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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In The Kitchen - deadline 7-19-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/12/12)

TITLE: Men in the Kitchen
By Edmond Ng


    When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom. (Genesis 25:29-30 NAS)
“Before I became a food writer for The New York Times, the kitchen was where I found confidence—and took care of my family,” wrote Mark Bittman in an excerpt published at Salon.com on how cooking gave him purpose. “Parenthood and the necessities of daily life taught me, as they have billions of others, to cook. And while I was learning to cook, I learned to work.”

“I was self-taught (that is, book-learned) in cooking—as I was in many other things—but I picked it up pretty quickly once I began; it isn’t, after all, very difficult,” Bittman continued. “I lived in an apartment with a kitchen my sophomore year. My roommate worked weekends as a short-order cook. We took the rack out of the oven, put it over the range, and invented gas grilling. This nearly destroyed the stove, of course, but it was a rental and we were spoiled, inconsiderate eighteen-year-olds.”

“It took a few more years until I realized that there was something about cooking that appealed to me,” Bittman wrote. “I didn’t know what it was then, but I do know now: along with child rearing, it gave me a sense of competence that I’d never had before. I had been a terrible student, and in fact I didn’t appear to be good at much of anything. I had been a cab driver, a trucker, an electrician’s gofer, a substitute teacher, and a traveling salesman. I was now married, with a newborn child. My lifelong sense that I would ‘become’ a writer wasn’t working out. So I became a cook.”

Like Bittman who discovered his purpose in cooking, the Bible mentioned a man who must have been quite good at what he was doing in the kitchen to have his brother willingly give up his birthright for a meal (Genesis 25:29-34). Now, who was to blame for Esau’s loss of birthright—the cook or the consumer? Esau was known to be an immoral and godless person who sold his own birthright for a single meal (Hebrews 12:16). For him, filling his stomach and satisfying his appetite were all there were to it, but for his brother Jacob, it was the first step to fulfilling the will of God (Genesis 25:23).

Just as Bittman and Jacob knew their purpose in the kitchen, we ought also to know our purpose in the will of the Lord. Upon discovering our talent—the gift God has given us—we should therefore work towards fulfilling our destiny according to His master plan for our lives. Instead of rebelling against God’s will and aimlessly pursue after earthly goals that do not last, we should allow the will of God to appeal to us, even if we are unsure or unclear at this time. Rather than do so many things or be someone we are not, let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all that we need will be added to us (Matthew 6:32-33).

Dear Lord, thank You for giving us talents that appeal and give meaning to our lives. We know Lord our talents are gifts from You, and we want to use these gifts for the glory of Your name. Help us Lord to discover in Your timing the purpose You have destined for us that we may not aimlessly pursue after things that do not last. In your will O Lord we will walk according to Your master plan for our lives. We will seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, because You Lord know our needs and will add to us all these things that are necessary to us.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 07/19/12
What a beautiful story/devotional. Great message and wonderful prayer at the conclusion. Nicely done. Thank you.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/19/12
This is a lovely devotion. It is encouraging as sometimes I feel like God didn't give me any special gift but just when I'm feeling totally useless he sends a gentle reminder. Your devotion reminded me of my worth in God's eyes.
Genia Gilbert07/22/12
This is a very original approach to the topic, or maybe seems so because the MCs are men. However, we know they make the greatest chefs in the world. I loved the part about taking care of the family, then the connection with knowing God's plan and your purpose in it. Good job.
Hiram Claudio07/23/12
Interesting piece. I enjoyed the connection with Bittman and cooking and then tying that to Jacob and Esau. You make a thought provoking argument for why Esau sold his birthright. Well written. Nicely done.
Leola Ogle 07/23/12
Wow! I really love this. It spoke volumes to me. Good job! God bless!