Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: Attitudes and Abelskivvers
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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A square stove-top griddle was one of the first items to catch my eye. It produced crispy grilled cheese sandwiches, juicy hamburgers, and golden pancakes. I used it often and, in time, upgraded to a double-burner sized griddle. On the upgraded version, my sons encouraged my mastery of pancake art, which included bunnies, teddy bears, Mickey Mouse, Charlie Brown, and round pancakes with initials or words emblazoned on their faces.
A few years ago I discovered that my double-burner griddle wasnít compatible with our new ceramic stove-top. I then purchased an even larger electric one. Alas, my family shrunk, and the electric griddle is so large and awkward that I seldom use it, although occasionally I find it helpful for entertaining.
Another cooking device we received as newlyweds came from a Danish couple. It was called an abelskivver, and resembled a large iron skillet with eight to ten indentations. I had no idea what to do with it, so I displayed it on the wall, much to the amusement of our Danish friends. By the time they furnished us with a recipe and instructions for its use, I was very comfortable using my griddle, and not terribly interested in investing the time it would take to try something new. Eventually the abelskivver wound up in a garage sale, and was sold without a single use.
Recently I have changed my attitude toward cooking. Iím intrigued by the variety of utensils, vessels, and cookware available in stores like Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma, and I often amuse myself by leafing through their mail-order catalogs.
This week, as I scanned a Williams Sonoma ad, my eyes fell on a familiar, but nearly forgotten item Ėan abelskivver. Mounded on a festive plate beside it were scrumptious-looking apple-filled pancakes, just like the ones our friends had intended for us to enjoy.
A feeling of shame and regret washed over me as I realized that I had squandered a wonderful wedding gift, simply due to my reluctance to invest the time and energy required to use it.
Sadly, I have harbored much the same attitude toward spiritual gifts as I have harored toward wedding gifts. Some spiritual gifts are easy to employ, offer little risk, and require only small investments of time. Those are the gifts I felt comfortable using for many years, all the while neglecting gifts that required more time and energy to develop and use for ministry.
Iím certain other members of Christís body must take the same approach. Perhaps that is why Paul, in the twelfth chapter of first Corinthians, refers to some gifts as ďthe greater giftsĒ and encourages believers to eagerly desire them.
Thankfully, I realized my folly before it was too late to re-discover my squandered spiritual gifts, and I have begun to seek ways to develop and use them. Still, I am filled with regret when I consider how much greater my gifts might be if I had begun to exercise them early in my walk with Christ. I can only pray for extra grace and courage to use them at this time of my life instead.
As for the abelskivver, Iím not sure. I could purchase one from Williams Sonoma and practice until Iím capable of producing a mouth-watering platter full of Danish delicacies, or I could simply snip the picture from the catalog and stick it on my refrigerator to serve as a daily reminder not to squander the gifts God gave me. Now that would certainly give our Danish friends something to scratch their heads about. Come to think of it, it would also make me very hungry.
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