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Crockpot Wonders
by Tom Engel
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Crock Pot Wonders
Tom Engel
Cruising down the frozen food aisle with my shopping cart that was already halfway loaded with several cereal boxes and a couple gallons of milk, I saw a guy about thirty, who looked a few years older than me, opening and closing the freezer doors. In between opening and closing the doors, he took out boxes of frozen dinners and stacked them in his cart, and it seemed like he did it without even looking at what was in the boxes. I didnít mean to stare at him, but I gave him a hard look thinking what I must have looked like a hundred times as I shopped the frozen food aisle.
At the check-out line, I dumped out the cereal boxes and frozen dinners and looked at the magazines and saw a cooking magazine with an article that spoke right to me and my microwave. I skimmed through the first page. It talked about getting out of the frozen food section and discovering the satisfying taste of crock pot wonders. I bought the magazine and read it that week.
The next time I went to the store I actually had a grocery list and went to the fresh vegetable section and enjoyed the fragrances and colors. It was like being out on a farm. The next morning, I got up a little earlier than usual and followed the easy directions. In a few minutes of slicing and dashing some spices, I was done.
Coming home that night it was probably what it would be like entering Martha Stewartsí home at dinner time. My apartment never smelled that good. A neighbor took a whiff and asked if my mom had come to visit.
The meal was delicious and was a wonder as promised. I thought cooking was for other people, but anyone can cook and have good food. A good meal does not need to be complicated. That evening I started thinking about what other things in my life needed to change. Life can be simple and good. What other things were I missing out on because of a small-minded attitude?
We tend to make life complicated. I have apps on my phone that I do not even know what they are for. I have buttons on my microwave that I never use. On my carís console there is a small computer that has more programs that anyone should use, especially while driving. Donít get me wrong I love my laptop, but I found I had to get up earlier every day to check all my emails and messages on Facebook. There are only so many hours in a day.
We have convinced ourselves that we must be multi-taskers. In our attempts to do many things we have lost our focus to do one thing well. I found myself adding so much to life to try to make it full and meaningful that I lost its true purpose like making a good meal.
I have things in my life to make my life easier, so I can do more, but I am finding that life just gets more complicated and the to do list never ends. Life got turned upside down as I was busy doing things that seemed important but had little meaning and missing simple and good things.
This problem is just not a modern day thing. Back in Jesusí times, the Pharisees said there was always more to be done to be a whole person. They kept adding to rules and customs from how to wash oneís hands to worship. And it got to the point that they missed out on some of the more important things in life like helping someone who needed help on the Sabbath, which to them in their interpretation of the Sabbath, it was a day of total rest, so a person could not be healed on that day.
Jesus knew what to do in ever circumstance because he kept things simple. He brought everything together under one thought. Our Lord was not a rule breaker because he healed on the Sabbath. Jesus got this way of doing things from his Father in heaven. His Father was only about love. Even in his law, God the Father gave it for the benefit for people to live ordered and peaceful lives. The Pharisees had laws that burdened people with unnecessary rules and customs that weighed the people down.
God the Father sent his Son Jesus to free people from burdens and the on.ly way to get this freedom is from love. When a sick person came before Jesus because he is love, Jesus could only heal him, even if it was on the Sabbath when the custom was to do nothing. When hungry people were before him, he could only feed them even when it seemed impossible to do. When Jesus was on the cross dying even though he was innocent and people taunted him, out of love he could only ask for his father to forgive them.
In our lives, Jesus only looks at us with love, even when we are making things complicated and almost insistent in sinking deeper into our problems by stressing over them. Stress has its way of adding to problems. But it is at theses times it would be best to stand back for a moment and ask what love would do. For instance, love can look at conflict as a good thing and a time for growth and a deepening of a relationship if everyone involved approaches it with love that includes patience, understanding, and as everyone needing to say what I have done to contribute to the problem and what do I need to forgive and not hold a grudge.
As children of God it seems best to start a day with not what all do I need to accomplish today but it is better what can I do that shows love. To do lists can get life complicated as we over do things to keep up with a world that has a goal to get things. Showing love helps things to fall in place better. Love always is the right thing to do and never fails.
And we can show love because we are love. We became children of God by God pouring his love in us. God can do nothing but create love and we can choose to be love. As we do live in a sinful world and have sinful fleshes ourselves, we will face choices about what to do. The devil will say keep busy and keep running in all directions because he likes confusion, so we lose focus on love. But asking what love will do keeps it simple and in its simplicity keeps us focused. The devil wants us to be restless and feel we have to do things to be filled. Faith says you are filled with Godís love and says to go home and rest in the knowledge that all that love can do has been done and be at peace with that, even if things seem incomplete and even wrong; love says wait, and God will make it happen as his will is done.
There is a picture of an elderly man in what seems to be a rustic setting who is praying at a table and on the table is a loaf of bread, a bowl of soup, and a bible. I always liked that picture because of its simplicity and the devotion of the man and the man seems to be at peace. Maybe there could be a picture of me at my table in my studio apartment with my crock pot. It just takes a few good things in life to make life good. Love gives us those things and we always have love because we always have the love of God the Father in Christ Jesus.
If you have a crock pot recipe, I would like to have it. It is a wonder all the combinations of vegetables and spices can make. Simple can lead to a lot of good things, and done with love and care it does turn out to be a wonder. Good food and simple joy in Christ is for everyone.


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