Monday, August 23, 2010

Those aren't groceries, they're ingredients!

As the cashier scanned and bagged the items I had presented for purchase, I went about my business, swiping my debit card and transfering the packed bags to my cart. Suddenly the woman two customers behind me piped up, "Whatchya makin'?" "Fajitas," I replied. "I knew it," she exclaimed, "those aren't just grocieries, they're ingredients!" The Top Chef in me grinned from ear to ear.

I chuckled for a long way home. Then I got to thinking that this woman must also have an inner Top Chef. Somehow she recognized that this was not a mundane trip to the grocery store, but a deliberate attempt to create something special. I didn't share with her that I was also making salsa and guacamole and some kind of yummy dessert that involves ice cream and coconut. But she didn't need to know that to be able to see this was going to be no ordinary meal. I don't always cook this way, this day was special, a meal with friends.

Thinking about how carefully I selected my ingredients to prepare a special meal, I started to think about how I don't always prepare this well for my daily spiritual walk. I really admire people who do so. These are the true Top Chefs of God's kingdom. The ones who seem to have perfected their recipe for a healthy spiritual walk which usually includes fresh daily servings of a devotional and prayer time in the morning, some form of Scripture study and liberal servings of ... well, serving - acts of service to those around them.

I have to admit though that while I aspire to this level of excellence, I'm more like a Top Chef wanna-be. I often cook a little extra so that I won't have to spend time cooking for every meal. Sometimes I serve leftovers. (And let's face it, my dad's Turkey Chowder really does taste better the second time around!) Some days, instead of being able to have eggs for breakfast, I am only able to grab a quick bite of cereal or a granola bar. Other days I might be able to have fruit and toast with my eggs. And then there are the days that I'm craving an omelet, but as I prepare it, a piece of shell falls in and I have to struggle to fish it out.

All this to say that despite my best intentions, life is happening all around me. And while I may not get eggs and fruit everday I rarely, if ever, just skip eating all together, as you can tell by my girlish figure! Sometimes I eat that granola bar in the car - with my favorite hymns and praises songs playing in the background, or a chapter of the Bible on my iPod piped through the radio, sending up little bursts of praise and prayer while driving. On those days my spiritual tummy grumbles throughout the day, and I may have to have a more substantial meal later.

Other days I do get that omelet and I can linger over it, truly feasting on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, able to offer up a soliloquy of prayer that tastes sweet as the words fall off my tongue. When I'm done feasting my spiritual tummy feels stuffed, but like all good meals it lasts just long enough that I know I'll want my favorite snack for dinner - popcorn, cheese and apples - light but tasty.

Still other days I don't get my spiritual breakfast until I get to where I'm going for the day, such as the Tuesday morning women's gathering at church. That's like getting to eat out with someone else doing the cooking! A lot of days I play restaurant and have the privilege of preparing and serving up a meal. And when I am wandering around in a spirtual wilderness, I am keeping my eye out for the Manna that only God can provide.

I may never get to a place in my life where I nail down the exact "daily recommended servings," but as I say grace over each meal I hope to remember the words of our precious Jesus. "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." (John 6:29) The essential ingredient for every meal!

Bon Appetit!

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