Carrot, Egg, Coffee Bean (Missions) (Dealing With Difficulties)
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15
The Basic Bible Truth
God’s Word is not just a book of suggestions for how to live a good life. It is much more than that. These are the very Words of God, written down for us to read and reference and study. God says that His Word will not go out from Him and return to Him void. When we read and study the Bible, the inescapable results are changes in our thoughts, our lives, and our actions. The key to this all, is how much effort we are willing to put forth to know God’s Book.
A Large Cooking Pot Hot Water And Dry Ice Are A Nice Touch A Well Cooked Carrot A Hard Boiled Egg Some Coffee Chef’s Hat and Smock
When I have done this object lesson, I like to portray myself as a chef and invite those listening to learn something from my cooking expertise. The large pot is half filled with hot water, and dry ice is dumped in just before the talk starts. God’s Word will have an effect on you. Notice how these three items are affected by hot water.
Life is hard. We live in a fallen world that struggles with sin and the effects of that issue carry into every aspect of life. How we handle the difficulties can make a huge difference in our lives and affect our testimony in the world. Hardships are common, and for the Christian, ultimately for our good. We need to look at the hard times through the lens of someone who understands that there is most definitely a lesson to be learned. May we be astute students of that kind of education.
Generally, most people can be lumped into one of three categories. The first kind of personality is the one who goes into the hot water of life, and comes out boiled and softened by the experience, quite like the carrot. They lose what they once had and blame God for all of their troubles. Bitterness may even set in as they give up either partially or even completely. Why even try anymore? It is the proverbial “glass half empty” people we are talking about here. Maybe they remember how it once was when the glass was full and now it is no longer filled to the same level. But life does not necessarily have to be about how much is in the glass. Rather, it should be about what is in the glass in the first place and what can we do with what we have?
Limp carrot people can be easily manipulated by the world, and generally, the result is not a good one. They have little or no resistance to applied pressure. God tells us to stand firm. We can exhibit a trust and confidence as Christians that the world does not have. God is stronger than anything that may come our way.
In the second category are those who respond to God’s prodding with disdain. They resent the intrusion into their ordered world, and allow the heat to harden their heart. Like the egg, their shell is protecting their innermost being, but even it has hardened and becomes solid. These are a most miserable lot. Through the first five books of the Bible, God referred to the people of Israel as stiff-necked. They were unyielding to His leading and failed Him miserably time after time. There is a subtle hint in that term that references their lack of humility. They were unwilling to bow their heads in the presence of an Almighty God and His will. Humility is a big issue with God.
Humility is “power under control”. Many of the heroes in the Bible were strong willed and had vibrant personalities. God does not want us to squelch our character and become a uniformed marching band. He relishes the diversity of personality and simply wishes to point us in a direction and allow our true self to shine through. Years ago we had a Missouri Fox-Trotter horse that was bred and trained as a show horse by his original owners, come into our lives. He had personality far beyond the average animal. When out in the pasture, he was calm and collected. But when he was brought up into the corral, he knew something was about to take place. The minute our daughter got up in that saddle, his head would fly up, his nostrils would flair, his tail would arch, and the once cool and calm animal would be transformed into a 1400 pound shot of adrenaline! He was trained to show, and he was ready to demonstrate his stuff. And yet our daughter could control him completely with simple body cues or touches. It was a sight to see. Power under control—true humility. Egg people do not have a humble heart.
But there is a third group here. They, like the coffee bean, know that they will be something special when the Master Chef is finished with them. Not only will they be facing some hot water, but, they understand that they must also be crushed and ground before they can be used readily. They face the future with the confidence of knowing that the final result is well worth the price. The crushed, ground coffee bean, when placed into the hot water of life, has a purpose in its tough times. That which is inside the bean, flavors the world around it. What a great picture of how our Christian lives should affect the world we live in.
Our presence in this world is for a reason. We do not simply take up time and space. We have a direct command from God to affect the lives around us with His love. As we go through difficult, “hot water”, times, others may be watching and gauging how they see God by our actions. Other times it may be the simple fact that we can share with them, having gone through the experience ourselves previously. I remember some friends of ours who lost their high school son to a cliff climbing accident 30 years ago. It was devastating for them, and they mourned deeply in their loss. I recall a conversation with them years later as they related how they were able to come alongside a couple in the community who had just recently lot their child on the same cliff in an accident. Their experience made all the difference in the world to the younger couple who was struggling with understanding a “hot water” moment in their life.