By Kim Goodfellow
It’s barbeque season in the Midwest, at least officially. Our family doesn’t recognize start dates or stop dates to when we can grill out; we’ve been known to do it when it is below freezing outdoors.
In Kansas City, barbeque has almost a cult following. You are known by the type of BBQ that you prefer, whether it be cooked slow and mostly smoked; have good char on the outside; whether the rubs and marinades are vinegar based, mustard based, sweet, spicy, or combination of all. Recipes are protected under lock and key, with everyone claiming a “secret ingredient” that makes the difference in their preferred flavor.
This reminded me of when I heard a great sermon on BBQ. David, the preacher, spoke of his experience going to Australia, being invited to a BBQ, and then coming away disappointed in their version, because it was simply seasoned meat thrown on an outdoor grill. He then went on to explain how his idea of BBQ is the kind that takes time, where a rich marinade is created, and the meat is then soaked in the marinade for 24-48 hours until it was declared ready for the heat.
David would explain that it was all about time and the ingredients of the marinade. It must marinate and soak up the flavors, for the outcome to be exactly right.
Why all this talk about BBQ?
I’ve been in a ‘marinade’. Maybe you can recognize it as I describe it. Maybe you’ve been there too.
You see, sometimes God gives us a vision of a work He wants to do. We prepare ourselves, dreaming of what it might look like and imagining how we might act. Then He puts His hand out and says “Wait”. Frustrated and impatient, we long to jump ahead to the culmination of the vision, but we do our BBQ a disservice if we are too impatient. We must marinate first.
What does that look like?
It means soaking in His presence, His unique flavors coming in our being, infusing us with His character, purpose, and essence. Our being is changed with the addition of His holy marinade.
This takes time. We must look at His face, hear His words, abide in His presence. Sometimes He adds vinegar to cause the “meat” of our soul to be softened to accept the rest of what He wants to get inside of us. Sometimes He tenderizes us with external instruments. We must walk a faith walk, knowing our Pit Master knows what He’s doing, and His vision for the final product is superior to anything we can imagine.
This also takes the right combination of flavors. Salty, sweet, spicy, savory – it all counts. These flavors might come with correction, with gratitude, with trials, or with training. We are not the Pit Boss, so our only job is to submit to the Master’s hands.
THEN … in HIS time He will put us in the place that will finish His work. It is a partnership with the divine, for His purpose. We get to be the conduit for others to “taste and see that the LORD is good…”
If you are in a “marinating” season, then allow the ingredients to do their work… to soften, to add flavor, and to infuse His flavors into your life. Abide = marinate.