Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Rich (04/26/12)
TITLE: Something We All Can Agree On
By Hiram Claudio
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It really is amazing how universally adored this confection is. It’s loved by people across political, national, and income classifications. One could actually say that chocolate is one of the greatest unifying forces of our time. Just seems that so many people absolutely love … chocolate.
Ever wonder how they get chocolate into the creamy, rich consistency that makes its followers drool in trance like fashion? Well, beyond the harvesting and mixing of cocoa beans with various other ingredients, a vital step to making chocolate so visually appealing is a process called conching.
Prior to this step, chocolate is mass of gritty and uneven lumps. Conching machines are a series of marble rollers that move continually through the chocolate refining it by … agitating it. The more agitation that the conche can create, the finer the quality will be. Basically, the path to smooth, rich chocolate is to shake it up and work it over. And in addition to making the texture creamy and rich, this process also makes the final product evenly sweet throughout.
I’d like you to consider yourself an extremely high quality piece of chocolate. All the best ingredients are used to make you the richest, sweetest, most appealing you can be. But simply mixing them all together won’t do. Once properly added and combined, you will need to be … worked over a bit.
No one likes stressful or agitating situations. And the truth is, many of the ones we experience in life are present because of our own poor choices or those of others. Yet, it does nothing to alleviate those times to moan and whine about them. I’ve learned that greater than having those times abruptly removed is the blessing that God uses these times for His glory. And He has promised no matter how difficult they may be that … “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV).
Most times we hear this scripture, its mentioned to inspire us to climb mountains and claim victory in our lives. I don’t dispute that application. However, taken in context, I believe Paul is trying to communicate something deeper. Right before this verse, he mentions that he knows what it’s like to be in need, to be hungry, and to suffer (verse 10-12).
It’s in this light that he then declares … “but you know what, I can do all things through Christ because He gives me strength.” Meaning not only can I “do” all things through Christ but I can also “put up with” or “endure” all things too. Paul knew that although these experiences were unpleasant and undesirable, that in Christ, they can have purpose; that God can use them to refine and deepen us.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not advocate remaining in unhealthy situations. Those need to be corrected. But so often, a by-product of these times is bitterness taking root within us. Learning to trust and embrace our Lord through our times of frustration and agitation, through our conching times, truly yields a richness and sweetness of character that brings a blessing to our lives and to those around us.
So, the next time you see a bowl of creamy, silky smooth, rich chocolate, think about what the chocolate has been through. Similarly, the next time you see a Christian you look up to, one that is genuinely sweet and single-mindedly devoted to the Lord, don’t assume they’re that way because they’ve been spared life’s deeper trials. For them also, think about what they may have been through to produce that sweetness and deep richness you so admire.
Sources used (for how chocolate is made):
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