My wife loves cooking. When we take road trips she passes the time by reading cookbooks. When browsing the TV, she usually settles on a cooking show. Any cooking show, it seems to me. When we watch jeopardy and they introduce a food category, she usually knows the answer. When I get stumped on a crossword clue that includes spices or food, she helps me fill it in. I am pretty well limited to breakfast: bacon, eggs and biscuits, or grilling steak, hamburger or salmon on the gill out back.
It all seems to come down to the spices. How you use them: which spices you put in, at what time, in what amount. She has a pantry full of spices. When it gets beyond salt, pepper, and a little garlic, I am pretty well lost.
Last year we visited the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, Texas. In 1885, at a corner drug store in Waco, Texas, a young pharmacist named Charles Alderton was experimenting with various flavors for a new soda he could serve. He came up with a blend of 23 flavors people loved. Customers called it the “Waco” until the owner of the drug store came up with the name Dr Pepper, after his good friend. They had trouble making enough to meet demand. Today Dr Pepper is distributed in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe, Mexico, South America, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. They still use the same 23 flavors that remain a secret.
Harland Sanders learned to cook from his mother when he was 7. In 1934 he started selling fried chicken from his roadside filling station in Corbin, Kentucky. It took a few years to perfect his secret 11 herbs and spices. But when he did, people liked it. They liked it so much that the governor made him an honorary colonel. Today KFC is served in 119 countries and territories worldwide. When we were in Prague and I got hungry for a taste of home I walked to a nearby KFC. They seem to be everywhere.
It is amazing what the right blend of flavors and spices can accomplish. What is true for food is also true for the way we live and the way we speak. Life is more fun, satisfying and meaningful when we find the right “spices.”
Jesus recognized this when he told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost its taste, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” (Matthew 5:13).
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” (Colossians 4:6).
Unlike Dr Pepper and KFC, the ingredients are no secret. The spices and flavors that make every Christian life desirable are listed in Galatians. “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23). When these “spices” are cooked into our souls, it changes our families, friendships, communities and the world.