“I can’t use a new smoker!” She protested. “All the years of flavoring, the grease, the smoke, it would be gone. This is what makes my smoked meats special, it’s my smoker!’
It was a pitmaster smoking championship and the contestants were renowned masters, each having won a regional contest to compete in this elite competition. Unfortunately, when one of the pitmasters was transporting her prized smoker to the competition site, there was an accident and her smoker was damaged and inoperable. Although she brought other smokers that could help her to salvage the competition, she was unwilling to use a new smoker. A new smoker requires hours of curing, burning off the oils and contaminants left over after it was manufactured. Over time, the accumulated smoke and oils coats the inside of the smoker, imparting a unique flavor profile to the food. It was not the meat, charcoal, wood, or even the seasoning that was used on her meat. It was the smoker, cured and matured by years of use. It was the cumulative experiences of that smoker that made her creations so highly prized.
Our spiritual lives are no different. All believers in Jesus Christ read the Bible, pray, and fellowship in a church. These form the foundation for a life in service in God’s Kingdom. What differentiates all of us is the life experiences that cure and season us. This is wisdom and it is accumulated over a lifetime.
Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding.
Job 12:12 (NASB)
However, a lifetime of experiences is only the beginning of wisdom. We need to act upon it.
The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 (NASB)
When we are born, our lives are empty vessels-new smokers, in need of being cured by God. We may not like some of the trials of life that God leads us through but it is the way He deepens and strengthens our faith. I know this, yet, how often am I mired in my own self-pity, focused inward upon my forlorn state instead of looking upward to God, who created me, asking Him for understanding? I fail to learn from so many of the trials that God uses to mold and conform me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, like the new smoker, I cannot be used as effectively by God because I have not allowed my faith to be tested and matured.
God still needs to cure and season me. Praise God that He is faithful to me even when I am not.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.