Week of October 26, 2014 – Stewardship
“What? No okra?” I asked. My wife had just read me the recipe for Mallard Creek’s Brunswick Stew and I couldn’t believe it didn’t have okra. Nor lima beans. “A good Brunswick Stew has to have okra and limas,” I declared.
“Says who?” she asked.
“Says me, that’s who. And also my recipe from Brunswick, GA, where Brunswick Stew got it’s name.” I was itching for a fight on this one, I knew I was right.
“There’s a Brunswick County, NC too,” Annie reminded me. “Bet they have a recipe; and I bet they’ve staked a claim declaring themselves as the first and original Brunswick Stew.”
“And there’s a Brunswick, Maine too, but the only stew they know about is clam chowder.”
“Which technically isn’t a stew, but a chowder,” she said.
“Well what makes a stew a stew?” I asked. “What keeps a stew from being a chowder, or a soup, or, or, just a big mess in a bowl?”
“Why don’t you Google it?” she said.
“I’m old fashioned, I said, “ I’m looking it up in the dictionary,” and I pulled out my i-phone and googled, ‘Dictionary.’ “Stew, it says, at least the noun, is a ‘dish cooked by stewing.’”
“That’s a big help.”
“It goes on, ‘especially a mixture of meat or fish and vegetables and stock.’
“Oh, that’s helpful.”
“It goes on, ‘to suffer from problems of one’s own making’”
“Now it’s describing you,” she said with a bit too much glee.
“Originally it meant ‘to bathe in hot water.’
“Just what you’re getting yourself into. Say, what difference does it make anyway?” she asked.
“I don’t know, but I do know I’ve got the original recipe from Brunswick, GA and it calls for limas and okra.”
“So we are arguing over ingredients?” she asked. “Go back to the definition you read to me. Meat or fish and vegetables in stock. That’s it. Now have some fun with it. Doesn’t specify which vegetables, exactly what meat in what proportion. And that there are different recipes for the same named stew means that different people had fun with it adding things they liked to see how it would taste. Lighten up and make some for us.”
“Well, let me see if we’ve got any okra. And limas. And corn, got to have corn…”
Now we can argue about the “Stew” in Stewardship, and never get around to making any. But what makes a good stew? Ingredients, and preparation, then cooking, seasoning, and finally serving it up. Those same ingredients are what make the ‘stew’ in stewardship, and over the next several weeks we’ll be playing around in the kitchen of love to chef up a tasty, hearty, savory Stewardship Stew.
I grabbed my i-phone to make my grocery list. It was still showing the dictionary page for ‘stew.’ “Hey Annie,” I yelled, “guess what comes next after ‘stew’ in the dictionary?”
“I haven’t a clue.”
Stewardship Stew Ingredients:
All PPC – for a lot of stew you’ll need a lot of hearty stock
more than a pinch of time
several quarts of energy, don’t skimp here.
Prayer sauce, it’s like fish sauce in Asian cooking. It brings out the flavor of everything.
season to taste with talents (use your favorites)
…and if you’re going to go to this much trouble, don’t skimp on presentation.
The finest ingredients deserve the classiest service money can buy.
These are just the basic ingredients. Like any stew, you’ll need doctor it up in your own special way. Personalize your Stewardship Stew. You can add:
the bouillon of Bible study
diced up devotions (“Kick ‘um up a notch,” says Emeril)
sumptuous small group involvement
cooking and caring for neighbors in need,
doing the ‘drive in’ thing with Friendship Trays
hot sauce of a Habitat project
a meaty mission week in Chimbote’, Peru
fellowship flavoring (no artificial flavoring, please)
a glaze of giving to the Deacon’s fund
You get the idea… All we have belongs to God. That means anything at all, and all of each and all of us, are available ingredients for the Stewardship Stew. So, check out the pantry of your soul, look into the fridge of your heart, pull out your wallet and go to the store, see what you want to put into the Stewardship Stew this year.
I can smell it already and we’re just talking ingredients!