Today I baked some friendship bread. It you have not heard of this bread, it is similar to banana or pumpkin bread. I mixed it up quickly, threw it in the oven, and went about my next project. Suddenly it came to mind that I might have forgotten to put in that second cup of flour. Oh no, I thought, what is this bread going to look like without that ingredient?
I know what the problem is. I was so busy planning my next project and hurrying to get things done, that I became distracted from the present task. Well the bread had to be baked a little longer, it did not rise like it should, and it fell apart when I tried to cut it in slices. The only consolation was that it tasted good.
Since I did get some flour in the bread, it was not a complete disaster. Yet, having only part of this ingredient made a big difference in the finished project.
So, too it is with our witness for Christ. I think of the verses II Corinthians 13: 1-3 about having the gifts of speaking in tongues, prophecy, knowledge, and faith; but it you have not love, it is nothing. Leaving out the ingredient of ‘love’ makes all our efforts of little or no value.
We can get very busy doing all our Christian things, like teaching bible studies, giving to the poor, preaching the Word or many other church duties, but if we don’t have love, it will be of little effect.
Maybe having a little love, like a little flour, will bring some results and influence a few lives. However, if that love is not very strong, our efforts could fall apart in the end and prove unprofitable.
Let’s not forget the other ingredients to a great walk with the Lord, faith, hope, wisdom, peace, etc. Without even one of these, we are lacking an impact in our lives and others.
First of all, I should have been clearer that not every point of the 7 I mentioned in the lesson needs to be present in every devotional. I've actually been somewhat alarmed at the people who've found humor in the devotional that I linked to. I didn't intend humor (or sarcasm!) at all, and if I ever re-visit that one, I'll have to take a closer look at that.
As far as your devotional, a few things occur to me:
I've never heard of "friendship bread," so I was very intrigued by the first half of your piece. I wanted to know more. Why is it called "friendship bread?" What project distracted you? What was your reaction when you took it out of the oven? What did it look like when you were attempting to eat it (maybe a place for a touch of humor)? In short, I wanted more narrative, more details, more of the human touch. Nothing here is bad--in fact, it's so good that I wanted more.
I like that you put the scripture from I Corinthians in the middle (although you mis-typed it as II Corinthians). I think it'd be fine to quote the entire selection, for the benefit of any new Christians who might not be familiar with the passage.
I very much like that you've suggested "love" as your missing ingredient. I think your last two sentences, while quite true, might weaken that premise a bit by suggesting several possible missing ingredients. Since in your real-life example, you only left out one ingredient, the parallel with your spiritual lesson is stronger if you compare the one missing ingredient (flour) to one missing spiritual trait (love). If you were to elaborate a bit on that section (adding more love), I think the devotional would be stronger.
Those are just my thoughts--what do you think?