I love to cook and bake and try new recipes. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether or not you're on the receiving end of my experimenting. :) One aspect of good food preparation is the spices that you add to enhance the flavor of the end product. Wise use of additives can bring out subtle nuances in food flavor, and accent the inherent qualities of whatever you're cooking. Over-use can destroy a dish by drowning out flavors and over-powering the natural goodness of the food you're preparing.
Preserving food is also an important practice. The ability to lock in that natural goodness of the beans and carrots growing in my garden, makes winter-time meal preparation much easier and the end product more enjoyable.
These thoughts started rolling around in my head a week or so ago as I sat eating dinner with an amazing group of ladies God has brought into my life. An accountability group of sorts, we get together and talk about life issues, spiritual struggles, and how God is working in our relationships. One of the women picked up the salt shaker off the table and joked that she added the "spice" to our group, while some of the rest of us were better at "preserving" the peace and continuity among us. As much as I love word pictures, and am constantly watching for them in my life, this one jumped out at me!
The analogy caused me to stop and think ... am I more of an additive or preservative in my relationships? Is there more value in being one over the other? Or are they equally as important? Certainly, spicy food won't last nearly as long if it's not preserved, and preserved food will be pretty bland without the benefit of flavor enhancement. But I also suspect both can be "over-used" ... balance is definitely the key. Scripture talks about both "salt that has lost its saltiness" and "preserving unity", so both are important from God's perspective.
So now I'm thinking about the various relationships with which God has blessed me. Are there ways I can add "spice" that will enhance my interactions with my children? Are there things I can do to "preserve" my relationship with my husband or other family members? What "additives" can I offer that will enhance the character qualities I see in my friend?
I challenge you this summer to think about your relationships. While your mind is free from the normal responsibilities that come with the school year, consider where you might add spice or preservatives in your interactions with others. Encourage each other and build each other up ... (I Thessalonians 5:11)
Still on the journey ...
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