“I wonder what I’ll cook for dinner tomorrow.”
That’s my wife’s question for most nights of the week. It’s a daily challenge because she’s on the constant lookout for new recipes. She doesn’t like to eat leftovers, and she will only eat whatever she cooks…TWICE. Anything more is like pulling teeth. She wants freshly prepared, freshly cooked, freshly served, eaten while it’s hot, and enjoyed in that moment when it comes.
So, our kitchen is the busiest room in the house, and rightly so. She’s always cooking something from fresh ingredients since we have a child with dietary needs and restrictions. We hardly use packaged food with artificial ingredients; we read the labels and choose those with as little to no “extras” as possible if we go packaged or canned. (Perhaps, that’s why I love being a Filipino. We like to make food from scratch because that’s just how we are as a culture. And the food is awesome, too. I think so.)
Regardless of that, what comes out of the stove or oven are wonderful concoctions, hand-prepared, freshly squeezed, freshly pounded, hand-sliced, just sprinkled, heated fresh, cooked just then, and all smells and flavors just walking all over the place, tickling noses and stimulating palates. Then, the kids just come wafting through the house asking, “What’s for dinner?” Dinner invites. Mom calls. Everyone eats. While it’s still hot! Most of the food is consumed, with just enough for lunch the next day for school or work.
A Connection to Faith and Testimony
Have you ever met someone who was passionate about their belief…their Faith…in God? (No, not the kind where they go crazy and force you to believe their way. That’s not passionate. That’s extreme.) These are the ones who just can’t be swayed because they love Him that much. Well, what fuels that? What keeps the kitchen of their heart burning with God-flavor that they can’t help but burst with the fresh flavors of excitement talking about Him and their interactions with Him?
It’s their stories.
They’re fresh experiences. Recent experiences. The lessons they’ve learned are from things they’ve just experienced not too long ago. Like this week. Like yesterday. Like just now. They’re fresh. Grown fresh from the seeds of Faith, grown in patience, in open hearts, pondered deep, exposed to the Son’s light and the life’s storms. Cut from the cutting board of the day’s experiences. Pounded, squeezed, chopped, minced under the blades of trials and tests and sprinkled with salt that has not lost its savor. Kneaded by the Bread of Life. Heated in the fires of affliction or chilled in the lonely corners of isolation. Topped with the sweetness of joy, the spicyness of laughter, and spread with happiness.
All prepared by the Hands of God.
For what purpose are these daily interactions, these experiences? “…That you may prove yourselves unto me that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you, and crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life.” And when we’ve proven ourselves…or when we’ve failed…those are our stories. These are what we tell our children, our families, our friends, and anyone we wish to share them with.
Thus, the revelations we’re given, the discoveries we make, the principles we learn, the lessons we teach, and the relationship we build with God can be served hot and fresh, daily. The flavors are kept alive because they come from our daily experiences with God. They are our stories of Him, with Him. They happen regularly…daily, weekly. They are not traditions nor rituals…empty, without meaning, without life. No. They are interactions with Him…individualized, personalized, customized, and presently happening…drawn from today…ingredients of experiences and revelations…ingredients of daily living.
This also leads me to think that Christ’s parables in the scriptures aren’t just tales akin to the Three Little Pigs. No. They’re lessons plucked from what people are actually experiencing at that time. They’re not hypothetical stories. They’re real experiences. Someone in that day actually had that experience! From the prodigal son, to the lost coin, to the attacked vineyard, to the workers in the field. They’re real happenings! And the Lord chose those actual experiences as his stories to teach more than what was apparent.
So, where do the foundations of our belief system, our faith, our testimonies of God come from?
Do we only have the stories from long ago, preserved in jars of memory and stored in the storage in the back of our minds? Do we rely on our first stories of conversion? Do we pick only from the stories of serving as missionaries…20 years ago? When we teach our children, do we reach back many years for those stories that made a difference in our lives? Are those times the only times we have when we interacted with God?
Or do we pluck our stories fresh from our garden of Today’s experiences? Do we discover Christ and God over and over again? Because God doesn’t want us to experience Him just “back then”. No. He wants us to have experiences with Him…now. Everyday…now. Not just everyday…back then. Those days, those experiences are important,too, for us to remember where we started, where we came from, and where we started to change. We need to keep the flavors of our Faith fresh from regular experiences now.
(Even this blog post is fresh. These are thoughts that just came to me this week! Prepared many days, and served fresh to you…today!)
So, dear Christian, keep your Faith fresh. Prepare fresh. Make it daily from your stories of Now. Cook fresh. Serve fresh. And share it while it’s hot!
Because that’s when it tastes the best and enjoyed the most!