Colder weather calls for chili.
And chili calls for ingredients like garlic and cumin and meat.
And ingredients call for cooks who can whip them together.
And that’s where I run into trouble.
Recently, I was asked to bring a pot of chili to a church get-together. Not a difficult request or an especially stressful situation. Just a community of believers doing life and eating chili. Sounds simple enough. But it wasn’t.
Whenever I cook I pray a very simple prayer, “Lord, Please don’t let this food kill anyone and, if possible, make it taste good.” Per usual, I had a minor meltdown with this meal. I was terrified it would all go wrong. I got way too frustrated (over chili, remember!) I huffed. I puffed. I threw up my hands. I even snapped at my husband. Not one of my prouder moments.
Confession: I gripe about being a lousy cook, but I really don’t think I want to get better.
Lots of people have kindly given me their cooking advice, recipes, and encouragements. Deep down, I don’t think I really want it. I just want a magic cooking fairy to wave her wand and instantly transform me into a chef of Julia Childs proportions. If that can’t happen, I’m not interested. I can’t take the heat – please, get me out of the kitchen!
During the middle of my chili tirade, the Holy Spirit convicted me regarding my attitude towards all things culinary. A familiar verse came to mind.
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
As a Christian, everything I do should be an act of worship. Whether I’m doing something that I love and comes naturally, like writing, or something that is way out of my comfort zone and takes a great amount of effort, like cooking. Whatever my hand finds to do.
In the heat of the kitchen, I bowed my head and repented.
And wouldn’t you know the outcome was just fine? People ate bowls of my chili, they didn’t die, and they actually enjoyed it. What’s more important, they were eating the product of a repented heart. The chili may have taken the edge off a frosty night, but it also chipped away at the frost of my own soul. And that’s something worth working for.