Thursday, June 20, 2013

Must-Go Soup

"From whom the whole body fitly joined together
and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,
according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,
maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."
Ephesians 4:16

I love trying new recipes.
I even enjoy inventing new ones from time to time.
Especially, soups.
And especially, when I have a bunch of things in the fridge that I hate to throw out, 
but realize are fast approaching the moment of being inedible.

When I was a teenager, my family moved...very Shawnee, Oklahoma,
to work in a church-based nursing home, called The Golden Rule Home.
The administrator, who was also our pastor,
 was a very kind-hearted, older minister,
by the name of Bro. Charles Smith.
He was responsible for buying all of the groceries for the home.
One day, before making his weekly trek to the store,
he came into the kitchen to take stock of what was needed.

As he pilfered through the refrigerator,
we heard him tell the cook, 
"We need to make some "must-go" soup."

Dad was standing nearby, and asked,
"What in the world is must-go soup?"

"It's when you clean out your refrigerator,
and everything must go!"

We laughed and laughed.
He was a jolly, Godly soul, 
who showed great love and kindness to my family and me.

I'll never forget him.

Today, I thought of Bro. Charles, as I concocted a new-recipe soup.
Kevin and Zach loved it,
so I thought I'd share.

I decided to call it, 
"Creamy Veggie-Mushroom Soup"

1 pound of ground beef, browned with 1 diced onion
3 potatoes
3 carrots
1 onion
1/2 head of cabbage
1 can of sweet corn
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 soup can full of milk
1 small can of pork and beans
Garlic Powder, to taste
Seasoned Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Italian Seasoning, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Brown hamburger and onion.
Peel and dice potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage.
Place veggies in large kettle, and sprinkle olive oil over them.
Add garlic powder, seasoned salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
Cover with lid, and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When cabbage is reduced, and veggies are somewhat tender,
add can of corn, cream of mushroom soup, milk, and pork and beans.
Cover again, and let simmer on low-medium for 20 minutes or so.


I usually make tomato-based soups
and even had a can of tomato sauce on the counter..ready to pour in.
But, then I decided to make this one cream-based,
and, I must admit, it turned out pretty good.

 If you try it, let me know how you like it.  :~)

It amazes me how combining so many different flavors, 
consistencies, and food groups can blend into something so pleasant tasting.
Each component has its own unique qualities.
Each ingredient stands alone, but is so limited....on its own.
But, when you merge all of it together, it becomes one complete unit
where each individual component is enhanced by all of the others.

Kind of like the Body of Christ.

We are made up of all different colors,
ethnic backgrounds,
biological ancestries,
shapes, sizes, and life-situations.

We all come to the table with our hang-ups,
checkered pasts,
and uniqueness.

All of us can stand alone.
But, individually, we are so limited.

We look at ourselves, sometimes, and all we can see is...
jaded burn-outs, past our prime, nearly ready to be "put out to pasture",
incapable of ever being anything truly useful.

God sees otherwise.

He sees potential for "must-go" soup.
He knows that if He puts us together, 
if He allows us to draw from the strengths of one another,
if He blends us into one, harmonious body,
the result will be beautiful...

and bring Him glory.
Together, we will present a sweet-smelling savor...
to the nostrils of Almighty God, our Creator.

It amazes me how He places people in our lives.
Unlikely pair-ups who will, as a team, produce something amazing.
Only He can see the end the beginning.

Have you ever met someone, thinking it is only a chance encounter,
then later realized it was a God-ordained appointment?
That He actually brought you together with someone, 
because He knew you would need each other down the line?

His thoughts and ways are so far above yours and mine.
Sometimes, it takes years for us to really see why He has placed someone in our lives.
In some cases, only eternity will truly reveal the grand scheme of God's vision.

Nothing in the life of a Christian is coincidence.
Everything is divine providence.
Those who truly desire to fulfill God's will and dreams
are never outside the realm of His plans.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, 
to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28

All things.
Every encounter.
Every "chance" meeting.
God is working.
He is fulfilling....
working out His plans....for you...and me.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

Some would have tossed those worn-out, "on-their-last-leg" veggies in the trash.
Some would have opened the bowls of leftover macaroni and cheese,
mashed potatoes, gravy, corn, carrots, sloppy joes, spaghetti, rice, and roast beef...
and dumped them all right into the garbage can.

Not so, with Bro. Charles.
He threw all of those leftovers into a big pot,
stirred it up until it was all well-blended,
and called it "must-go" soup.

It was delicious.
The residents lapped it up...and didn't ask questions.  

Some would toss some of us onto the scrap heap of life.
Call us down-for-the-count.
Label us a "has-been" and "castaway" and "worthless".

Not so, with God.
He overlooks our pasts.
In fact, He has forgotten all about what we did before we were redeemed.
He sees our issues as opportunities.
He matches us with others...
who are imperfect, with pasts of their own.
He causes our paths to cross,
in the most unlikely of ways,
and He uses us, together, side-by-side, 
as Kingdom-builders.

You may be the hammer.
I may be the nail.
But, together we hold something together.
Together, we accomplish a task.
Together, God sees a well-oiled machine...
of marred humanity, blood-washed, 
and made worthy to be used, by the merciful, redeeming grace of Jesus Christ.

Together, we produce something useful...
something beautiful....
something of God...
and to each other.

Together, we create a complete picture.
Together, we make a great team.
Kind of like must-go soup.:~)

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