Lessons from the Kitchen

Yesterday, my son came to me and asked if he could prepare dinner. Specifically, he wanted to make one of the recipes included in his monthly cooking kit. As he loves to try and cook and he is more than of the age to be comfortable in the kitchen, I agreed to let him do so. The recipe cards are pretty straight forward and I passed them along to him with the guidance that he should take his time and call me if he needed me…It didn’t go well.

The recipe card..

Bug didn’t do a proper inventory of ingredients before he started. So, some of the ingredients were missing. Fortunately, there were appropriate substitutes. Then, in his haste, he skipped recipe steps or moved faster than the recipes called (i.e. adding all the milk in at once instead of whisking it in in stages). He also missed the final step that called for the proper assembly on the recipe. When it came out, he was dejected and sad. He wouldn’t even try it at first and when he finally did, he was heartbroken. It wasn’t very good.

I sat down with him afterwards and told him him that he’d learned a very good lesson and reminded me of one as well. In kitchen recipes, like in life, you have to take inventory of you need, take your time, read the instructions, not go ahead of the instructions, and most importantly, complete the recipe.

  • Take inventory of what you need. Bug was super excited to cook dinner and I asked him if he’d checked to see if he had everything he would need in the process. He confirmed he did until he actually started and found out that he did not. It’s the same in life. Before we tackle any challenge/task, we need to take inventory and see what that we are properly equipped to tackle that. Quick example: I was recently asked to take on the project scheduling of a major program undertaking. The software was something I was familiar with, but not nearly as well as I wanted to be. Before diving into the task, I took inventory and realized I needed some additional books, meeting with subject matter experts, and some internet research. When time came to begin the task, I was able to do so confidently. Bug was able to draw the parallel of needing his Bible and the Word of God as a day to day tool, just like needing the ingredients on the recipe card. Absolutely!
  • Take your time. Bug has been in the kitchen before. He’s made plenty of yummy dishes, so he was a bit over confident. Instead of taking the time to properly arrange what he needed, he jumped in head first, He turned the stove up too high. He started cutting butter in portion sizes that weren’t needed. He was so excited to do the task that he didn’t take the time to slow sown an pace himself. Had he done so, he’d have seen ways he could have immediately improved what he was about to do–adjusting the temperature, better arranging his cooking station, taking the time to make a good roux (which needs time to become that flavorful yumminess we all love). Such is life. It’s amazing how much more is accomplished when we actually take the time to sit down and go through all that is needed versus just rushing through a given task.
  • Read the instructions. The recipe card that Bug was using for his meal had numbered steps with a graphic that showed him what he was supposed to do during each step. In Bug’s haste to make a great dish, he didn’t read the instructions thoroughly. He instead skimmed the recipe steps and looked at the pictures to direct him. This could have worked for him if he was familiar with the recipe, but this was the first time he ever made this dish and he needed to know the nuances involved, even if it was a “simple” dish. Because he didn’t read thoroughly, he didn’t know that he needed to create double deckers and prep those additional layers. He didn’t know that there was a way of properly spreading the roux. He didn’t know the bread was to be toasted slightly. He didn’t know because he didn’t read the instructions.

This one struck me because I know many people, including myself, who have been guilty of this one. How many times have we taken our Bible and skimmed through a chapter or a verse to find that piece that is applicable to our situation, but leaving it completely out of context. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have seen spouses argue over the the submissiveness of a woman, only to completely miss the difference in Godly submission and earthy subservience. There are references throughout history of dictators, slave masters, and people of ill intent taking bits and pieces of scripture to justify their actions. In our Christian life, you can’t skim the pages of the Word. You have to deep dive into it.

  • Do not go ahead of the instructions. There were 12 steps on the recipe card. It appeared the Bug skimmed through and at step 5 decided to rush things. He skipped steps 10 and 11 completely. When he realized in step 8 that something wasn’t adding up completely, he tried to go back and address what he missed in step 7 but experienced difficulty in doing so. I loved this one too. Do you remember when God promised then Abram and Sarai that they would have a child in their old age. After a while of waiting and seeing nothing happen and supposing that she and Abram were just too old, Sarai figured she would go ahead of the instructions received. Saria impatiently went ahead of God’s instruction, gave her handmaiden to Abram who conceived with her and together bore a son, and all sorts of resentment and woe ensued.

When we go ahead of the instructions that God has given us, when we skip steps or work to
make something happen on our behalf outside of the perfect will of God, the result can very easily become, as Bug said after tasting his creation, “not good”.  Walking in God’s instruction, step-by-step may be tedious, may be heart breaking at times, but it will always be for our good and His Glory. And finally…
  • Complete the recipe.  At this point in the cooking process, Bug began to feel frustrated.  He realized that something was not quite up to par and he didn’t know how to correct it.  He didn’t want to ask for assistance because he didn’t want to admit that something was wrong and because he wanted to do it by himself.  So, after completing step number 9, Bug stopped.  He didn’t want to put the product in the oven to bake.  Since I was still in the area at this point, I reminded him that he needed to see things through until the end.  Bug put the recipe in the oven and there was a pleasant smell throughout the house as the recipe baked.
Talking with Bug after the recipe was completed, I wondered what would have happened if Jesus had not completed the instructions and plan given to Him by the Father.  What is Jesus had skipped the steps of being beaten, scourged, humiliated, and pummeled simply because He wanted to avoid the difficult parts, or get quickly to the Resurrection part?  What if He skipped the crucifixion altogether?  Our salvation would have been lost.  There would have been no atonement for our sins.  There would be no living sacrifice, no perfect and blameless Savior.  We would have been lost.
God, our Father took an inventory of what was needed–a Savior to die for our sins, to stand on our behalf to the Father and intercede on our behalf against the devil who accuses us daily.  Jesus, our Savior took his His time to come into his appointed season.  The Bible discusses the birth of Jesus and Jesus as a child during the census where he was in the temple with the elders, but His works and ministry are not captured until years 30-33 of his life.  Jesus read the instructions.  Jesus was and is the instructions.  He carried them on His heart.  This was evidenced when He was tempted in the wilderness.
Matthew 4:1-11 (NIV) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you,and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

It is because Jesus read the instructions and knew the instructions that He was able to recite those instructions to the enemy.  It is because He know the Word of God, the instructions left for our life that He was able to overcome.  The same is readily available for us.

Jesus didn’t go ahead of the instructions.  He didn’t skip the parts that were uncomfortable because he was familiar with how the story was supposed to go.  That’s our charge.  We have to follow the instructions that God has given us.  We aren’t to go ahead of Him just because we think we know the way.  We are to walk the path as it has been laid out before us.  Just like the recipe.
Jesus completed the instructions.  He completed the recipe.  He died on the cross for our sins.  He didn’t stop when the road was rough or the situations uncomfortable.  He maintained.  He moved forward.  He fulfilled that which He was given to do…until He will completely fulfill that great day when all of His brothers and sisters are caught up with Him to see His face and the face of His father.  That will be an amazing day!
And until it comes, I plan to remember all of my lessons from the kitchen…

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