At the time of this writing, 7:51 pm. it is still 93 degrees outside. In the kitchen, simmering on the stove is a huge pot of chili. This has always been my -when I don't feel like going to a lot of trouble or even really cooking- meal. Tonight though, even though I was tired when I began, I got into it. I think just about everything I had in the kitchen went into that pot of chili. After browning the ninety percent lean hamburger meat I began adding ingredients. I added chipotle seasoning, chopped onion, a can of seasoned beans, a huge bowl of white beans that my mother had prepared today ( from dried beans, not from a can), a can of black beans, drained, a can of fire roasted salsa style tomatoes, canned mushrooms (because I had forgotten I had fresh in the fridge), various bell peppers from the garden, two small hot peppers from the garden cut up very small, and several tomatoes from the garden, cut into chunks. Waiting off to the side is most of a cake of cornbread made by mom.
When I'm into making chili.... I'm into making chili, usually when I go all out like this, the chili is especially good.
But when you think about it, isn't that the way it is, or at least should be, with everything we do? Is it not true, that we get out of something, what we put into it?
Friendships..if we remember our friends, letting them know, even when there isn't a special reason that we're around and thinking of them, won't they appreciate that more? If we are there to lend a helping hand when needed or word of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on if needed, bring a special desert by for no reason other than to say, hello friend. There may even be a time when all you need do is sit there on the porch and watch the cars go by. Time and ingredients put in, that make a friendship stronger and better.
Work...When one shows up on time, every day and puts in their best effort, making as sure as possible that they have done their job correctly, creating the best quality possible, it creates the greater possibility that work will not only last but increase. When one does their best to get along with their coworkers and management, working as teams and not adversaries, the work day goes better, even when outside forces work against that happening.
School.... for those who are in school, (no matter what level) when you put forth your best effort, listening to the instructor, taking notes and actually studying, your resulting grades reflect that. When you accept each other as is and don't waste time creating needless drama, more is accomplished and everyone is able to grown and learn without difficulties.
Families...........no one knows you better than family. But even with family one has to make sure that they stay involved in the lives of loved ones. Whether they are across the street, across town or across country. Call them, wander over and pay a visit, spend time, even if its only a few moments here and there..just make sure they know you appreciate and love them. Older relatives or those with health issues may need assistance doing things, do them with gladness that you still have them in your life to assist. Talk to them, listen to their responses. It will make a big difference.
Fellowship............Many have said that they do not need to attend a church service to believe or worship. One of the purposes of church services is so that like minded people with the same purpose of heart can gather and spend time with one another, strengthening and building up, encouraging each other as they face the day to day. If one is a member of a church but never attends, all they have is their name on a roll book somewhere. There is more to fellowship than sitting in a pew listening to a sermon and singing a few songs. There's more to it than tossing a few dollars into a collection plate, even though that is a part, it isn't the main part.
Fellowship with like minded people, helps one grow stronger in their walk, because they know they are not alone. It helps them to learn as each shares their thoughts. It helps when you know that others are thinking of and praying for you in times of stress or distress. They know when another is in need and go out of their way to fill that need. Yes, songs are sung, but while one voice sounds sweet, a room full of voices joined together sounds so much sweeter.
Mission Field...that wide open place where so many don't know or don't understand your beliefs and usually if they have any ideas, get it wrong. It is saying, I believe in the Virgin birth, I believe in His ministry, I believe He died for me, but rose again, is alive and is coming back one day. it is where one or a group goes out and helps to build a handicap ramp, repair a roof, rake a yard, feed the hungry or offer to pray for another. It is saying, this is what I believe, I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in a certain way to act, but I won't judge you if you chose to believe otherwise, I will love you anyway. It is saying, I believe in the power of faith, in the healing properties of trust, faith and hope, I believe in taking care of others.
If you put in love, compassion, honesty, encouragement, a ready helping hand, kindness, if you put in the good ingredients, the results will be so much better. No matter what it is you are doing.
And by the way..... the chili is delicious.