Life Lessons from Christian Chefs?
"When you work, you work hard!
When you PRAY, God works."
- Hudson Taylor
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." -James 15:16
Boy, I know about "WORK," as I am sure you do too. I have always been a 110% person. What do you think Hudson Taylor was talking about? I know my Lord has directed, and continues to direct, my life and career as a cook and as a servant of Christ. But, I must confess, an awful lot of my work was done by "self" at work. I knew my Lord was my strength and source of wisdom BUT I often was so BUSY I left Him on the back burner, so to speak. How easy it is to skip that one quiet time and most of all the precious time of prayer. How PRIDEFUL it is for us to think WE can move in our own power. Only the Lord can give us the wisdom and strength to carry on.
I have a prison story to share to illustrate my point. I retired from being a Prison Chef a few years back. I used to work with up to 70 inmate workers and maybe, if I was lucky, a fellow paid cook. We had no guards in the kitchen with us. Needless to say, this was a very stressful job at times. Consider what it would be like in this kind of setting if shipments didn't arrive on time, workers rioted, food did not get out on time, or equipment malfunctioned. So many factors can affect the stress level in the kitchen. It was MY job to keep things running smoothly.
One day, it seemed everything that could go wrong did. Then to make things worse, my boss was having a real difficult day himself dealing with all the challenges. He got on my case. Well, I just could not take anymore pressure so I slipped into the walk-in and started to cry out of pure exhaustion and frustration. I have been a Christian for many years, but I had been too busy to spend time with my Lord that day. Low and behold, the Lord sent my fellow cook in to me. My dear friend, Cory, was also a Christian. He whipped out his trusty New Testament with Psalms and began to read to me. He gave me a gift of scripture which was just what I needed to hear. As Cory read, he would stop after each verse and say a sentence prayer about the content. This incident changed my life. Let me share that precious gift of scripture with you.
"1 I love you, Lord; you are my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the strength of my
salvation, and my stronghold.
3 I will call on the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
for he saves me from my enemies."
-Psalm 18 (New Living Translation)
Since that day, I carried a pretty little polished stone in my uniform pocket to remind me of Christ, my rock. When I would be dealing with the various situations at work, I would often have my hand in my pocket and hold onto that rock, my reminder of who my real boss was. Jesus Christ!
Have you ever prayed back scripture to God? What a blessing it is. Have you ever thought of sharing scripture as a "GIFT" with a fellow worker? He might be a baby Christian in need for just such a gift. Or, he could be a mature Christian like me, in need of encouragement at that moment. What Cory did for me that day was a "gift" beyond measure. We were allowed to carry little testaments in our uniform pockets as long as we did not bring up the subject. The inmates always wondered what made Cory and I so different from most of the other "paid cooks." We could then share and pray with them when they asked questions, as long as it did not interfere with getting our job done in a timely manner. Often my men would ask me about the pretty shiny pebble I always carried. Word got around about my faith in Christ. I prayed with many men in that walk-in myself.
"Thank you Jesus, for your gracious, faithful, care of this servant of yours."