My friend Becky is very much aware of this; her precious mother is in that stage of hospice care where pain medications gradually increase and her mother’s presence gradually decreases. The reality of what is soon to be lost looms large on the horizon.
In the face of this coming loss, Becky started a Face Book page where she is uploading favorite family recipes. When Becky visits with her mom, she asks what she would be cooking this time of year, and then Becky posts her replies.
Becky posted a recipe for spoon corn bread just before Thanksgiving; and this spring she posted one for a traditional Easter ham. The recipes are photos of her mom’s personal recipe cards with hand-written notes. Scrolling through the page, I see other family members are uploading pictures of celebrations along with their favorite recipes.
What is the point of sharing these recipes? There is a ton of cookbooks in the bookstores each with hundreds of recipes. What makes these so special? These are family treasures because each one has a memory attached to it. It is amazing how much food is a part of our memories and our celebrations.
While food plays a significant role in our lives, we must eat it for it to do any of us any good. If we don’t actually prepare the recipe and eat the food, if we don’t put the recipe to use, it is no more than words on paper. It will not sustain us.
The same is true of the Bible; we actually need to read it, study it, and apply it to our lives in order for it to do us any good; otherwise, it is just a collection of words on paper. Nevertheless, somehow we know it is more than that and will always be more than simply words.
What makes the Bible different from a collection of recipes? The author. God chose these particular words, these voices and stories, these people and circumstances, these heartaches, failures, and successes and recorded them in order to reveal himself to us. This is God’s story, told in God’s words, in God’s way, so that we might know God.
He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the Lord God Almighty is his name. – Acts 4:13 NIV
Becky’s recipes will help future generations to remember her mother as they reminisce over recipes. However, there is the very real possibility that in another couple of generations, no one will remember Becky’s mother and another generation will pass down their own recipes.
God’s Word is different because it is the living, breathing word of God. It is alive. It interacts with our souls. It challenges our thinking. It transforms us. And, it breathes life into people who are willing to receive God’s Word as truth.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 NIV
God’s word is unchanging because God does not change, yet, it is relevant to every generation, culture, and time.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV
God’s word instructs us in how we are supposed to live. It is a lamp for [our] feet and a light for ]our] path (Psalm 119:105). We are called to know it, study it, learn it so that we can live by it.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV
Becky would never equate or compare her recipes with the Word of God, and neither should we; however, just as her heart’s desire is to provide instruction to the next generation in the things her family has loved and treasured, so too, God desires to instruct his children.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in this ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.—Psalm 25:8-9 NIV
Are you as diligent in passing along the Word of God to your children and grandchildren as you are in passing along family recipes? Will you seek to instruct the next generation in God’s Word. Will you teach them how to use the Bible? Will you show them how to apply it? Will you help them ingest it so that it sustains them throughout their lifetime? Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! – Psalm 34:8
Becky knows that one day soon, her sweet mother will be worshiping at the feet of Jesus. Becky also knows that the Word of God will sustain her as she walks through that difficult valley.
(on a personal note) My mother inscribed this in the cookbook that includes many of my family’s recipes…
And, the recipe for the gingerbread she mentioned. (It is quite delicious!)
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