Good Ingredients and Favorite Recipes
Can we talk about food today?
What is one of your favorite recipes?
Maybe it’s a dinner recipe you make that folks go nuts
over. Maybe it’s a dessert recipe
someone makes for you that you go
nuts over. No matter, do you have one in
Now imagine that your favorite recipe is sitting on the table in front of me. What would you tell me to get me to take a bite of it? What would you say that could convince me this recipe is as good as what you say it is?
If the table was turned and it was my favorite recipe in front of you, I’d simply say taste it and see that it's as good as what I say it is. (I suppose, if you don’t eat it, that’s all the more for me!)
We’ll come back to food shortly. Now though, there's a Bible verse in Psalm 34:8 that says:
“Taste and see that the Lord is good,
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Maybe you’ve heard that verse before. Well, that’s the verse Peter has in mind coming into chapter 2 of his first letter to the Church. There Peter says, in verse 3 – and he’s continuing a thought we’ll look at in a moment – he says, “…now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Peter has in mind the finest possible recipe; all the remarkably good events and experiences that are true of the Christian, which he just expounded on in the last chapter…
how God chose us
how God has given us hope and an inheritance
how God is refining our faith through seasons of trial
how God has redeemed us from sin through Jesus Christ
…and we get all that on some level; we've tasted and we've seen that the Lord is good. But press further in, because Peter is going to press further in.
How did you come to taste and see that the Lord is good? Further still, how do you imagine others are going to taste and see that the Lord is good? You know what Peter is going to suggest from here on out? He’s going to suggest it’s through you and me.
Others will get
the strong sense
that the Lord is good
through the words we say
and the life we live.
Back to that favorite recipe of yours…
Imagine for a minute that someone comes along and dumps curry powder into it without anyone noticing. Or maybe it's a brownie recipe and someone sneaks up and dumps curdled chunky milk into the mix. Or maybe it's a hamburger mixture that you love to grill in the summertime and someone mixes in a loaf of meat substitute with it.
Now think with me, that recipe is ready; it's here on the table in front of me looking a bit different, but you've convinced me that it's good enough to eat and so I take a big bite and…
No thank you!
That tastes horrible!
My face crumples up, lips pursed in pain. Every taste bud in my mouth is screaming at me in horror. I’m scrambling to pour water into my mouth to quell the queasy heave that’s building in my throat. Whatever it was you put in front of me tastes like there are some ingredients that you need to get rid of in that recipe.
Back to Peter. He’s a savvy fellow. He knows the Christian life all too well. He was among the first to get tangled up with tainted ingredients and divide his loyalties. So he can speak into our lives on this one.
Peter says to the reader – again because of all of the remarkable goodness of God shown to us, that we've tasted and seen to be good – he says, probably in a gentler tone than we may imagine, in 1 Peter 2:1:
Therefore get rid of some ingredients in your lives that don't belong there anymore; that are tainting your testimony and weakening your faith. (paraphrased)
Specifically he says get rid of these things; and you tell me if you’ve noticed some of these in our society today:
And the list could go on, but Peter stops there.
Instead, he says, “crave pure spiritual milk,” crave the good ingredients anyone might hope to find in a favorite recipe. Not the curdled chunky stuff that spoils the goodness of God that's at work in us through the Spirit of Christ Jesus.
Listen friend, you and I, we may have tasted and found that the Lord is good, but if we’re honest with one another, we need to get rid of some things that lead to a poor testimony or weak faith. We need to represent God well in these seasons of our lives.
What if we could be, like what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 5, he says be salt and light? Just imagine that…
how will others taste and see
that the Lord is good
if we are not salt and light?