Last night I had friends over for dinner. I had prepared a five course Thai dinner including dim sum, beef satay in lettuce wrap, a soup course (which I forgot to serve!) an green curry with sticky rice and a combination of roasted almond chocolate and candied ginger chocolate. Minutes before my guests were to arrive, there was a storm which came up so fast and was so powerfully that I considered the possibility that we had finally arrived at the End Times. Jesus was coming back. This was it. My only thought (which should have been how glad I was that Jesus was coming back to resolve all time into eternity) was that I resented the possibility of not having yet had desert. I love chocolate covered ginger. Really. I do. Not as much as Jesus, but almost.
My guests arrived and they were wonderful. Making friends in a new place takes work and initiative. I wanted to become friends with these people – good people – and I am happily beyond that phase of life in which needing to impress is at the top of my list of dinner hosting accomplishments. At fifty years old I am just too tired. My friends warmed to me and I to them and we ate as the meal unfolded course after course in the developing darkness. With a kitchen plunged into inky blackness, I was making the curry course by candlelight with these vegetables pictured above; unable to see what I was doing. The deep purple Thai Eggplant never made it into the curry because it was just too dark to see on the platter.
The curry was not one of my best. But it was fine. Made up of green curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce and vegetables it was a simple matter of heating and stirring. Thank God for a gas stove. But a metaphor emerged and stayed with me all night and morning – and it was this: The ingredients make the meal. If the ingredients are authentic, good, simple, fresh, real, healthy – then the meal will fuel the body and taste good. In all truth, how can you mess up fresh vegetables?
What goes into the pot is what is scooped out onto sticky rice. What goes into my mind and my heart through my eyes and touch is what is being used by God when I go to make ministry happen. It is that way with al of us. What we allow into our lives through television, advertisements, movies, friendships, relationships, reading – they are ingredients and the outcome will make the meal of our lives. Physically, we know that “we are what we eat” but spiritually, we are what we adore. What we spend time with – what we ingest matters. May it be good and wholesome and may we attend to caring for the stewardship of our time such that we are filled with good things.