“It’s Not The Charcoal!” (1 Peter 2:2-3)

The analysis showed that while the lighting was four stars, the ash and burn time were three stars, but the maximum temperature only was two stars. I shook my head. This did not seem to be an ideal charcoal. I moved on to the next. 

When I first began seriously barbecuing and smoking, I submerged myself in the specialized world of the pitmaster. I devoured books on the subject, subscribed to numerous online forums, and researched my fuel. There are dozens of scholarly websites all dedicated to the nuances of charcoal. The hours that were spent sifting through the numerous brands of charcoal was impressive and confusing. One pundit declared one brand while another proclaimed another. I needed direction from an expert. 

A short time later, I was privileged to take a barbeque and smoking class from a true pitmaster, one who has appeared on numerous cooking shows and he and his students have won countless national and international contests. During our class, one of the participants asked him what brand of charcoal he preferred. He smiled thoughtfully and said, “I know that there are a lot of people who will spend hours researching and arguing which charcoal is the best. I’m going to tell you a secret.” Like a famous brokerage commercial from the Seventies, we all quieted down and leaned in to hear his words of wisdom. 

“It’s not the charcoal! It’s the quality of your meat!”

He further elaborated that while the choice of charcoal is important, the quality of one’s meat will always be the most critical factor. “If you start with poor quality meat, it does not matter how good your smoker or charcoal is, you will not have a good finished product. Conversely, if you start with good meat, I can teach you the subtle things to make it a great meal.”

Since that class, I have definitely found his statement to be true. It resonated with me since the applications of my teacher’s statement are much broader than he intended. Like being consumed by the choice of charcoal, at times in my spiritual life, I have been distracted by peripheral issues that I think are important without realizing that I was neglecting the core reasons for my belief in God. I have been distracted by details such as achieving the right musical balance on the worship team rather than focusing on the message of the praise song. I will be bogged down by managing the interpersonal conflicts on a church committee rather than seeking to redirect the focus upon God and the harmony in the Body of Christ. All of these are important but if these activities lead me to lose sight of the overall goal, to draw closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, then I need to re-prioritize my actions.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

1 Peter 2:2-3 (ESV)

I should always be seeking and drinking the pure milk of God’s Word rather than nibbling at tidbits and morsels, believing they have profound importance, but later learning they only have the appearance of spirituality. This is the true meat of a relationship with Jesus Christ, to taste and see that the Lord is Good!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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