“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared.”
–Nehemiah 8:10 (NLT)
Do you find cooking to be a chore? Or maybe you see it as an adventure, never knowing what you’ll create in the kitchen. Either perspective can be interesting.
However, that brings me to an all-important question. So please be honest, as others will love you for it. Do you come up with culinary delights that make people salivate and want more? Or do you throw together culinary frights that make people want to run?
For that reason, my wife has let me know that cooking is her department now. I wasn’t too happy with that, though. Believing that we should split the work load up, I have designed my own special department in our house. It is called the eating center, and I’d like to show you how it works.
So let me invite you over while Stephanie is gone, so you can enjoy one of my special creations. I guarantee you will experience only the finest of cuisine here, so sit back and take your shoes off. Just make yourself at home and get comfortable, as you prepare to enjoy tonight’s special.
It is a creative masterpiece, if I do say so myself. I will even let you come into the kitchen and watch me make it. I really shouldn’t let you in on my secret, but if you promise not to tell a soul, I will allow you to behold its creation.
Now is the moment you’ve been waiting for, and you will soon experience a meal unlike any other. Walk over to the freezer, where I keep my secret surprise.
“It’s a frozen dinner!” you say with dismay. “I could have fixed that at home!”
“Ah, but just a minute,” I reply. “You have to let me concentrate.”
As I slide the dinners out, I take them over to the microwave. But when they are only partially done, I pull them out.
“What are you doing?” you almost scream.
I just smile and say, “You will find that this food is delectable. This method of preparation adds an amazing crunch to these dinners that you wouldn’t get otherwise.”
You tell me that you just remembered an important appointment, and you quickly leave.
My wife has a similar reaction to my famous cooking that I don’t understand, and she gets really excited when I talk about going out to a restaurant. She even calls them places of joy.
We sometimes eat out alone, or we may go out with family or a good friend. Usually we have an inexpensive meal at a fast-food restaurant, but we like to splurge once in a while.
Sometimes we exercise another option, and we tell ourselves there’s no place like home. When we do this, we like to enjoy each other’s company. So instead of fighting the crowds, we will have something delivered. But most of the delivery services take so long that the food is lukewarm or cold by the time it arrives, and I start to get up to raid the refrigerator several times. But my wife makes me promise that I will stop, and she tells me that her kitchen is off-limits. So that brings us back to the idea of going out.
One time when we went out particularly sticks in my mind. Back in December, we took our good friend to an Italian restaurant which we had bragged about often. We had gone there on our anniversary, and we thought it was great. So I looked forward to going back, and I did a sales job on our friend that would have made my old boss proud.
However, we got the extremely disappointing surprise of our lives. The place was very crowded on that Saturday night. After waiting an hour, the food and service weren’t as wonderful as we remembered. To my mind, everything was mediocre at best.
Now I would like to tell you about a place which I can recommend wholeheartedly. While you know from reading this blog that I am a big fan of restaurants, and that I find it very satisfying to leave with a full stomach, I’ve also found that the full and satisfied feeling wears off eventually.
“Do you really have to make another trip to the fridge?” I ask myself. I can hear my wife saying “Amen!” in the background, and so I sit down.
There is no doubt that God gave us food to enjoy, but thinking about how big of a role eating plays in my life causes me to shudder. So here is a serious question which I hope you will join me in considering.
I have been wondering whether it was really unfortunate that a meal only offers temporary satisfaction. When i think it through, the honest answer I came up with was no. I reason that God could be using my questions to drive me closer to Him, so instead of ignoring thoughts of turning to God, I’ve decided to make a deliberate choice to seek Him more often.
In the past, I have turned to comfort food instead of turning to God, whom the Bible says is loving and never changes. He wants to bless those of us who put their trust in Him with a permanent joy. But in spite of this, where do I usually turn? Not To my Bible, but to a poor substitute.
In this context, I thought about how foolish it was for me to try and satisfy an eternal need with my temporary greed.
God is calling all of us to cultivate a deep hunger for Him by calling upon Him, and by finding comfort in His Word. The Bible tells each of us that we will be blessed with a hunger which only He can satisfy, and that this communion brings the lasting joy I mentioned earlier.
So while temporary pleasures bring a fleeting form of happiness, I’ll leave you with another question. Why settle for short-term happiness when God’s long-term, unchanging joy is staring you in the face?
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 6:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.