I have spent the last hour reading my moms better homes and gardens red checked cookbook that is about 1961 vintage. I like reading the suggestions for lunches and dinners, and seeing the old clippings in there where a slab of bacon is only 45 cents.
I like reading the recipes and imagining what they might taste like as some of them are much different from things we are preparing today in our kitchens.
But one thing remains the same, and that is that every person who attempts to prepare some food according to a recipe, is hoping to achieve something not only edible but delicious.
I thought about this with regards to the daily bible verse I randomly chose for today.
“I have come to bring fire on the earth and I wish it was already kindled”
The bible verse goes on to say that there will be division. It says that in a family of five, two will be against three and three against two. Then it goes on to say that people who see bad weather, predict rain. Jesus said that how is it we can predict rain when we see bad weather but not see the hypocrisy in predicting peace when there is division?
Like the recipes in my mom’s cookbook, Jesus is basically saying that it is hypocritical to predict that a bad recipe would make a good meal. If we see bad behavior we know that the good will be divided from the bad…like the chaff from the wheat. That division is because of the judgement that mankind brings upon itself when it does the opposite of the will of God.
In a bible study article I was reading by the northern seminary, about this randomly chosen bible verse I picked for today, I like it when it says …
“I have come to bring fire on the earth” the meaning is about judgement. It says that “in Greek, which is how Luke wrote, he placed fire as the first word in the sentence. He was emphasizing the fire..and the word translated bring in the new international version is ballo which means throw or cast. it implies great force. It might have been the word for how a baseball pitcher hurls a ball towards the plate. There is nothing soft or gentle about that”
The lesson in all of this for me, is to work on living a good life and finding common ground with others, because God is the one pitching the ball or hurling fire, passing judgement, and mankind needs to get a hit, or do something constructive with the pitch. We do not need to concern ourselves with judging others because God sees all. Reading the bible, studying God’s word, and living it, is like batting practice.
We cannot expect a win if we do not know how to handle a hard pitch and likewise we cannot expect a meal to be delicious if we are using a bad recipe. Division apparently like a respected cookbook recipe separates the good from the bad very effectively. It is easy to make a bad meal and it is usually more difficult to make a good meal. We can avoid the division that places us in the bad recipe column by maintaining our own good behavior.
My mom made us many delicious meals. I can see her notes and can still enjoy her cooking when I go to visit in N.C. She gave me a good path to follow.
She has shared recipes for delicious foods with her five girls because she wants us to have a predictable outcome when we cook. In the same way, Jesus is telling us that if we want a win, that outcome is tied to his throwing fire, or judgement which we have to successfully navigate because we have lived a good life.
And, judgement comes based on our actions, and when we practice living a good life, we do not hide from judgement.
Jesus says that He delivers the fire, and just like a great pitcher he throws strikes. Just like baseball, judgement is swift and immediate, very much like how a pitch is either a strike or a ball. There is no middle ground in such a call because it is not partially a strike and partially a ball. It is always one or the other.
I want to be on the side of those delivering strikes or throwing fire, like Jesus. I am not afraid of judgement because I know I am listening to Jesus so those balls of fire will help me get hits and win, not lose.
For some, it is not easy to follow the example of Jesus, and so we know for them, it will not be easy to ever win a game. But throwing a fiery pitch is something I can benefit from and count on from Jesus because I know his judgement is swift and fair and he knows I am on his side.
So when I get out this cookbook next time, I know I will have good recipes to look at and can count on a delicious meal, and I will have all the ingredients I need. I can count on it.