Last Friday presented my wife with the unique opportunity to cook one of our favorite family meals. This was special because Brittany’s recent work schedule has not allowed her many chances to don the apron. Needless to say, we were all very excited to see her in the kitchen! Additionally, I must say that for whatever reason, my wife really delights in serving our family. She knows that we absolutely love her poppy-seed chicken. So, with great joy she set out to cook this prized family dish, as the rest of us tried to patiently wait for mealtime.
Now, it had been a while since we’d last enjoyed this hearty recipe, but we could still remember the savory flavor for B had prepared it for us on several other occasions. But you know, sometimes we can get in a hurry and make mistakes, and last Friday, that’s exactly what happened...
I was sitting in the kitchen, just in case anything needed to be taste-tested, when my wife asked if something smelled a bit odd. She was afraid that perhaps she had mixed in too much paprika. “Hmmm, it does smell different.” I asked if she thought she had mixed in enough thyme, and that’s when it hit her. She had mistakenly grabbed the cumin from our spice rack and entirely left out the thyme. The smell we were noticing was not excessive paprika, but the aroma of cumin-covered chicken. P.S. – among the necessary ingredients, cumin is not on this recipe’s list.
|Day 4 "Chicken Accidente" leftovers... #mylunchfortoday|
I will not disclose all of the emotions that transpired over the next few minutes but I will tell you that my wife was truly disappointed. It was not that there wasn’t other food available to eat; and it really had little to do with the recipe’s re-mix. She hardly ever gets to cook a big meal for us, and when given the opportunity, there was an accidental mishap. She wanted to give us the best she could, something we love, something we could enjoy and know that we had been served. And all the time (obviously not thyme), energy, and resources that appeared to be wasted, albeit with great intentions, just made her sad.
As I think about this scenario, I wonder how similar it may be to some of our other attempts. We want our kids to have the best; we want our children to enjoy life more fully and completely than we did at their age; we long to see them experience more victories in life and far less heartache. We mean well; really, we do. Our intentions are good…but so often we are missing the key ingredient.
The list of things we hope to facilitate is indeed lengthy, but if the Gospel is not present, if it is not the motivating factor behind our scholastic achievements, gridiron glories, and rightly balanced relationships, then despite our sincerest of intentions, we are only dishing-up disaster and future disappointment. If we are sending them to weekly church programs and events but never spending time at home in dialogue about how this Christ is to be treasured above all else, then we are missing the mark. As Sank said in his sermon yesterday, “Either Jesus changes everything, or blah, blah, blah.”
In the midst of this mega-holiday shopping season, it would seem this thought might be worth our deepest evaluation. As we think of what gifts to give, the traditions we carry-on, and all the things we will participate in, might we pause to consider our ingredient list. If the resurrected Christ is not at the top, if His Gospel of peace is not paramount and pouring down over and into every facet of our lives, if the manger is not seen in the shadow of the cross this Christmas, then might we plead with the Lord Jesus to make it so.
Back to B’s attempt at producing poppy-seed chicken and a happy ending to this blog… She went ahead and let the “chicken accidente” (as my wife now calls it) finish cooking and we hesitantly served it up on a bed of rice. It tasted different, kind of like a weird chicken chili Mexican rice casserole of some sort. However, it was pretty good. I mean, I went back for seconds. Each of the kiddos went back for multiple helpings. It was unique for sure but far more than just edible, it was actually legit.
And friend, that too is a picture of God’s grace. Sometimes we get our priorities so out of whack. Who am I kidding?! Most of the time we operate out of kilter, allowing our lives to become so jumbled with stuff that really matters not. Yet, once we realize our mess and acknowledge our need, we see a gracious God, a loving Father, that is sufficient to restore and redeem. He takes our hurriedly thrown together offerings, purifies them through the blood of His Son and produces something worthy of praise. He transforms our “accidentes” into instruments for His glory – evidences of His goodness and grace.
Funny the little ways He speaks truth to our hearts. May we listen closely this season and take time to check our lists, setting our hope fully upon Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.
|Matt Fowler - Family Pastor of HS (@fattmowler)|