For those that know me, know I love to cook. Now, I would not call myself a baker or one who loves to slave away in the kitchen. No, I am talking about manly cooking! Fire, coals, and meat are what I love to do. I can remember growing up and watching my Dad cook on the grill. This is where this passion was born. Now, I may give him grief about cooking on a gas grill versus the charcoal I prefer, but the passion was born because that is what he would do on the weekends. We would mow the yard, do the outside chores and he would barbecue chicken or ribs or a couple of steaks for that Saturday dinner. My wife converted me to the coal and I have not looked back since! One thing I have learned about grilling with coals versus gas is the preparation time. You cannot rush it. Even more so if you are slow smoking something. You have the spice rub you rub into the raw meat hours before it is introduced to any heat. There are some that require a moisture component, so you do not end up with dry jerky and then the final step of steaming inside its own (what I like to call) “body wrap.” For those non-grillers, the last part is simply wrapping that roast in foil for the last 2 hours, so the juices redistribute throughout.
Needless to say, there is time and effort that goes into slow cooking a bigger roast that would normally be tough in consistency. That time and effort result in a tender and juicy goodness that we do not mind having leftovers. This is in conflict with the society we live in. We like to get things fast and with minimal effort. Grocery stores have an option to check yourself out or order online and they will bring it to your car. You can have things shipped to your doorway without the contact of a single human being. We no longer have to wait for a full pot of coffee thanks to the single-serve Keurig type machines that out there now! How many of us still wait impatiently as that single-serve makes that one cup? We order complete fast food meals and watch the timer on the wall as if we are the only person those employees are cooking for. We book flights that have minimal stops as to not inconvenience ourselves with foot traffic on layovers. We record via DVR’s those shows we just cannot miss and fast forward through the advertisements. There is very little in today’s society that requires true effort and time in order to achieve satisfactory results.
This is contrary to Biblical standards though. There is no “easy street” when it comes to the faith I have chosen. There is much in the way of rewards though. We will leave that for a different discussion. As I sit, continuing to watch that smoke billow out, I can think of many references in the Word. Narrow is the gate to righteousness (Matt 7:13), Do all things for the Lord and not for man (Col. 3:23) and blessed who are persecuted (Matt 5:10) are among the few. The call I was given has placed a desire to see as many as possible make it to eternity with my Savior. That can only come with time and effort. It takes an effort to have a relationship with God. It takes time to set aside to just listen for His voice and direction.
I am in my final year of seminary and the course on counseling and pastoral care has reinforced things I already know. One of those things is a suggestion to find something to do that is different from the responsibilities of ministry. My senior pastor loves photography. It takes him away from ministry so he can give his spirit a break in the craziness most people in ministry experience. For me, it is slow cooking. In the midst of this time away, I hear my God speak to me in ways no one can describe. For example, all of this was from some smoke pushing its way out of three small holes on top of a dome of a kettle grill! It takes an investment of time and effort on my part to enhance the relationship I have with God. I love the fact that God wants this with all His followers. Not just those called into vocational ministry. The question is: Are you willing to put in the time and effort to have a relationship with the Creator of the universe? The choice is yours! One of the most popular verses is Mathew 7:7. Many prosperity preachers love to quote those words “Ask and it will be given to you.” It does not stop there though. This verse states we have to ask of Him. That same “Him” who we are to have a relationship with. The other parts of this same verse include action words such as seek and knock. These actions require effort on our part. This passage ends saying your Father will take care of you. The question now becomes: Is God your Father? Is there a relationship there?
As always, if you want to discuss your relationship with the Father or want to initiate one, please feel free to contact me so we can have a discussion. Ask, and it shall be answered! As for now, I need to get back to the effort that is smoking away on the grill! This effort will last another 9 hours for a total of 12! God bless and have a great day!
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5