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By September 7, 2023Devotional

I’m sitting here looking out on our upper deck and the birch trees are already starting to drop their leaves. I have a habit of blowing the debris off the deck every several days but I am reminded that this time of year it becomes a much bigger challenge than in the dog days of summer. You can still smell the barbecue grills and, as they say in the smoking world, it is that time of year that we really start to “roll smoke.”

That means that those of us who enjoy the idea of hospitality really get things cleaned up for the cooking season ahead. I guess the motivation for some people is the fall hunting season but that’s not my thing. Even fishing, I am strictly a catch and release kind of guy…

But as the temps turn cooler at night, and as we enter what used to called Injun Summer, I am taken back to my childhood with raking leaves, burning them with my grandpa in the burn pile near the garage and even roasting marshmallows. Everything seemed to revolve around the idea of fire and smoke. And, Oh! how I love that smell in the air.

Around here, where we live in Carmel, we also have more activities. We have more roundabouts than any city in the world and there is a bike ride this weekend, up to 50 miles in length, to go through as many roundabouts as possible. We also have Artmobilia, an outdoor event where more than 500 classic and high performance vehicles will be on display in downtown Carmel this weekend as well. All the organizers are quick to let us know that music, fellowship and FOOD will be plentiful for everyone! We live in a great community, for sure.

All this brings to mind how much I have ramped up my game as well as we enter fall. During the past several weeks, I have made summer sausage, brats, kielbasas, beef jerky and then, baby back ribs on my smoker. The funny thing is that as I have worked toward perfecting my chosen hobby, my family has been quicker to make menu requests for family celebrations. At times it gets comical. That’s when I wonder whether people are coming over to spend time with us or to pick up a care package!

In fairness, all three of our children, and four grandsons, live within ten minutes of us, so it really isn’t a hardship to get over here. We are blessed that way. I even had to chuckle at a comment by a fellow smoker – he said the better he got, the more requests he had from his extended family to eat his meals! I know what he is talking about!

So, this past weekend, I cooked more than 30 pounds of prime baby back ribs… That was Monday… Labor Day… and they were all gone by Tuesday evening. That’s 24 hours to devour 30# of ribs. It was a regular Ribfest. To be sure I love it – but I agree with my fellow smoker – the more you get known, the more requests come in… By the way, the kids have already let me know that they are ready for another batch of pulled pork. The last time I cooked more than 77# of pork and ended up with more than 42# of finished pulled pork. That food lasted 48 hours…

I had two brothers, so there were three of us, like our daughter, Kristin, has. But I must have forgotten how much we ate because I can’t believe it is anything like our kids and grandsons eat. And our two son-in-laws are no slackers, either.  They can put it away with the best of them!

What I am trying to say is that hospitality and sharing with others pleases God – if it is done with a spirit of generosity, without an ulterior motive. In my case, it is cooking, barbecuing and smoking all kinds of goodies. God wants our motives to be pure and full of joy! We live in a community where those values are practiced and even more so within the family we have. And to be sure, our kids have been raised on family celebrations and great FOOD!

Our verse for tonight highlights the author of Hebrews and one of his commands to us. We are told, in Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God…” My encouragement this evening is that God loves a cheerful giver. My prayer is that we will all practice the gift of giving and experience the divine joy that accompanies acts of selflessness, in whatever form they take. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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