Visit social media travel sites on the internet, and a frequent and favorite topic are foodie bloggers. Of the myriad of categories that fall under this genre, street food is an increasingly popular choice. From Mexico City to Bangkok to Barcelona, nearly every major city of the world boasts of its own culinary delicacies. Easily accessible, inexpensive, and prepared quickly on the spot-all the elements of a memorable and captivating meal are present, served and birthed by its rich cultural surroundings. The popularity of street food has even attracted the attention of the famed Michelin restaurant reviewers. In 2015, Michelin created a new category of street food and just a year later, bestowed a coveted Michelin star rating to two noodle stands in Singapore. Up to this point, Michelin stars were overwhelmingly given to restaurants that followed strict guidelines, examining such items such as the quality of the tablecloths and the decor. Fabled names such as Le Bernardin in France and El Bulli in Spain have climbed to the pinnacle of the ratings-three stars. Now, a new category of restaurants was similarly being honored. No placemats or fancy tablecloths at these establishments. The food is cooked upon open burners, in full view of the hungry customers who queue up for hours, then quickly devour it with chopsticks or their fingers sitting at plastic tables. The culinary world was ecstatic and foodies flocked to these inexpensive and accessible destinations. It was a chance to eat world class food at bargain prices! Everyone was delighted.
Well, not everyone. One street food vendor in Thailand, Supinya Junsuta, who received her first Michelin star for her restaurant, Raan Jay Fai, renowned for its crab omelet and other delicacies, wished she could give the star back. The notoriety and fame the Michelin star rating brought to her small restaurant exploded her business traffic as foodies and curiosity seekers alike sought out her restaurant. Her costs have increased as she had to purchase more ingredients to feed the hungry hordes. In spite of her new fame, she is unwilling to raise her prices, fearing she will lose her loyal customers. She bemoaned the fact that most new people were only coming for the experience of dining at a Michelin star restaurant and not truly discerning or desirous of appreciating the true quality of her dishes as her loyal regular customers. The award had taken away the focus of her life’s ambition, to create food to be enjoyed by the masses.
When one is truly devoted and dedicated to their life’s mission, no accolades, titles, or honors will ever be satisfying. Their only reward and satisfaction are to serve others, performing their tasks to perfection. John the Baptist understood this like few others. He was the first prophet to appear to the Jewish people after nearly four hundred years of silence. His message of repentance was unique and many thought he was the Messiah or the prophet Elijah reborn. He certainly could have accepted these titles, yet John remained steadfast to the mission to which God called him. To those who would bestow upon him these titles, he dismissed them and told them that he was merely a messenger, sent to prepare the people for the coming Messiah (John 1:23). Any fame or accolades that came to John because of his association with Jesus the Messiah were not important. As he succinctly and humbly stated,
He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:30 (ESV)
God has a special calling for all believers, bestowing unique gifts and talents to serve Him to further His Kingdom on this earth. These gifts are never meant to bring accolades and honor to ourselves. When we serve God by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He, and no other must always increase.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.