That Sinking Feeling (Angel in the Kitchen)

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angelic-pop-up-toaster-smiling-with-wings-and-halo-emoji-102714Most of you know by now that we enjoy naming our kitchen appliances. Maybe we’re just eccentric, but sometimes we think these inanimate objects are more … well, animated than a few people we know. These appliances are a big part of our interactions in the kitchen, and we’ve come to view them as faithful friends and allies in our culinary misadventures. Keep in mind that these little guys continue to inspire us — through their various mechanical traits and duties — with many lessons about life, love, relationships, and the nature of God, and perhaps you’ll understand why we’ve grown so fond of these “angels in the kitchen”! (Incidentally, the word Angel means “messenger.”)

So far we’ve written about: Luke and Nuke, the twin microwaves; Thor, the mighty blender; Captain Keurig, the coffeemaker; Mac, the knife block; Fridgey, the refrigerator; Sparky, the gas range; Mister Freeze, the upright freezer (who lives in the garage with Blue the SUV); and our feisty little toaster who can talk. This swinging crowd of kitchen companions is frequently entertained by the musical broadcasts of Orson, from his perch on the country china hutch. (Although we haven’t discussed him previously, Orson is our antique cathedral-style radio!) And by the way, we’re typing this on Hal, our desktop computer.

We’ve also written about pots and pans, boxes and bags, weird cookbooks and funky foods. And that, dear friends, is pretty much the whole gang. Only we can’t shake that sinking feeling that we’ve forgotten someone very important; that in our haste we’ve overlooked something vital to the smooth functioning of the kitchen. Oh, wait a minute. Hear that noise? It’s the indignant gurglings of … the sink! Okay, okay, that’s Señorita Sink, thank you very much! And she’s tired of being overlooked and underestimated.

Have you ever stopped to think how important the kitchen sink truly is? It’s the source of water in the kitchen, and without it, you can’t maintain a continuous free flow of that water. After all, as the water flows out of the faucet, it also has to have a place to flow to — unless you want your socks to get wet!

Our own señorita Sink is painfully shy and refused to have her photo taken, so we hired a professional model for this photo shoot.

The sink is a handy place to prepare fruits and veggies for salads and stews. It’s also the place where we gather our dirty dishes — and the place where we wash them. Were we to suddenly lose our sink, we’d sorely miss it. We’d be losing an important member of our kitchen family, one which facilitates the roles of all the other appliances and gadgets. And yet, most people never even think about the sink. It’s practically invisible, in fact: underestimated, devalued, neglected and overlooked!

When you visit the kitchen of a new homeowner, the host will excitedly show off the glistening new range, demonstrate the ice maker on the sparkling new refrigerator, and emphasize the spaciousness of the custom cabinets. But how often does he or she take you to the sink and gush about its wonders? When people walk into a home appliance showroom, they tend to gravitate to the section where the latest model washers, dryers, ranges and refrigerators are displayed. Does anyone ever head straight to the plumbing section — because they can hardly wait to check out the latest in new sink designs?

Oh, Señorita Sink, how we have neglected you!

In society, we have an organization that’s just as vital as the kitchen sink, and just as undervalued and overlooked. It’s the church! Or, if you prefer, the Body of Christ; the faith community; any place where believers assemble — a sink by any other name is just as neglected.

The church, like the sink, is a source of water (the water of the Word); and it facilitates the continuous free flow of the Word in society. It’s a place where spiritual food is prepared. It’s a place where dirty dishes (soiled vessels for God) can congregate — and be washed! But we tend to overlook its importance. We underestimate its influence in the proper functioning of our communities and … yes, even of our government. And many of us totally neglect it. We don’t drag our friends to it and gush about its wonders. Nor do we consider its presence important when we’re shopping for a new home. It’s often just an invisible afterthought in our towns and cities.

But were we to suddenly lose the church (and its Godly influence in society), we’d sorely miss it. Trust us, things just wouldn’t be the same! So ask yourself, do you have that sinking feeling you’re neglecting something important? We hope it’s not your neighborhood church!

Please, find a local faith community, attend regularly, and become engaged in serving. Support it, and pray for its hard-working spiritual leaders. “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

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Too Many Cooks? (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Remember the old adage “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth”? It describes a consequence of having “too many chiefs and not enough braves.” We frequently hear both of these idioms, and we generally agree that in this world there are way too many people who want to call all the shots. Now don’t get us wrong, leaders are a vital part of every company, community, organization, family, and faith congregation: they usually know what needs to be done and how to get it done — or who to delegate it to. At least, we hope they do. And in their capacity as leaders — and perhaps we should qualify our statement — as GOOD leaders, they fulfill the all important task of ensuring things are done correctly and with a minimum of chaos.

Without a designated leader to organize activities and coordinate duties, you’ll have two or three people trying to perform the same task, while another job gets completely neglected. We write designated because sometimes we need to appoint a person — one person — to lead, not because of their age, charisma or even experience, but simply to put an end to disorder. Obviously the best qualified people should lead, but what happens when you have two potential leaders with equal qualifications?

Getting back to the kitchen, two cooks, both waving a spoon like a baton, while preparing the same dish, can end up serving an unpalatable mess. Think about our opening phrase: two conscientious and well-meaning cooks micromanaging a broth simmering on the range is an invitation to disaster. Guaranteed, one of them has already sufficiently seasoned the bubbling mixture; and guaranteed, the other cook will inevitably add another pinch of salt, white pepper, garlic, or something it doesn’t need! The resultant broth will be too salty, too hot, or give the diners bad breath for weeks.

In the finest restaurants, there are several chefs on duty: a Head Chef, a Sous-Chef (second in command), a Pastry or Dessert Chef, as well as chefs specializing in fish, vegetables, sauces … and the list goes on. All these chefs are highly skilled. Many could no doubt lead if called upon. However, at any given time, only a single chef is planning the menu and coordinating the efforts of his or her staff. If you dine in one of these five-star restaurants, your meal will almost always arrive hot and without an unwarranted delay; and if you walk into the kitchen, you’ll see all the chefs working smoothly and efficiently with no misunderstandings, no confusion, no duplicated efforts, and no spoiled broth. (Which is for the best, considering these restaurant kitchens maintain an impressive assortment of knives.)

Wait just a doggone minute! Who’s in charge here?!?!

Here’s another example: one commercial airliner, two capable pilots; both pilots have equal experience and capabilities, and both can fly the plane. But only one is designated as the pilot. The other member of the cockpit team is just as important, but has taken the position of co-pilot. This is a good thing. It ensures the passengers reach their destination.

As we stated, every company, community, organization, family, and faith congregation needs a designated “Head Chef” to ensure that whatever’s “cooking” turns out right and with a minimum of confusion. The head guy isn’t better or more valuable than the “Sous-Chef”; it’s just the best way to get things done. This is especially true in marriages, particularly in the area of finances. Show us a couple with equal jurisdiction over their budget and expenditures, and we’ll show you overdrawn accounts and needlessly missed payments.

Show us a committee where two people are trying to call the shots, and we’ll show you a decline in volunteers. The same goes for any “family” unit, be it a business, club, or faith community. But the point we’re trying to make is this: it’s okay to concentrate on what you do best, and then follow a good leader. Even Jesus Christ understood this, which is why He remained under the headship of God the Father, stating, “For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:28 NIV) It was the expedient way to accomplish His mission on earth.

True, someone has to be in charge, but it can’t always be you. Nor can we always have our own way in matters. So, maybe it’s time you got out of the kitchen (unless you ARE the head cook). Stop lifting the lids on all the pots. Stop tasting the broth every five minutes. And stop thinking that in every situation you need to put in your two cents worth of spices. Be content to be the co-pilot, or the Sous-Chef, or just part of a bigger team. That’s how things get done, quickly, smoothly and efficiently — without bruised egos and busted noses; without kitchen chaos and culinary conundrums.

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace…. Let all things be done decently and in order.” (1 Corinthians 14:33, 40 King James)

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