One dimension of my life that might surprise those who are reading this is my love of cooking. I think this comes from my mom. In addition to being an excellent cook, she was willing to let me come into the kitchen and “help her cook”. I know now that my efforts were hardly helpful but she patiently guided and corrected me as I did what she asked me to do. She always made a big deal about my contributions and in the end, I really loved the whole experience and I still do to this day!
One of the great skills that my mom honed over the years was one that many don’t think about when preparing food. In addition to preparing meals for herself and 2 sons, my mom also was preparing for my dad. Dad was a very particular eater. He really wasn’t all that particular about “what” she had prepared but he was always very particular about “how” it was prepared. One of the areas where this often showed up was that my dad insisted that if the food was supposed to be hot, it needed to be hot. If the food was supposed to be cold, it needed to be cold. My mom became not only excellent on how the food tasted. She became skilled at bringing a meal all together so that when we sat down to eat it, the hot items were steaming hot and the cold items were indeed cold.
This dimension of cooking, making everything come together at the same time is something that has really impressed Camille about the way I like to cook. As I have heard her comment about my love of cooking, this “timing” aspect is one that she also often mentions. It takes extra planning and attention to bring a meal together like this. I guess in that respect I have become my dad. I like my hot foods hot and the cold ones cold. As I eat in restaurants it is one of the things I notice and appreciate when it is done well. With me, and yes, I know I am a bit weird at times, this dimension of food temperature is important.
Now that I have perhaps made you a bit hungry you may be wondering what all this talk about food temperature has to do with Jesus or His Kingdom! That’s a fair question. This obsession with temperature is one that Jesus actually addressed in a rather graphic way in the book of Revelation. When describing the condition of one of 7 Churches He addresses in Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus refers to one as being “lukewarm”, neither hot nor cold. The Church in question was in Laodicea. You can read Jesus’ message to this Church in Revelation 3:14-22. He describes their works or the way they were living for the Kingdom as lukewarm. He also says that because they are neither hot nor cold, He is going to “vomit you out of My mouth”. Sorry for the graphic language but you get the point.
Living for Jesus should be distinctive. We learn from this message to the Church that they were guilty of something that was making Jesus nauseous but they simply weren’t seeing it that way. The Church folks boasted of being rich, accomplished and complete. Jesus counters by telling them they really are miserable, poor, blind and naked! That’s quite a different assessment! The problem these deceived Christ-followers were experiencing was an over-dependence of the things of this earthly world. What they were lacking in their service of King Jesus was the “treasure of heaven”. Jesus demands that they repent or turn away from their faulty thinking and instead buy from Him gold that is refined or purified. They needed clothes of righteousness to cover what was making them shameful in His eyes. They needed ointment for their eyes to enable them to see correctly, like He sees.
I think one of the biggest temptations we face in the American Church today is the temptation to give to God just anything. We often don’t ask ourselves the hard questions:
Am I giving God the very best that I can?
Have I grown too attached to the things of this world?
Is my life really being lived intentionally in humble service to Him?
Is my Marriage, my Family and even my Work a place where I am Shining for Jesus?
Perhaps we need to repent. Maybe we need to evaluate not only the “what” we offer to God in response to His amazing grace but also “how” we are offering it. My day and Jesus are right! Hot things are really much better hot!