Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Recipe for Success . . . in the Kitchen and in Life {Special Guest Post}

Today I have the privilege of sharing a reflection written recently by my precious mother.  I know you'll be challenged and blessed by her words of wisdom!

Christmas had come and with it some of the much looked for Christmas cards with notes or letters from friends we’ve known through the years but are now separated from by time and by miles. Quite often as we read these notes, special memories of times shared with these friends long ago flood our minds. Some are so hilarious that tears of laughter roll unbidden down our cheeks. Others trigger memories that lead us to deeper thoughts. Such was the case this past Christmas as we reflected on one friendship.
Some years ago we invited this particular friend over for dinner. Since my friend's family loved the meal and especially the main dish, she called the next day asking for the recipe, which I gladly shared.

Some time passed. Then I received a phone call asking me what special ingredients I had omitted from the recipe. Now, I think we have all heard of women who do such things. They carefully guard their recipes and if asked to share, they sometimes will do so… reluctantly. But I’ve known of more than one case where the woman quite frankly admitted that she omits her “secret ingredient(s)” when sharing her recipes!

Of course, you and I both know that duplication only works when we have the EXACT list of ingredients, and follow the recipe’s instructions.  Although I was stunned at my friend’s thoughts and remark, I gladly got out my recipe and read mine as she checked hers. All was identical. However, as we went over each ingredient she began saying, “My family doesn’t like the taste of this ingredient. So, I left it out.”  “My family doesn’t like that one either, so I left it out.”

After hearing this about three main ingredients, I realized she hadn’t made my recipe at all, but rather one of her own making!!  

She was disappointed that the end results of her labor did not accomplish what she had hoped. In fact, it was a dismal disappointment to her family as well as to her as she heard them exclaim, “This doesn’t taste like Miss Pat's."

The memory of this incident came to my mind as Dave and I were reminiscing about good times spent with these friends many years ago. As we talked, a sudden thought came to mind of how often people, even Christians, are much like my friend and that recipe.

God has given us His Word, His Recipe for Holy living. He gave us the exact ingredients, in right measure, with no secret ingredients omitted. He carefully chose the men who would write in detail His recipe for life. When we, Christians, order our lives according to it, the end result will be as we have hoped. But sadly, all too often we pick and choose what we will “put into” our lives and what we will omit, while justifying our actions by saying, “I don’t like this or that”. Or, “my family and my friends don’t like this. So I will just leave this out.”

Time passes. Then one day we look at the results of our efforts, and wonder why our lives haven’t turned out the way we had hoped. We think we have followed God’s recipe; however, all the time, we were actually making one of our own creation, not His. So we are faced with a lifetime of disappointments, or even worse, dismal failures.

There is no successful duplication of a recipe, whether for food or for Godly living, without following the recipe as given.

Are you following the recipe?

My dear mother has quite a reputation for being an excellent cook! She has successfully followed an amazing number of complicated recipes through the years, creating many delicious meals which she lovingly shared with her family, her friends, her neighbors, her brothers and sisters in Christ, and those in need. I've never met anyone that didn't appreciate her amazing skills in the kitchen! Even more importantly, she has faithfully followed the Recipe that results in abundant life here on earth and eternal life in heaven. In the same way that her favorite recipes are spattered and worn from frequent use, her Bibles are worn out in a year or two, from frequent reading, studying, and recording of insights. She has truly mastered the recipe for successful cooking ... and living!


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kittyswing said...

That's such a wonderful analogy that I had never thought of! We can't pick and choose what gospel we want to live out. Jesus didn't die for us to be choosy. Perhaps this recipe image will pop into my head the next time I'm looking over my life and wondering what's going wrong!

Mel Caldicott said...

Great thought-provoking post.
Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

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