September 23, 2010

God: The Biscuit Maker (Part 3-The Oven)

The final entry of the "biscuit" series...

When I was a child, my mother used to make biscuits from scratch every morning. She would take real flour and sift it into a pile that looked like a little snow covered mountain. Then she would take two fingers and fashion a little cavern at the top. Lard (yes, animal fat), milk (buttermilk on special occasions), salt, and a generous portion of love were all thrown into the flour volcano, each element unmeasured, but always in the right amounts and at the right time.

Following this, Mom would work the dough together with her hands (she never used a spoon). Then she rolled out the dough and cut it into these huge round "cat-head" biscuits. Subjecting the dough to the crucible of the oven created the best biscuits ever!

Today's subject is: The Oven

Raw biscuits anyone? As much as I have glamorized and over-simplified God's work in making disciples by comparing it to my mother making biscuits, this last step is incredibly important to the process. Fire!

Biscuits aren't biscuits until they have been subjected to the precisely the right temperature...for exactly the right amount of time. The fire is what purifies them, solidifies them, and completes them. The fire gives them just the right crustiness while preserving their insides as the softest of textures.

God creates disciples in much the same way.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Christians aren't true disciples until they have gone through the fire. The pressures of life, the disappointments of humanity, and the overwhelming challenge of being able to handle prosperity. God allows us to endure each of precisely the right degree...for exactly the right amount of time. God's crucible purifies us, solidifies us, and completes us. In this process we receive our crustiness, the insight, street smarts, and maturity that keeps us from self destruction. And the fire also preserves the soft texture of our hearts, so that we can serve our world with kindness, compassion, and courage.

And in all of these things He is glorified!

If God truly uses ordinary people and ordinary circumstances to reveal His extraordinary nature, then I honestly believe He was in my childhood home working miracles in our kitchen. I saw God not in the biscuits I consumed, but in a mother's hands that created them with intense purpose, a servant's heart, and unconditional love.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

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