As my birthday drew close, Clara (4) designed the perfect birthday present. She wanted to cook dinner for me. She had my full approval so as a show of support I dropped hints with various family members that perhaps someone should help her with this pursuit. Like a game of "pass the secret" gone bad that buck got passed right back around to me.
I found myself serving as her planning, shopping and cooking assistant. We chose a stuffed chicken breast from Costco that she could microwave, whole wheat pasta that she could top with butter and Parmesan, strawberries and for a decadent dessert - brownies with ice cream and chocolate sauce. As I helped her prepare each dish, she glowed with the pride of her accomplishment and waited expectantly for my encouragement and praise.
In the end I was glad no one had volunteered to help her. I won't soon forget the moments we shared in the kitchen. This birthday she really gave me two gifts - a meal and the joy of watching her heart transformed with kindness.
This morning the passage is 1 Corinthians 10:19-33. Paul is driving home the point that we have complete freedom in Christ but need to choose to exercise that freedom circumspectly. Clara's innocent gift of service to her mother blessed an entire family of six. All of us enjoyed her simple but delicious meal. Most importantly, she demonstrated what it looked like to do far more than we are judged capable.
I have yet to tell a single person that she cooked dinner for my birthday who did not respond in great surprise. No one would believe a four year old could prepare a meal. No one would expect a Christian to consistently consider the "good of many" either. In the 33rd verse of this scripture that's exactly what Paul instructs us to do.
I am challenged this morning to consider what God is asking me to do that's far beyond me. It was Paul's unwavering commitment to his purpose that allowed him to accomplish far more than anyone would expect of him. At the end of verse 33rd he states that purpose - that they may be saved.
Jesus, I am willing. Ask me to do far beyond that which I feel capable. Just like I stood by Clara's side at the stove, You are with me. Unlike me, You will not politely suggest someone else assist. You jump at the chance.