I opened the spice cabinet in my kitchen one day and came upon a heated argument. My spices were debating noisily which was my favorite among them, which could add the best flavor to my ordinary, way-less-than-gourmet cooking.
Oscar Oregano nearly came to blows with Billy Basil. Genevieve Ginger, always feisty, was contending with Patrick Parsley. Chloe Chili and Paula Paprika, both temperamental red heads, were having a shouting match. Terry Tarragon, Donna Dill, and Norman Nutmeg had gathered a group of spices in a corner to discuss the contest rules.
Salina Salt and Polly Pepper stood aloof hand in hand refusing to join the foolish fracas. They pointed out that no one but their duo was always on the table ready to give a lift to any dish that I served, no matter how bland.
Dominating the disputation, however, was one hardy old seasoner whose name was Adolph. He strutted and bragged brashly that he was exactly what I should reach for whenever I prepared a meat dish. He claimed that he was able to “turn commonplace cuts into gourmet products!” His full name was Meat Tenderizer.
I decided to let him have the floor so I could find out exactly how he would be able to live up to his extraordinary promise.
“The instructions are right here on my label,” he offered.
I was intrigued not only by the prospect of transforming my cheaper cuts of beef or bargain hamburger into something more tasty and tender but by the spiritual implications as well. You know my heart, Lord, I’m just a commonplace cut, but I’d sure like to be a gourmet product fit for the Master’s use.
“Tell me, Adolph, how can that happen?”
Adolph said, “Simply follow my five simple steps:”
“Moisten all surfaces.” Ah yes, the loving dealings of God in my life may sometimes produce tears. The hurts of life are real and painful. My heart first needs to be moistened on all surfaces. Okay, Lord, top to bottom, I surrender every part of my life to You. I hold nothing back.
“Sprinkle tenderizer generously.” The Holy Spirit is my Tenderizer. He is always at work in my life. He transforms my heart of stone into a tender heart of flesh. He makes me docile and obedient to God. He liberally sprinkles God’s promises on my hurting heart to encourage me and lift me up. Lord, help me accept Your loving process for my good.
“Pierce deeply with a fork at ½ inch intervals.” Pain, affliction, and sorrow have a redemptive purpose in my life. In the scriptural account, the heart of the Mother of Jesus was pierced deeply as with a sword. Her will was compliant and united with God’s. But my tough, stubborn will needs to be made malleable. God doesn’t break my spirit, however. He loves me and desires to bring out His best in me. Sometimes trouble seems to invade all areas of my life at once. Every ½ inch of my world cries out for relief! Nevertheless, I open even the deepest recesses of my life to You, Lord.
“Marinate.” Lord, waiting is so hard! Your work in my heart takes time, but I’m in such a hurry to get out of my difficulty. Nevertheless, my Heavenly Father knows best that I need time to accept what He is doing in me. Give me patience, Lord, while You marinate me.
“Bake, broil, barbecue, roast, or microwave immediately.” I cry, “Enough already! Surely I don’t need more heat!” But I know that my Lord must apply heat to separate my imperfections and bring forth purity. The fire of affliction is the refiner’s fire. My oven experience is essential. When God’s time is just right, when I have learned the lessons He has been trying to teach me, He will deliver me from the oven of my affliction in His own way.
The result of this painful process? I will be a gourmet product fit for my King! I will have a tender, sensitive, responsive heart toward my Lord, a heart that joyfully, quickly, genuinely responds to Him with a fiat, “Yes, Lord, YES!”
Adolph proudly drew my attention to the label on his jar. “I'm 100% Natural,” he bragged. Here I part ways with the spiritual analogy because God’s dealings with me are 100% Supernatural! Man can’t duplicate it; the flesh can’t counterfeit it. Only the Holy Spirit can prepare my heart to please God and unite me with the passion of Christ.
I looked at Adolph's label again. The ingredients in my recently purchased little jar of Meat Tenderizer had been somewhat modified. The label now read: “NO MSG.” Mono-sodium glutamate was found to be injurious to our health. In God’s process of maturing me through trials, the Holy Spirit is the only active ingredient. He is perfectly pure, protects me from harm, and always works for my holiness and my good.
All the spices on the shelf stopped their squabbling and applauded Adolph. Hands down, Adolph won the contest in Spice Cabinet for usefulness in my cooking and as a spiritual reminder that God can transform me from an ordinary nothing into someone “fit for the Master's use.”
From the RESOURCE BOOK
“...I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you....” Ezekiel 36:26 27
“...Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect....” Romans 12:2
“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Romans 10:31
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Brethren, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2, 3
(Parable from Leona Choy’s book FABLES OF GOD’S KINGDOM FOR GROWN-UPS available for order through this website)
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