Daily Post: Spicy
Grilling outdoors has been one of my favorite things since I was a kid watching and learning from my dad. Something about the fire and smoke, the smells and the flavors, as well as the camaraderie that happens around the grill, really get my juices going. I grew up on mesquite smoked/grilled food, cooked on an old bar-b-q pit made out of an empty 50-gallon steel barrel. It took time to get the fire and coals just right, and time to cook the food, allowing for more than ample time for “cussing and consorting” (as my uncle Wylie used to say), with all those who gathered for the feast. And what a feast it was. With fresh home-made rolls, banana pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy, and all varieties of meats cooked on that old steel barrel. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
But that’s grilling. Cooking is another matter altogether. Over the last couple of years I’ve been trying my hand in the kitchen, and discovered a great deal of joy in cooking. One of the things I’m learning is how fine the line is between too much spice, and too little. I started by following recipes, and being quite precise about all the measurements and ingredients. When it didn’t quite taste as I had expected (or as the picture of the dish led me to believe), I started experimenting on my own. Hence the “fine line” discovery. One of my favorite things right now is fried rice, with an entree of some kind, with a couple of egg rolls to complete the meal. Entree’s recently include: sesame chicken, spicy shrimp, and a Panda Express Orange chicken reproduction. None of them were boring, and some needed some tweaking on the spices, but all of them (if I do say so myself) were delicious.
The Word of God is like this grilling/cooking story to me. I’ve been around it, or in it, for 63 years now. I was in my mother’s womb, going to church, listening to a preacher preach, before I was born. Most of my childhood, young adult memories originate from church experiences: worship, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Youth trips, or special “Revival” times. I’ve talked to people who thought Sunday School was boring, bland, and tough, as though studying the Bible was like eating a tough over-cooked slice of steak, that you could chew on for a week. And I’ve been in study classes like this, but the one I remember most fondly was when the teacher would use the flannel board. Do you remember those? My Bible teacher would talk about all the characters of the stories, and then place an image on a flannel board that would take me off on a non-boring, not so bland journey that was spicy to my mind. It hooked me on the “hot stuff” of the Bible.
Some people are what I call “meat and potato” folk, who aren’t necessarily all that thrilled with spicing things up, whether you’re talking about food or the Bible. But isn’t that what life is all about? Don’t we actually say occasionally that “variety” is the “spice” of life? The Word of God is filled with so much variety, that there is something in it for everyone of us. It’s clear to me that God understands the whole “fragrance” thing of grilling meat.
After this manner you shall present daily, for seven days, the food of the offering by fire, of a soothing aroma to the LORD; it shall be presented with its drink offering in addition to the continual burnt offering…
Clearly Jesus liked to eat grilled fish, as indicated in John’s description of this fact. The disciples had been out fishing all night, but when they came back the next morning Jesus was waiting for them.
So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread…
The “spice” in the Bible is captured for me in the extravagant lengths to which God will go to reach the human heart with His grace. To some, the Word is filled with do’s and don’ts, with rules and judgments and curses. But what I see is the spicy side of God’s hand always throwing into the mix, what only God can do to make things come out right. The peppery side of Peter’s personality is exactly what God uses to make the bold declaration to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matthew 16:16) It’s the strong and pungent side of James’s personality that God uses to help all of us deal with struggles we have in our lives when he writes, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)
My desire to teach or preach is the same as my desire to cook… I want to do the non-boring, not so bland, hot stuff.
I want it to be Spicy!
If you liked this blog post feel free to share it with your friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts.