Competing with Your Spouse – The Chili Cook-off

Earl and I rarely, if ever, compete against each other. 

Our church had a Renewal Weekend, and part of the program was a Chili Cook-Off.  Earl and I entered the competition.  It took Earl about two weeks to realize that he would be competing with me, I, on the other hand was aware of it the moment I entered our names.

I planned, made lists, bought my ingredients.  Earl ordered his secret ingredient from Kansas City, MO.  We then realized that Earl might have to go out of town the day before the competition and try to get back in time for the renewal services.  I got a devil-may-care attitude going.  “Honey, what to do?  You’ve got to enter your chili because you’ve signed up.”   “Oh, and don’t forget they made announcements on Sunday that you and I would be entering.”  “Did I mention that they brought it to everyone’s attention again during Wednesday Night Live dinner?”

Competition is not necessarily a bad thing.  According to the Bible, competition is a vital component of success.  However, left unchecked, competition can also lead to cheating and failure.  According to 2 Timothy 2:5 “And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.”

Did I mention that I was beginning to feel guilty as I saw him get closer to failure?  On the Thursday prior to the cook-off, I called Earl knowing he was under a lot of heavy stress, meetings and pressures, and so I asked him if he wanted me to get his ingredients.  I even offered to make it for him if he would tell me how he made his chili.  I would be happy to follow his instructions to the letter and make sure his chili got to the cook-off for him.

Jesus Christ’s message to his followers was that they should attempt to help others whom they disagree with rather than to make them even more helpless (Luke 9:51-56). Thus, by focusing on caring for others rather than on competing with them, believers can maintain their own integrity while being of service to those in need.

I care for Earl, and I wanted him to enter his chili.  What harm does it do for me to help him out?  It’s still a competition, played by the rules.  Funny thing was, he then told me that he did not need to go out of town and that he would have time to do his own work on his chili.  So let the games begin!

By the way neither one of us won the contest, and I chose the double crock pot before he could do so.  His chili turned out a little dry because he didn’t have enough room for the liquid in his single crock pot.  Was that cheating or just competing?

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Low Man on the Totem Pole and No Problem with That!

Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another.”

In VanCouver Canada 2012

In VanCouver Canada 2012

A lot of people may have a huge problem with the scripture above. Why? Because probably most people want to be served, not to be a servant.

We are a society that focuses on self and pleasing ourselves, and this is a far cry from the example that Christ gave us to serve others. We are taught in our Christian belief that once we become a Christian, we have a new nature alongside our old nature; we begin to reflect on the very acts and manner of Christ. We can choose between following our old desires and lusts or following the Holy Spirit within us.

Once God calls us and enables us, it’s easy to accept Christ as our Savior and trust Him to save us. The Holy Spirit moves us to do so. But Christians sometimes stop right there. They understand that acceptance of Christ offers forgiveness of sins – past, present and future. But Christians may count on this gift from God to see them through life -regardless of whether they continue to follow their old natures. But the Holy Spirit prompts followers of Jesus to change their focus on self. The Spirit continues to educate and change us into what God intends for us to be in Christ. The freedom we have in following Christ transforms us into wanting to be more like Him – not doing anything our old nature tells us to do and simply receiving forgiveness. This spiritual transformation freely allows us to shed what we once considered important: ourselves, and sense that others are also equally important to Christ. That transformation leads us to not only listen to His voice, but to move us into service to others. The service that He calls us to engage varies greatly. Some are called into the mission fields, others to the pulpit, and to many other less visible positions in the church.

I have to say at this stage in my Christian walk, I am content to simply be a servant of The Lord. And I’m even happier to be called to be engaged in positions that most folks would consider low on the totem pole. Give me the opportunity to meet and greet new people coming into our church. Give me the opportunity to go out into the community and help feed the hungry. Give me the opportunity to visit folks in the hospital or bring a meal to those who are experiencing illness at home. Give me the opportunity to hold the hand of an elderly person or to hug someone who doesn’t get a hug from anyone else, and I am genuinely happy.

I have recently been granted the wonderful opportunity to help our new members become more connected and integrated into our church family. I am helping them to find those small groups, circles, ministries, members, and committees that they feel God may be asking them to serve. God might use me to help them find their God-given gifts to share with others.

I love being with God’s people, doing what God has called me to do. I know that God has given me the gift of hospitality, and I am currently planning a dinner party for these wonderful new members, just so we can get to know them better. These are the people that God has given me to lift up in pray and care, and what a magnificent pleasure to be in Christ’s service even low on the totem pole!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, you have blessed me! Please feel free to leave a comment, subscribe to my blog, and/or share this post with a friend. Be blessed my friend!
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