November 16, 2015
Spicing Up the Stew of Stewardship

“What are you doing?”

“What does it look like,” I said, “I’m adding some salt to this stew.

“Salt?  Why salt?” she asked while wiping her wet hands on the dead turkey Thanksgiving hand towels I gave her for Christmas last year.

“Well, to season it.  That’s what you do, right?  ‘Salt and pepper to taste’ is what they say in the recipes, isn’t it?

She leaned over and grabbed the salt shaker from my hand.  “There’s more to seasoning than salt and pepper.  A lot more.”

“Oh great, I feel another cooking show being born.  We can call it, ‘The Seasoning Show: from the spices of the world to the ones in your cabinet.’  Come’ on,” I pleaded, “what’s wrong with salt and pepper?”

“Not much except they’re over used and when they are they make all the food taste the same.”  She placed the salt shaker back on the counter and opened the door to the spice cabinet.  “Not only do we have all these aromatic dried spices; oh and lets add some oregano to the stew, just a pinch of dill and a bit of basil.   Stir that in and let it simmer for a few minutes, then taste it and see what you think.”

I did so, and couldn’t help but be impressed.  “Wow!  You hardly added any of those spices and what a difference.  I’d have added way more…”

“Like you do the salt, and the pepper.”

“OK, OK.  I plead guilty.  But I do like my food, and especially stew, to have some kick to it.”

“You want some kick?”  and she reached up to the second shelf of the spice cabinet.  “Here’s what you use if you want kick.”

“There’s no label,” I rolled the jar over in my hand. “What’s in it?”

“I took a bunch of the peppers we grew last year in the garden and put them in the dehydrator.  Jalapenos, Thai peppers, hot banana peppers and quite a few habeneros.   I dried them, ground ‘um up and filled about 20 of these jars.   That’ll last our family through our great grand children.  Can’t use very much.”

“Oh, I remember now, because Marie ground up her coffee beans in that same grinder and the first sip ‘bout set her hair on fire.”

“Truly a Kodak moment, as I recall.  Put a tad of this in there and let’s see if it doesn’t ‘kick it up a notch.’”

“Oh, I get to do the “BAM” thing, like Emmeril!”

“Don’t get too carried away,” one BAM is probably enough.  I know it’s enough for me,” she said.  “If you still want it hotter, there’s some Ghost pepper hot sauce in the other cabinet that’ll make you wish you had a bucket of ice water to stick you head in.”

“One BAM’s good, and you’ve got to come taste this.  This stew is fabulous.”

We’re putting the “stew” in Stewardship this year and why put just any old stew in it?  Some stews can be pretty bland and boring.  You get fed, but that’s about all.  That’s not what we want for our Stewardship.  No way.  We want to enjoy the stew, take such great pleasure in sipping and slurping and smelling the aroma that we can’t wait to get a second bowl.   We want more than just your basic old stew, we want some spiced up, kicked up, mouth-watering, tasty stew for our Stewardship.

And it’s the Spirit that spices up the stew in Stewardship.  The Spirit of love spices up our caring with the Stephen Ministry, and small groups, and visitation teams and not just a few “holy hot-dishes” taken to the healing and grieving.   The Spirit of compassion seasons missions with Habitat work, community building with Family Tree, mission trips to Chimbote’, W. VA, youth missions, Friendship Trays, SACOH ladies, there’s no end.   Small groups become the spice of life with the Spirit of fellowship.   And the Spirit of generosity “kicks up” giving with a real joy to be a part of this stewardship of the family of God.

Spice up the stew this year with the Spirit of Christ.  As they say when they charge  a new minister at ordination:  “Whatever you do, in word or deed,” in church or out, with others or alone, at work or play, in good times or bad, whatever or whatnot, “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him,” and season it with love.  Remember, “It’s a food of love thing.”

Please consider spicing up the stew of Providence’s Stewardship with your 2015 pledge.   Let’s season our ministry and mission with enough love and support and involvement to serve up a “to-die-for” stew.   After all, our Head Chef has led the way by cooking up a “to-die-for” world, seasoned it with love, and wouldn’t mind kicking it up another notch with the hot sauce of our lives.