Later that night, after the great soup escapade, I was sharing my story with a friend. “You know how my church has these Lenten suppers,” I began.
“And each week two people volunteer to bring soup.”
“Oh no,” she interjected. “You didn’t volunteer to take soup did you?” (Ah, she knows me so well.)
“Well… I really thought it was going to work this year.”
“Please tell me you followed a recipe,” she said.
“Why?” She cried. “Why do you keep doing this to these nice people? I thought you liked these people.”
“I do!” I said.
“Then stop subjecting them to your cooking! Just stop volunteering. Believe me, they will understand.”
“But I want to volunteer,” I said. “I’m determined that one of these times I’m going to make something good.”
“Then follow a recipe! That’s what recipes are for!”
“Yeah,” I said, not convincingly.
“Or at least try making it ahead of time so you know it actually works.”
“Yeah,” I repeated. Meaning: not likely.
“Look,” she said. “That’s three good options for you. Stop volunteering, follow a recipe, or make it ahead of time.”
“I’m trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers,” I said, changing the subject.
“Really. You’re wondering what to do with the leftovers?”
“I’m not going to throw it out! I’ll doctor it up somehow to get it edible.”
“I’m sure you will,” she said. Meaning: just so long as you don’t feed it to me.
The next day I had a soup recipe in my inbox. Of course, I haven’t actually looked at it yet. But I may. I am determined that next year I will get it right. Last year my soup was flavorless, but soup-like. This year my soup actually had flavor, it just happened to be the consistency of slime. So if I can just combine this year’s flavor with last year’s texture…
Of course, the alternative is that I could wind up with the negative combination of flavorless slime, but we won’t talk about that.
Maybe I should look at a recipe.
Stay tuned for next year’s blog post on how I redeemed myself with the most delicious soup ever. Or else on the foolishness of stubbornly trying to redeem oneself in one’s own way. We know, after all, that we are saved not by the works of our own hands, but by faith in the One who redeems us. We, like sheep (or stubborn recipe-less cooks) have gone astray. Fortunately for me, even when I stubbornly fail and fail again, God patiently gives grace not only to me, but to those who endure my cooking as well.
For now, I’m just glad that someone else is bringing the soup tonight.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).