Cooking up some love
A devotional by Jessica Brodie
When I was younger, I didn’t know how to cook, nor did I want to learn. I had it in my head that as a strong, independent, intelligent “career woman” I just needed to know enough to get by, enough to eat healthily on a regular basis. If I needed fine dining, I could go to a restaurant, thank you very much.
That thinking changed as the years passed. The first time my sister came to visit, I was excited and wanted to do something special for her, so I hauled out my grandma’s old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. How hard could it be?
It turned out not to be so hard, but also kind of fun, too.
I started pulling out that cookbook at other times, too—a homemade instead of a store-bought treat for my office potluck, a yummy appetizer for my friend’s Super Bowl party, a special dessert for Thanksgiving. One year I was tight on funds at Christmas, so I decided to make homemade biscotti cookies as presents. It was hard but deliciously worth it.
When I had kids, cooking became not just something I needed to do so they could stay alive. It became a way I could love them and care for them. If they were sick, I could fix them their favorite meal as a way to comfort or cheer them. When my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies, I didn’t panic. I just figured out how to cook things without his allergens. Easy peasy.
I’ve hosted my share of family Thanksgivings and dinner parties, I eat at home 99% of the time, and I still love my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. But I’m no master chef, nor do I ever want to be. Most nights, we get by on leftovers. And I get frustrated if anything I cook takes longer to prep than twenty minutes. Who has time for that?
But I’ve come to understand that cooking for others is a way I can love them. It has nothing to do with my so-called status as a career woman, wife, woman, or mom. It’s a sweet act of service I can do, a loving gift, and an investment of time all rolled into one. Plus, it saves money!
As the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, serve with a cheerful heart.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ” (Colossians 3:23-24 NLT).
And as he wrote the Corinthians, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NLT).
Whatever we offer in love—whether that’s a meal, a handcrafted piece of furniture, a piece of writing or other artwork, a sermon, or a good word of advice to a friend—remember that we are reflecting the love of God with it.
As Jesus Himself said, “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT).
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden.
She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team.
Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com/shiningthelight.