Recipe for Life 5

1 Corinthians 12:4-6

We have a rotation of responsibility in our house. Every night for dinner one of the three children will be responsible for setting the table, laying out the plates and silverware. After the dinner the other two are responsible for clearing the table, taking away the dirty dishes, putting them in the dishwasher, and washing up whatever doesn’t fit in the dishwasher. It is a fair and equal distribution of labor.

Our approach fits very well with the kitchen tip “Whoever does the cooking does not do the dishes.” This seems a fair approach to life in general, yet we don’t always apply it to our church family.

In this passage from 1 Corinthians Paul points out God’s distribution of labor. What is different? What is the same?

There are frequent squawks and disputes in a church family whenever there is any type of event at the church. Some of these issues even arise in the worship time. We may see conflict when one person feels they have done more work than another. Some feel they give to the church more than others.

But what we often overlook is that people contribute in their own ways. Some folks are gifted with the ability to cook great dishes to be shared. Others have the skills to make repairs. Others have been blessed by God with financial wealth which they share generously.

We can’t compare what we do with others in some attempt to decide who is doing more. We must realize that we all have different abilities and attitudes. We must trust that each person brings their own gifts to be used by God, and then we must trust that each gift is indeed used by God for His kingdom.

Some cook. Some wash. Some set the table. Some pay for the meal. As long as we are all doing the work with the intention of serving God we can all find satisfaction in knowing God is being glorified.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you respect the works and gifts of others?

Recipe for Life 4

2 Timothy 4:1-3

I really hate to be caught short when preparing for meals. I don’t like putting water on to boil just to find out there are no spaghetti noodles. I don’t like getting out lunchmeat only to find out I am out of bread. It is important to be prepared. This is the idea behind the kitchen tip “Keep an extra package of chocolate chips hidden where only the cook knows.”

That same type of preparedness applies to our faith life as well. In this letter to Timothy what things are commanded? What warning is suggested in verse 3?

When I am preparing for a Sunday service I have all week to gather my Scriptures, choose the hymns, plan the activities and so on. I am rarely caught off guard on Sundays. But there are times when someone is need and I must respond in a moment’s notice.

In these cases I can’t afford to be caught lacking. When I am confronted with someone who has a spiritual or emotional need I must be ready to respond.

But that same requirement extends to all of us. It is not just pastors who should be ready to respond to the needs of others.

Each one of us should obey what is commanded to Timothy. We must be prepared at all times to share the Gospel message, to offer guidance and correction, and to offer assistance.

We already live in such times as those refereed to in verse 3. So many people have turned to messages of false hope. They have begun listening to teachers who offer pleasing advice and encouragement, words that are not truly based on Biblical teaching.

It is up to each one of us as followers of Christ to be equipped with the truth. We need to be prepared for unexpected opportunities to offer the message of Christ and the correction of Godly instruction.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Do you have spiritual “chocolate chips” of faith ready to be shared?

Recipe for Life 3

1 Thessalonians 5:19

I remember well from my childhood the many times my mother baked a cake and we all had to tiptoe around the house. We feared that any noise might cause the beautiful creation in the oven to collapse into a mess. So, I can relate with the advice “Don’t slam the oven door if you have a cake baking. The top of the cake will drop.”

We need to be careful with our actions so that they don’t cause problems in other places. What command is given in today’s passage?

The statement is simple. “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” Don’t do those things which make others give up hope and inspiration. We all must be aware and cautious with our attitudes and words.

So often I have seen people get on fire about doing something good. They may want to do an outreach, help needy people, raise money for the poor and so on. And there is frequently someone who will douse the flames of inspiration. “We can’t do that!” “That’s silly.”

Then you can see the top of that cake collapse. The drive to do good things is suddenly extinguished, the hopes squashed, the confidence gone. If we are going to obey Proverbs 22:6 and teach others in the way they should go, we should be willing to encourage rather than discourage. We should fan the flames of the Spirit rather than put them out.

This does not allow for everyone to do whatever they wish. We must go about ministry and God’s work with proper planning and pure intent. But we must be willing to allow others to pursue the hopes and desires the Holy Spirit has instilled in them. We must be there to encourage and assist, and then trust that God will have things work as they should.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there a spiritual fire that you need to encourage rather than put out?

Recipe for Life 2

Matthew 5:23-24

One of the many kitchen tips submitted last week was the advice to “Clean up the messes you make.” It is a statement about consideration. No one else should have to tend to the mess you have left behind. But it is also a statement about responsibility. You should be the one who puts things back to where they should be.

Following that line of thinking led me to the passage in Matthew. What situation is presented here? What should we do if there is a problem? Then what are we free to do?

Jesus addresses a matter of faith in this example. If you are attending to worship – in this case making an offering at the temple – but you realize there is a problem between yourself and another, you should first reconcile the problem. Then you may attend to your worship.

Why is this a problem? I believe that God wants a pure relationship with Him. We need to go before God with a pure heart and a holy attitude. If we are in conflict with others – if we have made a mess somewhere – we need to clean up our mess. We need to resolve our differences with others, patch things up, make amends, restore our earthly relationships.

Then, when we no longer have any distractions in our lives, no problems, no ill feelings, we can focus completely on God. Our heart and minds can be holy and centered on our worship.

This is a statement that worship is more than simply the actions, the rituals of those who worship. True worship comes from the heart. True worship is more about our attitude and intention and not about the show or material part of church.

If we will have a rich and fulfilling experience in our times of worship, if we will present God with the proper attitude in our times of praise, we must first be certain we have no problems which need to be addressed. And we are the ones responsible for this; no one else.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Is there a mess that requires your attention?

Recipe for Life 1

Proverbs 22:6

In preparation for our Mother’s Day service we have asked people to submit their “kitchen tips,” helpful hints and suggestions, teachings, on how to do things in the kitchen. These wonderful ideas can be transferred into Biblical teachings, suggestions and directions on how to live good and Godly lives.

So, today we look at a familiar passage from Proverbs. What should we do? What is the result?

At first glance the passage may seem to apply only to parents. After all, only a parent has children to train. But I believe this passage, and others, applies to all those who obey God. We are told to train or teach others in the ways of living good and holy lives.

In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus offers final instructions to his disciples and part of that instruction is to teach others. There are many references to teaching throughout the New Testament, and Colossians 3:16 speaks about teaching and admonishing “one another with all wisdom.”

I believe it is part of our duty as Christians to be teachers. We may not stand in front of a classroom or behind a pulpit, but we can all teach. We may not read from a textbook or make notes on a chalkboard, but we can all present lessons.

We can teach by sharing advice. We can teach by helping others understand the Biblical lessons and Biblical principals that apply to life. And we can teach by being living examples of what it means to have faith, to share God’s love, to be holy, to be good, to be giving.

Whether or not you are a parent you should train a child in God’s ways. Whether the child is young or an older “child” of God, you can teach about God’s love.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What lesson about God can you teach someone?