As I was making a sandwich the other day, spreading the white stuff on my bread, a thought occurred to me. The white stuff is salad dressing. What is it made of and do we really know what’s in it? Really? Mayonnaise is a few simple ingredients, but salad dressing, no matter what brand, is a conglomerate of ingredients, most of which are not found in the natural world. It tastes good, but what are we really getting out of it? And what are we putting in our bodies? This isn’t about the hazards of eating processed foods, nor the benefits of a holistic approach to healthy living. Its more about what we take in and what we are made of.
Mayonnaise is made of a few simple ingredients such as egg yolks, oil, vinegar, and other seasonings in the right combination to produce that creamy condiment we nearly all appreciate. The gospel is made up of simply truth, faith, love and you, in the right combination to produce the fruits of the spirit which will draw others to Him through us. Let’s continue this analogy and see where it takes us.
The Egg of Truth:
Eggs are the basis of all live with a brain. Whether it is human, animal, reptile, fish, or insect. Every living being (for the sake of this excluding amoeba, single cells, and plants) begins with an egg.
As humans, our life starts with an egg and, as it grows, we become the human form others see. The same goes for truth. The TRUTH we are given develops our character. If we never hear the Truth of the Gospel we become humanistic and rely only on our own truths as they develop, leading to the increasingly common misconception that there are no absolute truths. Alternatively, those in cultures where the Gospel is not found or accepted will seek to find some kind of god to worship. That “egg” is embedded in our DNA from creation and cannot be removed. Even atheists worship a god, even if it is the god of disbelief,
Once the truth of the Gospel is introduced to us, it begins to incubate. If left alone it may never give birth to anything more than an idea, or just be “cracked” and used as food for some other means. But, if it is allowed to grow, to incubate in a person, fed and nourished daily, it will give birth to understanding and, eventually, depending on the willingness of the person to accept the Truth, will develop into a living part of that individual. It will help to shape their character and change their life.
The truth of the Gospel boils down to this: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
There or four truths in that statement: (1)God loves you. (2) He gave His son Jesus. (3) You must believe He is who the Bible says He is and everything it says about Him. (4) If you don’t accept those truths you will perish.–The last truth is often overlooked because it doesn’t sell. No one really wants to talk about the alternative as a possibility. Yes, God loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish, but there are consequences for actions, or the lack thereof. If the whole truth is not presented clearly, the consequences are minimized and the importance of the decision is somewhat lost in the translation. Then you wind up with something like Eggbeaters. You have colored egg whites (something that holds the truth) without the substance and consistency of the yolk where the life is held.
The Oil of Faith:
Olive oil is produced when the olives are pressed by some outside force to release the oil. In ancient times, this was done by hand, but now it is done by a mechanical press. Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
When you look at an olive, it doesn’t seem to hold any potential for oil. Because we have been told there is oil inside we can believe it will come out given the proper coaxing. This is done under pressure. If all we had to do is gently squeeze the olive between our fingers and out poured the olive oil, there would be no real value in it. We wouldn’t have to hope for anything to happen, it just would. Faith is a lot like pressing olives. Even though we cannot see the oil from the beginning, if we continue to press in, continue to believe that what we hope for will come to fruition, then the oil will begin to trickle out. The more olives we are willing to press, the more faith we have. Soon our faith is “pressed down, shaken together and running over” (taken slightly out of context Luke 6:38).
Faith is not only believing. Faith takes action. If you are in a financial difficulty and you believe that God will give you a miracle, but you continue to spend like there is no tomorrow, things will only get worse. It will require some action on your part. Start with prayer. Pray in faith believing. Cut your expenses wherever possible, especially the Starbucks and McDonald’s on a daily basis. Do all that you can to try to make it work. There is an old adage that says. : “The Lord helps those who help themselves,” but more importantly is James 2:20 “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” Faith, like olive oil, takes work on your part. You must be willing to do all you can do then let God do the rest.
The Vinegar of Love:
Most would not think of vinegar and love as being in the same category. Vinegar is an amazing substance. It is an environmentally friendly cleaner, it is an astringent used for treating sunburn and jelly fish stings, and it can be used in cooking. It is made through a fermentation and distillation process from any sweet liquid, usually, nowadays that is ethanol, or corn liquor. I’m sure nearly everyone has bought some apple cider in the fall and left it in the back of the refrigerator until it became “hard,” or fermented. If it was left longer it would have turned to a crude vinegar. Vinegar is made through not only fermentation but distillation. It has to be taken down to its purest form to be useful. Love takes time.
A scripture often used in weddings comes to mind. 1Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Like vinegar, love is a project in patience. Vinegar doesn’t happen over night and neither does love. Whether it is love between a man and a woman (not physical), or the love we show others, it is not just a one time thing. God’s love is everlasting, but humans cannot really fathom that kind of love. We are His representatives on earth, so we must be able to show His love continually, patiently, kindly. It is through our consistency in showing that love that the cleansing power of Jesus Christ is understood and accepted to allow the healing process of a lost, tormented soul to begin.
You Are The Spice:
As with anything else, you have a part to play in this. Each individual is different and will present their eggs, oil, and vinegar in their own unique way. Jesus said we are to be salt and light. Without salt, this mixture would be pretty bland. Then you through in whatever other spices you might bring to the mixture. Some may use paprika or cayenne pepper to give it the zing of their passion. This is where you make a difference. Without you, others may as well be reading a dry, factual textbook. YOU can make it as mild, or as spicy as your personality permits. Not everyone out there has the same taste. You may be just the right flavor for someone out there to relate to. You don’t have to try to be like anyone else. Look at examples from the Bible. Noah was old when he started, Moses stuttered, Peter was impetuous, Thomas doubted, and later Paul was analytical and forceful in his beliefs. God can use anyone willing to give Him their all and it takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people. Someone wrote a phrase on the board at work. “You are unique, just like everybody else.”
Many people are looking for the “Miracle Whip” of Christianity to suddenly make everything all right. They are willing to listen to, and spread, a whole lot of “stuff” that really isn’t anything valuable when you take it down to the basics. Lets just stick to mayonnaise. Its natural, its healthier, and, when mixed properly, it tastes great.
© Simply Consider This, 2013.