About 10 years ago I was in the kitchen and asked my mother if I could make some snicker doodles (those delicious sugar cookies with the cinnamon sugar on top, crispy outside and sweet inside). As I asked my mouth watered with anticipation. My mother said yes. I was giddy, I could make some wonderful cookies and share them (of course after trying a couple myself before that). However I did not know how long they would take and the precision required to make them. At one part of the recipe it called for a teaspoon of baking soda. This is where I made two mistakes. First (the unintentional) I put in baking powder instead. Secondly, (the intentional) I could not find the teaspoon so I grabbed a tablespoon instead. These seemingly small mistakes made these cookies go from yummie to something else. Of course in my pleasure seeking ignorance I had no idea that something was wrong. I could have also asked for help at any time. After the cookies came out of the oven, they were set to cool. They looked amazing. Every single one was perfectly round and fluffy. I took a cookie and tried it, I should have read the signs of the first taste and tried to tell people but I thought to myself “It’s still a cookie, I’m sure someone will like them… after all they are my cookies”. After dinner my family awaited the arrival of the so-good-looking snicker doodles. We all partook of the wonderful looking sweets. As our teeth sunk into the dough, the doughy uncooked nature of the cookies permeated our throats causing a communal bleh. The aftertaste of the cookies was pure baking soda – it was like eating a spoonful of Arm and Hammer. Quickly the cookies were thrown away, however my youngest sister (who was 5 at the time) wanted more. She did not care if they were bad for they were cookies. The desire for the desert overwhelmed the tastelessness of them. Of course my wise family had a second batch ready and once my sister tried the real thing she quickly relinquished the look-a-like yet horrible tasting counterfeits.
What did I learn from this? I’m not sure but at least there were some lessons.
1. God gives us the ingredients. Just as my Father’s money was used to buy the flour, salt, sugar, and other ingredients God gives us people, money, and other necessities of life. After all the cookies were thrown away I felt like I had wasted my Father’s money (no matter how little was spent on the cookies). I think that the regret I felt was a good thing, it taught me the cookie maker to be careful how I used what I was given. We, as a whole, are given much – it is a horrible offensive to not be thankful but also to squander the gifts we receive from our heavenly father.
2. God gives us the recipe. Just as when I deviated from the cookie recipe, disaster followed. When we deviate from God’s laws disaster follows.
3. Learn from mistakes. We are human and we do make mistakes. Sometimes the same ones over and over. Even if we squander God’s given ingredients we are forgiven (I thank God so much for that), however like a good father he teaches us that we will become more Christ like. Proverbs 3: 11-12 says “My son, do not despise the Lord’ss discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” We humans are beings of habits, what we have done before we have the desire to do again… even if it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. When God disciplines us he is doing it in love but we must also change our ways to follow his commands.
4. Beware of rushing into pleasure. In my rush to make the cookies (or crapies, I guess I can call them that) I made three mistakes. One was accidental but still disastrous. If I had read and understood the recipe then the accident would have not happened. The consequence of God’s law applies even to those ignorant of it just as the cookies would still have ended badly any way. The second mistake was purposeful. In my rush to partake the cookies I put too much of the wrong ingredient in. I should have kept looking for the right tool rather than take the first one I saw. However my largest mistake, my grave error was not asking for help. There were many moments that a hand would have been gracefully given (when I could not find the teaspoon, after I tasted my cookies, before everyone ate them, and so on…). Of course I am talking about wise people (like parents, mentors, and other Godly people). In first Kings 12 it says that: “Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon during his lifetime. “How would you advise me to answer these people?” he asked. But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.” This mistake of not listening to Godly people lead to the splitting of Israel. The discernment of knowing who to listen to is not hard, as usually those who are right are often those whom God has blessed (Pastors, parents, leaders).
5. Learn stay away from counterfeits. Just as my sister (who was 5) knew the cookies were bad but still are them, we all need to be careful that our minds and hearts are ignoring the pleadings of the Holy Spirit. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says that: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” Once the ‘real cookie’ is tasted then all the counterfeits in the world will not match up, the unfortunate fact about all of us is that we do not like to wait for the real and will settle for the fake.
Every time now that I make cookies (or even eat those delectable circles of sweetness) I reflect on the story behind the cookies.