Friday, May 24, 2013

Grace and Broccoli




We had a wonderful dinner with our old church friends and dear missionary family briefly home from Costa Rica. (PS- if you want to support a family doing some awesome work in Latin America, contact me offline and I will get you in touch with them). Anyway, everyone brought a side dish to contribute to the feast. As I am sure I have mentioned several times, I am not known for my culinary feats, but I made a broccoli recipe that I had tasted elsewhere and loved. I substituted very little, unlike my typical way with recipes- just a vidalia instead of red onion, and cranberries instead of raisins. Well, and yes, I did misread how much sugar was called for and doubled it, but I fixed that by doubling the vinegar as well. (Surely that would counter the overabundant sweetness, right?)

Anyway, I brought my dish and laid it proudly on the counter with all the other luscious foods and noticed a broccoli dish that looked identical to mine. Drat! I thought I was reaching into a rare bag of tricks, and a bag that in my case is NOT very deep.

When the dinner was over, and it was time to leave, I went to collect my casserole dish. There was some of my broccoli still left, definitely my dish, but there were cashews mixed in to my melange. Cashews? I had not added cashews. I picked up the dish perplexedly, wondering if a.) had the other broccoli maker grabbed my dish by accident? or b.) did I have a stroke while making the dish and added cashews without knowing it? It had to be one or the other.

As I started to walk off with my dish, a friend spoke up, "Oh! You made that! It was delicious. I made the other broccoli dish but I liked yours better. Especially the cashews."
I looked at her carefully. I don't think anyone was purposely trying to flummox me, "Well that's strange. I didn't add cashews."
She looked at my dish, "Well, that's not my plate, and I didn't add cashews either. I added sunflower seeds."
We both peered at the dish. Nope, definitely not sunflower seeds, definitely cashews.

So I went home with a more delicious item than I had arrived with. And I wondered how the cashews had made their way into my dish. Perhaps it was an angel that felt the overpowering sugar/vinegar mix needed a salty counterpoint. I don't see what else it could be. NO ONE adds to someone's potluck dish without asking, nor does anyone ever ask to do such a thing. I wouldn't mind personally if they did, knowing my lack of skill in this endeavor, but I think most people would be insulted.

However, it seems that God does work this way in my life quite often. I do my best, but most of the time, it is not as good as it should be. I usually fall far short of where He wants me to be. I usually try to fix the areas where I have messed up, but the end result is never what I had envisioned it was going to be. And then, God sprinkles His miracles. Somehow, everything usually works out, though often not as I intended. God's grace covers me, and it seems, my broccoli as well.
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I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NASB)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; (Ephesians 2:8 NASB)

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