Look Alive

30 December 2010

The "Stew" in Stewardship

"The passion for setting people right is, in itself, a dis-ease with the self." ~ Marianne Moore

WWJD... For close to a decade, this popular acronym has been asking 'what would Jesus do'. The fact that any of us even need to consider this question before some thoughts, words and deeds is testament to our imperfect tendencies. Even the "elect" (well-versed, maybe even degreed in, Spirit-filled and shouting the Word) err -- often on the side of ego or "easing God out" as a guest pastor memorably quipped last week. How do we ease God out of our lives, especially under our super-anointed radars? Well, that ease can come in the forms of thinking our waking in the morning is courtesy of a Bose clock radio, stealing or slandering when no human eyes bear witness and doubting that the Most High is great enough to brush off that which came from dust, especially after having fallen. We won't even get into the mutual harm of judging books by their covers or the incomplete pages we have read. With the Sovereign Author and Finisher of all our stories, to paraphrase singer Natasha Bedingfield, "the best is yet unwritten!"

In the process of receiving the Holy Spirit's utterance, sometimes overwhelming energy or details of corrective protection are revealed that feel nearly impossible to contain. (Remember Jeremiah from a few days' links and aeons back?) The ecstasy to hear even a Hortonesque 'who' from On High is overwhelming! Factoring in the truth that the Lord knows our faults and yet deposits enough Love in us to better love ourselves and Life-at-large might invite the belief that Grace is exclusive and not for all, if we're not careful. Personally speaking, zealous self-righteousness has done the occasional sneak attack on my mind, sometimes reaching as far as my mouth or fingers, with the intention to fix another. Like keeping the company of strong drink and other lower case spirits, it only tends to be destructive no matter how good the intention.

That being said, I present a new question for that same acronym; hopefully bland enough to avoid heartburn but lightly seasoned to encourage your own thoughts on the matter: why wield judgment daily? After all, judgment is a two-edged sword of immense weight that few, if any, human arms can manage for long. It is true that believers in God are called to admonish and teach each other, among additional duties to humanity, according to His Will and Word. The other factors of when, how, to what extent and so on belong to the Creator, however. We are just here to amplify the Light of God as stewards to each other, not monopolizing our Father but sharing His Truth-in-Love with all who seek it and even some who don't.

On this second-to-last day of the the year "2010", let's consider the many faces and nations represented across the globe to reflect upon all the different types it takes to fill a world. Next, consider the microcosm and the qualities we each have inside that are worth keeping as well as those we could do better without. As we develop in stewardship, let's be sure to add only those 'keepers' to the stew!

'11' preparation tips
Knowledge: Structured plans (aka recipes) can assist almost all forms of development, good, bad or indifferent. We have to know what end result that we want and what we need to achieve it, remembering to guard against 'too many cooks'. If the Lord says we should receive "It", it's time for...

Action: The above, like faith, requires the spark of activity or work to make it happen. The stew's not gonna cook itself, you know!

Vessel: The right ingredients need a place to combine, be transformed and from which to be poured and stored, be it cup, dish, bowl, pot, wineskin or bottle. Each of us are created as vessels; what we choose to contain and release is another story.

Oil: For plant cells, oil is one ingredient that eases movement past the walls and grants access to the nutrients for our bodies' absorption. It also helps our good "stuff" bear the heat required to refine it.

Spices: Since antiquity, spices have been of great value, even moreso than precious gems and metals at times. Their irreplaceable function is to help preserve, make tougher matters tender and impart flavor in ways that are still subject to the unique leanings of the individual! Salt (to taste) is not officially a spice, but it serves similar purpose while amplifying the others.

Meat: Regarding our actual diets, this is optional. Regarding the Word, however, meat often accompanied by...
Potatoes or another root/starch component will solidify and give 'body' to a meal that sticks and fills.

Water: The universal solvent lives in and balances everything. No cleaning and very little cooking can be done without it. The Lord and His Word are the Water that should comprise over 70% of our lives.

Vegetables: Perishable yet fortifying, plants come with healthy properties that often correspond to their true colors. To enhance texture and flavor, prepare some with the spices and add them to the seasoned and reduced meat that's stewing as you will. Many can and should be enjoyed raw, too.

Heat: Water's activation potential and boiling point of 212°F must be reached and maintained to ensure that invisible, harmful germs are killed and that the chemical bonds of all the above are broken as necessary to yield the desired meal. (See also below)

Live in p(e)ace, using only what time is appointed as necessary. Failure to do so is likely to result in undercooked meat that can pose serious illness. Poor planning or desires for convenience otherwise will require working with extremely high pressure. The choice is yours.

Enjoy the "stew" and be blessed as well as a blessing!

* This post contains elements of the short, "Dinner with Mermaids"

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