I love making chili. I make all different kinds with so many types of ingredients. I’ve even thought of starting up a restaurant completely devoted to chili. My family gets excited when they see me preparing the one meal that can get us all around the table without protest.
I start with preparing all of the ingredients. I always begin with a good cry over the onions. With tear filled eyes, I carefully crush and chop the garlic and whatever other vegetables are going in that pot. Everything else eventually gets thrown in together and the real magic begins.
Simmering is the key to great chilli. If you set the heat on too low it all just kind of sits there, never expanding the flavors, just keeping it a lukewarm pot of flavorless tomato and beef surprise. If you set the heat too high, you lose all liquid through steam and you end up with burnt chili not suitable for those who come to your table. If you simmer it, only allowing a bubble or two to rise to the top, you have flavors connecting and attaching themselves to each other becoming a melodious symphony of goodness.
This all reminds me about my witness as a Christian. I’ve tasted poached, simmered, and boiled Christianity. I’ve seen how it affects the flavors and the satisfaction of fullness at the tables. When I sit back and keep my witness too low, I’m often alone and separated. I’m pretty bland about my love for God. I become just a mildly flavored pot of tomato and beef surprise.
When i’m boiling over, I’m eventually condensed and burnt out. My flavor becomes strongly opinionated and that is all you can taste of me. Just like a boiling pot of chili, I’ve splashed everywhere making a mess and all that comes out of me is hot steaming air. I’ve boiled down to a pot of “I’m right, you’re wrong” chili. That’s not very tasty.
Simmering is the key to a strong, welcoming witness. The fruits of the Spirit come together, interconnected yet standing out on their own. I’m loving, joyful, patient, kind, good, gentle, and have self-control. I’m become the type of meal that brings everyone to the table. Just like a bowl of tasty goodness, people ask for seconds. They want more of what I am and even ask for the recipe. I’m not screaming this recipe at them and I’m not keeping it to myself. They see my fruits and want to know how they can attain them.
Moral of it all, don’t hide your fruits and don’t boast of them either. When people can see your goodness and joy without having to search for them, when people aren’t having to get you out of their face, when people can just see your strong faith, joy, and good works, they’ll gladly have a seat at the table and break bread with you.
Simmer on, folks. Peace, grace, and joy to you.