Article Dec 19, 2013

Take a lesson from the stock pot

"Good broth will resurrect the dead” - South American proverb

The women in my community know me as a Bible study teacher, but what they may not know is that I am also the Queen of Soup. I earned my title as growing grocery bills for my family of six pushed me to probe the limits of left-over options. Happily, I have learned that the application of a little effort can turn one meal into many--just about anything can be boiled into savory submission.

The holidays are a productive time for the Queen of Soup, and she is equal to the challenge. There was a time when I thought the turkey carcass belonged in the trash after the big meal. I now know that that ruined shell, pillaged of its choicest offerings, is the secret repository of all that makes soup wonderful. Sure, it looks like something out of a horror movie, but it is culinary gold to those who will mine for it. And the Queen of Soup is just the gold-digger for the job.

Anyone who has ever made homemade turkey soup can tell you that it is a labor of love. First, the carcass must be boiled to render the marrow. Then the broth must be strained and refrigerated so the excess fat can be removed. Then all remaining meat must be picked off of the bones to be added back into the soup. Finally, after much chopping, simmering and tasting, the Queen of Soup is ready to ascend her throne and receive her accolades. Sometimes the process takes days, so it’s not surprising that most of us are willing to part with the turkey after its headliner appearance.

But soup-making has taught me an important truth: that time, effort and patience render an unforeseen yield. Every turkey has way more to give than meets the eye. What I once discarded as fully consumed I now know will yield two more meals if I give it my attention and effort. This lesson from the stock pot is one I need to embrace when I approach the banquet table of God’s word.

I realize I have sometimes treated the Bible like that turkey, satisfied to be nourished by it in ways that require little effort on my part. I seat myself at the Big Meal on Sunday and enjoy a generous serving of teaching. But if I take time during the week to do a little metaphorical "deboning"--by studying and meditating on a passage, by allowing it time to render its hidden treasures--the benefit to my spiritual life increases in a loaves-and-fishes way. Studying and meditating on the word is meticulous and time-consuming work, but it renders up a feast and leaves nothing wasted.

I want to be a person who moves slowly enough to savor every morsel. I want to be a person who is methodical enough not to miss one precious bite.

What about you? You don’t have to become the Queen of Soup--I “get” that not everyone loves it. But be the Queen of Quiet Time. Love the word enough to patiently and methodically render every bit of goodness it has to offer. Linger over it. Labor over it. Study and meditate. Therein is good meat that will turn spiritual beggars into royalty. Therein is good broth that will resurrect the dead.

"My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches" (Psalm 63:5-6).