For those who know me, you know I don’t know how to cook! Eating I can do! Grill a steak or make a few breakfast items or microwave a frozen dinner – yes. Creating a meal – no!
So it was with interest, that I listened to a co-worker describe making goulash for his family. He started with the basics- ground beef, elbow macaroni, water, chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes – sauce and diced, and seasonings. As he was adding ingredients, the household non-cooks were suggesting additional ingredients found in the cabinets. He said when the suggestions ended, he had a pot filled with multiple items that he allowed to cook slowly, blending the various flavors that each item brought to the pot. And when it reached the right time, they enjoyed all that was in the cookware.
That same week, I taught a Sunday school lessons from the Book of Esther, that highlighted influences that were applied to create the outcome that saved the Jewish race and eventually maintain the blood line of Jesus Christ.
Somehow in my simple mind, I married these two events to create a metaphor of my life and I suspect of your life as well.
That is, God adds people into our life to add flavor. They help us to be seasoned: they may be our neighbors or may be a stranger. People who have helped us, or challenged us. Some people have hurt us. Some brought healing to us. Some complained about us and others encouraged us. Some hated us and yet, by God’s grace, some loved us.
Again, not being a cook, I can only speculate that each item of the recipe had a purpose and was to be added in the proper sequence and at the proper time. I can see protein and fiber. I see some things would yield vitamins, some items would add a particular flavor. Water would be a blending agent. Some items would bring a pleasing aroma and comfort. Some recipes may add a bay leaf, which would be in the pot for a time and then removed before the goulash was served.
Our immediate family would be our first ingredients with their character and interest, then add extended family, school friends, co-workers, church members, etc. Where we lived and how much or how little money our family had made for some of our ingredients. Illnesses, diseases, and deaths adds to the pot.
And the most amazing thing of all – just how the Lord created us. Our gender, race, personality type, abilities and talents, appearance, weight, height, at what point in history we were born, our language or languages we can speak, our strong points and our weaknesses. All of these things were beyond our control and therefore, we must yield to be the unique individual the God created.
There are some things we control in our pot of goulash called life. We can determine to be kindly affectionate toward one another with brotherly love (see Romans 12:10-21). We can look not only at our own interests, but also to the interest of others (see Philippians 2:4). And we can give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18). There are so many items from the Scriptures that would enrich our pot.
What is your influence in the lives of those around you? Is it to strengthen or encourage? Is it to show kindness to the less fortunate? What is your purpose? Does it bring honor to the Lord? Think about it. Bon Appetit !!