The Nose KNOWS! (Angel in the Kitchen)


During the 1980s there was a cool commercial for a leading brand of plastic food wrap. We say “cool” because it featured a Bengal tiger. Hey, ya gotta respect a tiger! Tigers outrank every other mammal. After all, just
look at all their stripes! (Sorry. 😬)

In the commercial, two thick, juicy steaks are completely covered in plastic wrap: one in the big-name brand, and one in their competitor’s product. Both steaks are then tossed into a cage with a ferocious, starving (and quite handsome) tiger.

The big cat pays no attention to the meat covered in the advertiser’s plastic wrap — because the tiger can’t smell it. However, he devours the steak covered in cheap food wrap in record time, because he could smell the meat through the plastic. The advertiser’s point was that their wrap didn’t allow any air (and hence, aroma) to pass through, so it kept food fresher. As Mr. Spock would say, “Fascinating.” But that’s not the most interesting aspect of the commercial.

Taste and smell work together. Have you ever walked into someone’s kitchen and smelled a cake baking. You probably weren’t hungry until the aroma from the oven smacked you right in the kisser! And yet, after getting one whiff of cake, you start salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs for a thick slice of dessert. What happened! Well, the aroma gave you an appetite for what you were smelling.

Our sense of smell actually works together with our sense of taste. God in His wisdom gave us both senses, and here’s why: people are like tigers; we usually won’t try a new food unless it appeals to our sense of smell. Hey, the nose knows. Which is also why we usually smell food for freshness, well before committing ourselves to the first sip of milk or bite of cheese.

We can tell you that a certain food –one you’ve never tried before — is absolutely delicious. But if you can’t smell that it’s good, then you essentially have to take our word for it. We can even serve it to you on a tray with a fresh daisy beside it; but if there’s no aroma to help trigger your appetite, there’s a good chance you won’t try it! On the other hand, if something smells delicious to you, then you’ll probably go out of your way to ask us to share it with you!

Throw a steak on the grill. Once it starts to sizzle, and that smoky barbecue aroma fills the air, your neighbor will suddenly remember it’s time to return the weed-eater he borrowed last month. He’ll be leaning over the fence, hypnotized by the smell of the A1 sauce, and hoping he gets an invite. Of course, we’ve all been on both sides of the fence — not hungry until we encounter some intoxicating aroma!

So, where are we going with this? Well, faith and works go together the same way taste and smell do. Our faith in God, along with the joy and abundant life He brings when we trust in Him, are something we’d love to serve to our neighbors. One huge problem, though: they don’t know just how good the things of God are! They’ve never tasted them before. Perhaps, they’re not even “hungry” for the things of God. Although we can continuously tell them just how “tasty” a believer’s life is, unless there’s a delicious aroma to entice them, to alert them to something delicious, there’s a good chance they won’t try it! Sad, but true!

That’s where the aroma of our faith kicks in. Just as good food emits a wonderful fragrance, so too should our faith — and our lives as believers. The Bible states, “…We are the aroma of the Messiah … the sweet smell of life leading to more life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 CJB) This pleasing aroma is emitted when we demonstrate what we believe in. When we love others, when we give, serve, and encourage those around us, the pleasing aroma of godliness attracts our neighbors just like the smell of the backyard grill. Whether we call it “good works” or “faith in action,” demonstrating what we believe in will always make others hungry for what we can share.

“…Through us, [God] brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17 MSG)

Jesus commanded us not to hide our light (the light of truth) under a basket, where no one can see it. In the same way, don’t “store your beliefs with plastic food wrap!” Instead, allow the world to smell the sweet aroma of Godliness — by living out what you believe! When you do, the aroma of
your good works will help create a genuine appetite for the good things of God; and your friends, family and coworkers will come around asking, “That smells delicious! Can I please have a taste!”

“Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him!” (Psalm 34:8 NIV)


Toast! (Angel in the Kitchen)


Feeling a bit on the crummy side today? Perhaps you’ve even begun to feel that life itself is rather crummy. You know, crummy weather, crummy traffic, crummy coworkers?

angel cover v5As we celebrate the third year of our web-series Angel in the Kitchen, we’re reminded of a valuable lesson we learned … from our toaster! Yes, just about everything we encounter in the kitchen (foods, cooking, and appliances) seems to help illustrate truths about life, love, and relationships. And our faithful little toaster is no different. We use the word faithful, because if we were to call him our “Brave Little Toaster,” Walt Disney Studios could sue us. And we’d be miserable begging on a street corner. No, really!

Besides, “faithful” truly fits our toaster. He’s waiting for us, there in the kitchen, each morning. Always ready to serve us our daily bread at the flip of a lever — golden brown, never burnt. Always cheerful with a positive attitude — at least, that’s how we choose to imagine him.

Most of the time. Some mornings, however, it’s as though our toaster woke up on the wrong side of the counter. He has this stinking attitude, as though something’s smoldering inside. Oh yeah, and on such mornings he apparently takes his bad day out on us, by burning our toast! We dare not say anything, though, because he might start flinging sliced bread in our faces.

What’s his problem? Clearly our toaster is feeling a bit crummy. Let’s define “crummy”: miserable or wretched; shabby, inferior, or … even worthless!

Hey, li’l guy, you’re not inferior — you’re wonderful! So what’s got you down?

He’s not talking! So we need to use some toaster psychology. That’s when we remember that another, older definition of “crummy” is “full of crumbs”! Yes, that’s it! Whenever our toaster starts to smoke and emit the smell of burnt bread, we remove the tray from his base and, sure enough, it’s filled with crumbs!

An appliance garage similar to ours, inhabited by mild-mannered appliances.

In order to keep our faithful toaster happy and performing at the top of his game, we have to periodically shake off the crumbs that accumulate around his metallic feet — er, base! We follow this step with a gentle wipe-down of his tray, and then return him to the appliance garage located atop the kitchen counter. Wait a sec. Please excuse us. “The Masked Toaster” insists we call it the Avengers Tower — headquarters of that famed team of culinary crime fighters, Captain Can-Opener, The Mighty Thor (our blender), and Iron Griddle! (No, we are NOT looney! But our appliances ARE a bit eccentric!)

Getting back to what we asked you at the beginning of this article, “Feeling a bit on the crummy side today?” If so, understand that it’s not just toasters that can accumulate crumbs. In life, we too need to periodically shake off the crumbs of hurts, disappointments, and offenses; which can pile up and keep us from performing at the top of our game. We won’t “function” properly, or accomplish anything, all because we’re too busy fuming over the things in life that didn’t work out, or just don’t seem fair, or right!

When you allow the sometimes crummy comedowns, consequences, and circumstances of life to pile up in your heart, these things begin to smolder inside. Soon you’ll be “burning up” emotionally; “smoking” over past mistakes, hurts, and disappointments. And, like our toaster, you’ll start stinking in your thinking. Follow that darkened path and you’ll end up as toast!

Things don’t always work out as we planned. And we don’t always get what we want. But, to quote a pseudo-Chinese proverb, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Furthermore, at one time or another, we encounter “crumbs” in the form people who are uncaring, insensitive, and downright rude. In fact, crumb can be defined as an untrustworthy or contemptible person! And — even when interacting with dear friends and family — we can slowly accumulate the crumbs of offenses, which can lead to unforgiveness and eventually bitterness; which can burn us up emotionally! When this happens, we’re toast!

The disciples of Christ faced this problem, as they travelled from place to place spreading the Gospel. Some towns accepted them and extended hospitality. Others rudely rejected the disciples and their message. We can imagine this rejection was both bewildering and upsetting. Perhaps it even angered these men. Who could blame them? Have you ever tried to bless someone with an act of kindness, and received nothing in return but ingratitude and scorn? Well, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Jesus understood how quickly and easily the crumbs of offenses can pile up; and He didn’t want His disciples “smoking” from these social slights. So He admonished His followers, “If people do not welcome you, leave … and shake the dust off your feet….” (Luke 9:5 NIV) Jesus used the analogy of “dust” to represent rejection, mistreatment, and disappointments. But He could have just as well said, “Shake off the crumbs!” Of course, at the time, no one would have understood what in the world He meant — because no one owned a toaster 2,000 years ago!

Regardless, God doesn’t want you burning up inside, fuming over people who’ve wronged you, and stinking in your thinking! That means you can’t allow the “crumbs” to get inside your spirit. So, when hurts come, or things just don’t go as you planned or hoped for, shake the crumbs off your feet and keep moving forward! “Pursue peace with all, …lest any root of bitterness springing up should trouble you….” (Hebrews 12:14-15 BLB)