Tuesday, January 25, 2011

On My Mind ... Part 1

I was baking cookies with Ariel and Beth the other night. Baking cookies with a 5 and 7 year old takes a lot longer than doing it alone takes.


I could have the ingredients measured out in no time, but I have to be patient and let them learn to scoop and level the flour. They need to learn the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon. They need to make sure they aren't adding 3/4 cup of salt instead of sugar, and ruining the entire process.

I don't need to read the instructions to know that the butter and sugars need to be creamed together first before adding eggs and dry ingredients. If I am baking with helpers, though, we need to go through the step-by-step process so they don't end up with butter chunks and flour lumps.

When I am baking solo, the cookie dough is scooped out on the trays quickly, minimizing the chances of it getting too soft to effectively scoop. Little hands take longer to figure out the mechanics of the scooper and where to place the scoops on the tray. By the time we reached the bottom of the bowl, our dough was getting pretty mushy in the warm kitchen.

I know it is going to take some time to see the final results when we bake cookies. These two hovered near the oven repeating various versions of "Aren't they done yet?"

I could bake the cookies on my own, but they get so much joy from being part of the process and seeing their efforts produce tangible results. Allowing them to help me brings reciprocal rewards. They love learning something new; I love watching them learn. It is a great bonding time.

It occurred to me that being a willing servant of God works much in the same way.

We have an all-powerful, all-seeing, and all-knowing Heavenly Father. He doesn't need us  to feed the hungry, comfort His children, heal the sick or anything else. He knows exactly what needs to be done. He knows exactly how to do it. He can do it better and faster than we ever possibly could.

He already knows the outcome that will come from simple acts of service, and He knows how far that can spread, but in our impatience we don't wait to see what will happen. Worse, we tend to think we don't have enough training/experience/patience/(insert any other excuse here) to go through the learning process of how to serve others, and therefore find another way to be closer to God.

He doesn't need us to serve others. And yet.... He stands there with us, guides us through the process, and He lets us do it.

Jesus said the two great commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and  to love your neighbor as yourself. To be a willing servant is to obey the two great commandments.

But I can't help but feel that allowing us to be a servant in His stead is more than a commandment.

It is a gift.

A wonderful, far-reaching, and if I know my Heavenly Father, reciprocal gift.

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