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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write an INSPIRATIONAL or DEVOTIONAL piece (04/26/07)

TITLE: Don't Eat the Cabbage
By Julie Arduini


Granted, it was St. Patrick’s Day when most wear green and talk shamrocks and leprechauns for the day. However with Italian relatives extending a dinner invite before our weary family trekked 300 miles back home, I assumed we’d be eating…Italian. All morning my mind partnered with my stomach and together they concocted a great menu: garlic bread, lasagna, salad with homemade dressing, ziti and sauce chocked with so much meat my cholesterol rose imagining the simmering pot.

I walked in their kitchen, eyes wide open and took a whiff. My gut repulsed at the smell. Cabbage. Corned beef. Not a sauce or salad in sight. My meal wasn’t quite what I expected. It spoiled the rest of my day and definitely made for a long trip home!

I believe surprise menu choices aren’t the only area where expectations fall. There are people we love, respect and look up to that we desperately await a serving of lasagna-type praise. Instead, the plate we find before us is filled with foul smelling cabbage.

For instance, many of us can relate to loving our parents and we’re excited to share our report card. With a cursory glance and a sigh it’s handed back with the bland response,

“Nice job. How come you didn’t get all A+’s?”

There isn’t much to savor when we’re criticized or discouraged. Most people we love don’t wake up and decide to dash our dreams with the curse of their words. Usually they have been served their own corned beef where the typical reaction during a dinner is to pass the plate and keep serving the food. Words like lazy, ugly, stupid, no good, ignorant, and clumsy are sadly passed around as often as salt during meal time. Worse yet, those offerings sting as much as salt on an open wound. Time doesn’t help, nor does the ridiculous phrase that ‘sticks and stones may break our bones but words will never hurt us.’ Too many negative words tossed our way and we can leave the dinner table smelling like Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoon.

Is it possible to overcome a lifetime of meals where the menu every time was a fresh plate of discouragement? Absolutely! Grab a new plate called His Word. No matter what meal is on special at your home, school or place of work, grab the Bible and dig in. The appetizer, meal and dessert are all from the Master Chef. His words are always special. When you receive anything discouraging or negative, toss it off that new plate. As it states in 2 Corinthians 10:5:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

As diners, we’re special, beloved and heirs. Just because we’ve been served the corned beef and cabbage surprises of life doesn’t mean we have to eat it.

May this prayer be a tasty morsel to chew on as you enjoy this day:

“Lord Jesus, continue to be my Master Chef who helps me push away the discouraging meals and instead feast on the scrumptious truth found in Your Word. Every day I’m your special of the day. Thank You Jesus for loving me. Amen.”

(Scripture taken from the NIV Bible)

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Sara Harricharan 05/03/07
Simple...and definitely inspirational! I could connect and identify with 'cabbage talk' from those I have admired. The truth is well woven in here and it really packs a punch. Good job. ^_^
Eleanor Joyce05/03/07
Love the food analogy. Great job!
Jacquelyn Horne05/04/07
A different approach on learning to think positive. Good job. I liked the comparison here.
Dan Louise Mann05/07/07
Delicious entry. Kudos to you!
Cheri Hardaway 05/07/07
What a creative approach to sharing a time-honored truth from God's word. May all the meals we eat and all the meals we serve be devoid of the "cabbage" of life... Amen! Blessings, Cheri
Sharlyn Guthrie05/07/07
I'm with you on the food preferences. And you made a great lesson of it, seasoned with just enough humor to digest it. Nice job!
Myrna Noyes05/08/07
Definitely an intriguing title! :D You shared an excellent and encouraging message in this well-written piece. I enjoyed your use of humourous descriptive phrases here and there, too! :)
Jan Ackerson 05/08/07
Wonderful, creative analogy--you really brought your readers right to the table with you.
Mariane Holbrook 05/08/07
You never can go wrong when you write about food! And you did it with great taste
(pardon the pun)! Seriously, this is a good piece of writing and I'll look for your name in future challenges. Great job!
Loren T. Lowery05/09/07
Very practical and needful message. Great analogy and one I can easily relate to in my everyday life - that is one of the reasons this piece works so well. Thank-you for sharing.
Joanne Sher 05/09/07
This is a wonderful analogy perfectly applied with some real meat (LOL another pun, eh?) to chew on. This truly ministered to me.