Dr. Mike Murphy
Each Sunday morning, at his small southern church, the pastor would call on one of his deacons to lead the service in an opening prayer. This Sunday was no different, he called on his oldest deacon, Bruce, as the service began. Bruce slowly rose, bowed his head, and began to speak. “Lord, you know how much I hate buttermilk.”
On hearing these words, the pastor opened one eye to glance at Bruce, wondering to himself just where all this was going. And then, with a slow southern drawl, the pastor heard Bruce continue. “And Lord, you know that I am no fan of lard.” Now the pastor was completely perplexed, and began to openly sweat at the thought of how he would follow all this up. Then, he heard Bruce begin to speak again. “And Lord, you know I am not crazy about plain ol’ flour. But Lord, when you mix them all together, and you bake them just right, You know how much I love biscuits. Lord, when I look around at this world, I see a lot of things I do not like, a lot of things I just do not understand. But you know Lord, maybe I just need to take a look at what You are mixing, at what You have baking. I am sure that when You get through, it will probably be something even better than biscuits!”
As he heard these words, the pastor slowly smiled. He knew that the best sermon the congregation would hear that morning, had just been spoken.
A very dear relative of mine sent me this little story the other day. As I read it, I could not help but smile. And often that day, this little story stayed on my mind. And each time I thought of it, it spoke to me a little louder, a little clearer. And with each thought of the little story, it became a little more transparent, it was me that the little story was speaking about, it was me that the deacon in this little story was speaking to.
So often today, we look at the world around us and we shake our head. We see the events playing out each day, and we just do not understand. We find ourselves left questioning God, not understanding why He has not already done something about all these. Many of us jokingly say we would love to just find a cabin in the woods, isolated from all we see going on in this world around us. Others of us point to the sky, saying everything we see means the Lord will soon return. That the joyous day when Christ will return for His Church is at hand, and we just need to sit back and wait for His return.
But as I hear these words amidst the buttermilk, the lard, and the flour the world has spread around me, I realize that this oven is heating up for a reason, a reason that involves me. The Lord is reminding me, it is time for me to put my apron on. To get out all the cooking tools He has given me. It is past time I started making some biscuits.
Each word of the little story reminded me, the chaos we see in the world today is not calling for our silence, but demands our voice. It does not lead us into the woods in isolation, but draws us right into the middle of the heat. Only in the heat can the biscuits be made, and never in silence can the meal He has us preparing be announced.
I treasure and look forward to the moment I see His face, as He returns for all of us who call on His name. But the promise of that soon approaching day does not leave me silent, it makes me want to shout until I am hoarse. Of this Paul told us, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”(Philippians 1:6). God is working on me, and looking to working through me each day I find myself on this earth. Each minute, each second of every day, brings opportunity in His hands, the potential to reach some else for Him. Just because the world might fall apart around me, does not mean His hands are not at work in and through me. And not for one second does it mean His voice should ever be seen as quieted by me. If anything, the chaos demands that I make His voice be heard louder.
Simply look at the Apostles, those who spent so many of their days with Christ, and see how their actions speak to us as we complain about the world around us today. As Christ ascended into Heaven, and His return was promised, they believed like us that Christ could return any day. In the midst of the chaos of their day, look what they did with all this in mind. They gave their all, literally. They refused to be silent when the world threatened to silence them. And in almost every case, they gave their life so others might know the love, grace, and mercy that Christ brought to this world. Take an even harder look at the ministry of Paul. Most do not realize it, but of the thirty or so years that Paul spent in the ministry for Christ, he spent almost six of those years in prison. A prisoner for doing nothing more than speaking the truth that only Christ had shown him. But despite this, what did Paul do? He worked to the very end. Despite all this world threw at him, despite all the hardships he would face, he made the most of every opportunity(2 Thessalonians 4:7-8, Ephesians 5:15-17). Paul made biscuits!
And as I look around me today, I still see those like Paul. Those that serve as a Christ-like example to all of us. I have a friend who finds himself up each morning before most of us even realizes the day has begun. Each day he goes on social media, and he prays for this Church and this nation. Despite all the evil he sees in this world around us, despite all the hardship he sees this Church facing, he prays for hope. He takes the opportunity each day the Lord gives him and makes the absolute most of it. And daily through his written prayer, he reaches out to all around him, so each might share in his Godly hope for all of us. I have another friend who does street ministry in Uganda. Each day he reaches out to kids on the street, many of these kids are ones that our world has forgotten. But kids he has not forgotten, and knows that Christ would never forget. Most of us talk about the frontlines, but he lives for Christ on those frontlines every second of every day. In conditions most of us could not even begin to imagine, he brings Christ to a needing world. Both of these friends each day make biscuits!
With each day I have left, whether I am here until Christ returns, or I find myself already there as i look down joyously as many of you come to join me, it is past time I spent each day making biscuits. Not being put off by all this world might throw at me, but making the most of each daily opportunity the Lord gives me. That I leave this world the way the Lord will again come, with a shout. And as He returns, I want to spend each of my days helping the Lord to make the “ride up” as full as possible! It is time I took the buttermilk, the lard, the flour of this world, and made something remarkable from them. Something that my hands are not capable of, but with the help of His hands, do not even test the capabilities. That each day finds me with apron in hand, baking away as I have never found myself baking before. That I spend each day in His kitchen, doing the very thing He has called me to do. It is time I started making biscuits!
Praying each of your days finds you in the Lord’s kitchen hard at work!