There are some things that should never be stirred. Like a pot of burning food, especially when all the liquid evaporates out of that pot of greens or beans you’ve been cooking. Don’t stir! It’s the worst thing you could do, per my mother, unless you’d rather render the entire dish unsalvageable. Stirring will only bring the burnt taste from the bottom and have it completely permeate the contents.
On the other hand, you do want to stir your coffee or tea after adding sweetener. Or that big pitcher of lemonade. Stirring, in this case, will release the goodness of the sugar. Instead of settling in the base of the container, you’ll get sweetness with every sip. Ah yes!
You can make a wonderful gravy out of pan drippings if you let your grease sit for a bit after cooking. Upon cooling, those lovely pieces of meat and browned flour will settle on the bottom, allowing you to pour off the grease and get to the good stuff. Try that too soon and you’ll lose some of your best flavoring. Now once you add your liquid, you’ll want to stir, stir, stir until you have that base throughout your gravy. These images, the possible benefits and disadvantages of stirring, came to mind when I thought of this scripture:
“For this reason I remind you to stir up the gift of God …” 2 Timothy 1:6
Recently, I have been extremely busy promoting my books, which is a good thing. It seems that as I do more to advance myself as an author, I see more ways I can further my cause. I’m meeting people who can help me and finding ways I can help myself. My actions are stirring up something in the spirit. I see the atmosphere now as being cluttered with opportunities. The air around me is churning with them, somewhat like a sky is full of hubris during a tornado. I’ve never sat thru one so I have no idea what that looks like up close (terrifying, I’m sure)! But in my mind, I picture it the only way I can, like the object ridden sky in the Wizard of Oz. All kinds of things were stirred up by the winds, for good or bad – in Dorothy’s case, good, but not so much for the Evil Witch.
In Timothy’s case, Paul reminded him that gifts were embedded in his DNA, passed down from his mother and grandmother. He couldn’t let them lay dormant. Several versions put it thusly: Fan your gifts into a flame! Picture ash covered coals, dying for lack of tending or purpose, suddenly being called into action! USE THEM, the Apostle urged the young disciple, knowing these gifts were given to Timothy for a reason. And don’t be fearful or timid about it! Go forth with conviction and confidence. God has called you into service. Preach His Gospel unashamedly, boldly. Stir up the smoldering embers which were entrusted to you until it has become a full-blown fire!
A lot of us enjoyed smoked turkey on this past Thanksgiving. My brother in law made his version, injected with jerk spices. YUM! It came to mind, just now, how impossible a feat this would have been without a good fire, tended and stirred occasionally, for just this purpose.
And so it is with God and my fortunes right now. The air and the sky are full, rife with promise, just waiting for me to take advantage of them. As I recommit myself to my purpose, stirring up the gift that was bequeathed to me by those who came before me, God is meeting my efforts and redoubling them. Gifts and blessings are like that sugar in the bottom of your jar of ice tea which does no good if sweetness is not distributed throughout. It cannot lie fallow if it is to be effective. Or like the fire on your grill which needs careful attention if it is to remain active. You can’t let it die out if you want to enjoy the smoky, succulent meat. Lord, I pray that you would continue to bless me, let opportunities swirl and collect about me, so dense I cannot help but see what you have made available to me. Let me pluck them out of the sky and use them to benefit me, my family and even the world. And let the fire of your purpose continue to grow hot in me.