Made to Order

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I’m the first to admit I’m not much of a foodie. It’s very difficult to impress me at a restaurant or with a fancy dessert. Although I don’t consider myself a very good cook, I know I can usually cook better food at home. My husband has grown used to my peculiarities and can usually predict what I will/will not order when we are out.

There is this one place that did impress me in Texas some years ago that I must give props to. Dear friends, Paul and Perrianne Brownback, who pastor The Abbey Church in Azle, Texas took my husband and I to a well-known steak restaurant in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Those who know me know that to impress me with a steak is nearly within the realm of the impossible. I generally don’t eat steaks, not because I’m a vegetarian, but because I simply have had very few really good steaks in my life. Upon their insistence that the steak at this restaurant had a 5-star rating, and to my husband’s great surprise, I ordered a steak, cooked in between well-done and medium well, knowing it would be like every other disappointing steak I’d ever eaten. Mentally I was already tearing the steak down: it was going to be too chewy, overdone, underdone, flavorless, or otherwise undesirable.

We have known the Brownbacks for all the years we have been missionaries (since 1987). Their church has been a faithful supporter of the work and we try to connect with them whenever we can and this time at the restaurant was a great opportunity to play catch up. I forgot about mentally destroying the steak and enjoyed the company. After some minutes, the waiter brought bread and some other condiments to go with the bread. While munching on the appetizers, we laughed over old memories and seriously contemplated our futures. It was a great time, and then…the steak arrived in all of its sizzling, 5-star glory.

I knew this steak was different from the moment it was set in front of me. It smelled amazing! It was cooked to perfection: right in between well-done and medium well. It wasn’t dry, chewy, or tasteless. The waiter graciously explained that there were different sauces available to me, but I was oblivious. You see if I enjoy a steak, I don’t want any sauce on it to ruin the flavor. I want to taste the steak, not the steak sauce. The rest of the evening’s meal was eclipsed by this piece of amazingness! Yes, I remember the steak from the Dallas/Fort Worth area – it was a steak worth every bite.

Today, the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I find myself wondering how well am I doing with what I am offering to those around me who need something to fill their emptiness? Is what I offer much like the bland, tough, undesirable steaks found in so many restaurants? Why would they bother with that kind of steak when they already have tough and flavorless available to them in their day-to-day lives?

Many have already tested what’s available on menus we have offered and have been let down. It’s been too tough, too lonely, or simply too complicated for them to enjoy the experience.

Matthew 11:29,30 NLT “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

God’s Word, on the other hand, is unlike any other menu. His is “made to order” for each and every person we meet. What He gives is tender and easy to bear; it is made to suit the one who is hearing it. The Chef is skilled enough to meet the needs of the most finicky of customers! Some need strength, others need encouragement, others need a shoulder to cry on, and still others need a combination of ingredients. It’s all there in the menu that God has prepared: it’s “a la carte” and can fit every taste. Even the pickiest palate can be refreshed by the amazing offerings that God prepares to perfection in His 5-star establishment.

How are we doing at offering His menu to the world? How well do we rate? Are ours the stars shining or are God’s stars the ones shining? When we try to make God fit our ideas of “excellent” service, we are immediately downgraded. Those serving in His Kingdom have learned the only way to bring in those looking for a certain item on a menu is by representing the Owner.

God doesn’t franchise out His Word like restaurants do here on the earth. A franchise will resemble the brand but will take on the personality of the owner of franchise. There’s no fast food or instant fixes here – everything is done exactly to fit the needs of those ordering.

The Chef is never too busy for you; He will come to your table and listen to what you have to say and prepare something that will far exceed your expectations. Please, you’re welcome to take a seat; you’re the first person He is serving today.

He’s ready to take your order now.

 

 

 

 

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