I’m writing tonight’s post while the smell of teriyaki jerky wafts through the backyard from our smoker. The truth be told, our dog Hank loves beef jerky and every two weeks or so I make about 4-5 pounds of beef jerky for Hank, our family, the neighbors, our vet, the GM at the local grocery store, friends of the family and even Brian, our guy from Scat Pest control when he comes to do the quarterly treatment on our home.
To be sure, Mike and Mary, our neighbors, qualify as family so they are on the official “test” committee when I make new recipes. Aside from beef jerky, I have made brisket (the king of all smokes), pulled pork, pork chops, pepperoni sticks, summer sausage, bratwurst, baby back ribs, smoked meatloaf, steaks, spatchcock chicken (not our favorite), split pea and ham soup, white chicken chili and pizza! Now this list is not all inclusive, as I have omitted the standard stuff such as hot dogs and hamburgers, but I hope that it gives you an idea of the depth of my hobby and how much I enjoy preparing all these various main courses.
To be sure, I’m not real strong in all the support foods, but I love the main courses. And one time, we smoked 77 pounds of pork shoulders that yielded more than 42 pounds of finished pulled pork. The entire family loved it as well as the many others who got to sample the finished product.
During the last five years or so, I have become increasingly immersed in the art of smoking. We are fortunate enough to have a second kitchen in the lower level of our home, one that I have taken over as a prep kitchen for my hobby. And I continue to add various pieces of equipment that help me use the right tool for the right job – making things move along a little faster when I have much to do…
I mention this because there is one thing I don’t really do – I don’t eat much of my own cooking, well, except the pizza… The truth of the matter is that I love the learning that goes with becoming more proficient but my real enjoyment is seeing the joy that other people have when I can provide them with some of their favorite foods.
I know I am not alone in this. I know a number of cooks, and chefs, who cook for others. And like most of them, I have the spiritual gift of hospitality. That gift, endowed by God, is one of about 17 spiritual gifts that God’s children have. We don’t all have the same gifts, and that’s what makes the body of Christ complete. Together, we are the body of Christ.
Our verse tonight is from the apostle Peter. He wrote his book when Christians were under siege, primarily by Nero, and Peter’s encouragement for believers was to live life together, realizing that people have different God given gifts. He tells us, in 1 Peter 4:8-10, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
My is encouragement this evening is that we all have something to offer each other. My particular gifts of leadership, teaching and hospitality are the ways that I serve the kingdom. My prayer is that whatever gift you have, do it to the best of your ability to serve your brothers and sisters in Christ. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…