In days of “Auld Lang Syne” my brothers and I grew up, three boys who knew how to make life “interesting” for my father and step-mother.
Our father and mother both had to work to make ends meet but I can’t remember ever being hungry, unless you classify being sent to bed without supper for wrong doing as going hungry. We had clean warm clothes for the winters and clean light clothing for the summers. We had our own beds to sleep in. We went to school and Mom made sure we all went to church and taught us biblical right and wrong. In their way and to the best of their knowledge and ability, they loved us and cared for us.
Mom worked a full time job as a bookkeeper most everywhere we lived. In the morning she got my brothers and me up and ready for the day, packed us lunches for school, started preparing that night’s supper and then was off to work. There’s more but suffice it to say she worked from morning till bed time.
But in the course of that busy life working to provide basics, she also found time to do extra things for us. One of those extra things was dessert. She would bake a cake or cookies or from time to time a pie.
On one particular occasion she made what was supposed to be a cake and after supper one night she got up and brought to the table a rectangular cake pan in the bottom of which was a flat bread looking thing with kind of lumps of crisp crunch on top. She explained it was meant to be an almond flavored cake, thick and moist, but somehow it didn’t rise and what she ended up with was flat, baked, dough.
“Would we care to have some?”
Well we were boys, always hungry and “Sure, we’ll try it.”
She served us each up a piece. We take a fork to cut a bite and the piece crumbled apart on the dish. “Doesn’t hold together to well does it?” she says, apologetically. We take a bite.
One of us looked up at her and said, “Mom… this is really crummy cake.” She stood there for just a second then started laughing and I mean really laughing. We all ended up laughing together over that cake and, actually, it became one of our favorites. She would ask if we had a preference for dessert and from time to time someone would say “Why don’t you make some of that crummy cake of yours.”
Some ingredient was missing. Some order of combining wasn’t done. Some instruction was not followed. Maybe everything was done according to the recipe but it was the wrong recipe.
So we think and say to ourselves, “Why did it turn out this way? If I only knew I wouldn’t have done it. If I had been aware I would never have said that. I would have done better if I had known how to. It’s not all my fault.”
Before we knew about it we had an excuse. But now we know, we really do, there is a cookbook out there within which is the recipe and the instructions for its preparation that enables us to prepare and serve up a life that has fragrance and texture and taste that is delicious and is nourishing enough to sustain us for eternity, that is good.
To achieve the sought after five star rating of “Well done good and faithful servant,” the Book must be read in entirety... the instructions followed faithfully. And we need to labor out of a love for and trust in its Author and a desire to bless one another. Without the love and trust and careful attentiveness to the instructions everything falls flat and comes apart.
That lady, the strict mother, loving through actions, was in that Book and following the instructions for the recipe the best she could, loyally and trustingly, and continued to even when she “mistaked”. She took advantage of a knowledge that her Father worked all things to good for those in His purpose and was able to have a spirit of hope and joy and able to laugh. So should we. So can we.
Father, we have troubles because we are at the mercy of circumstances and defenseless. And Father, we have troubles that we bring upon ourselves. But we know there is a Way to heal from them and a Way to prepare for them. You are the author of that Way and in the hands of the merciful and loving and warm God and Father You are, words that can be cold and heartless, defining right and wrong, used for weighing out judgment, You are able to turn into acts of righteousness, a Way of demonstrating loving kindness, a Way to know and do good before You if we trust and follow faithfully what They say. They point to and reveal to us Your warmth and life. Thank You Father for knowing our weakness and our proneness to disobey, yet Your willingness to forgive and remain and continue to instruct us. Grant us grace, the enabling power, Father to continually strive to know and follow after Your Way with You and one another. Bless our efforts Father, as in love for You we work to serve up to You, lives and fellowship correctly prepared, pleasing and acceptable to You. For You are worthy. It is our joy.
In Yeshua’s name we pray,
May God’s love be in us all.