and perhaps becoming an unhealthy distraction if we bother to read them, since sometimes the contents of “Spam” messages contain material that’s immoral or inappropriate.

But there’s another kind of “Spam” that can have a negative impact on our lives, what I would call, for lack of a better term, “Spiritual Spam.” Spiritual Spam includes all those things in our lives that distract us from having a healthy focus on our spiritual life. If you get to the end of the day and you haven’t taken the time to reflect on the Word or to come before our God in prayer, chances are, you’re spending too much time being bogged down by “Spiritual Spam.”

Just like your inbox needs a good spam filter, so also your faith life needs some filtering once in a while. Though it’s good for us to have healthy distractions to life’s often overwhelming circumstanced, the best way to filter out those things that prevent us from having a healthy focus on our spiritual life is to make our prayer and devotional life a priority. When our faith life has as its primary importance and is focused on our Savior and on Scripture, not only are those normally healthy distractions considered as of secondary importance in our lives, but we are also strengthened through the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, to filter out the “Spiritual Spam” that is unhealthy, inappropriate, and perhaps even immoral.

There will still be times in our lives where “Spiritual Spam,” including even those distractions that are sinful, will distract us from a proper prayer and devotional life. However, we are also comforted knowing that we are forgiven by the blood of Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross and strengthened by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, given by our resurrected Lord for the nurturing of our faith and the daily guidance that we need to navigate through this life. Ultimately, a little “Spam” in our life isn’t going to hurt anything, at least that “Spam” which doesn’t consist of sinful behavior. But first let yourself be filled with the spiritual meat of God’s Word, and once you have been satisfied, then stuff yourself with all the healthy spam you can stomach.

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