I am not particularly known for my culinary skills. I have some meals I can knock out consistently, but even my staples have had some notable flops. Like the time I thought the mixture was too dry so I poured in a little extra tomato sauce.
Well, some eyewitness accounts say it was the whole bottle. There were other ingredients in that mixture, but when it came time for eating, it felt a lot like, well, eating sauce out of a bottle.
Maybe some of my troubles came from the fact that my Mum was a great cook. That makes no sense! But bear with me. When Mum cooked, she would use the recipe only as a guide. As a child I would see her putting in a pinch of salt & a dash of herbs, adding bits and bobs that culminated in a mouth-watering meal for dinner. Naturally, I tried to emulate her, but without the years of experience under my belt, straying from the recipe didn't often end well! Often what felt like the right amount of pepper was actually overkill, with less than pleasant results.
But it struck me the other day that it isn't just in the kitchen that I like to do things by what I feel is right. And often what I feel is right isn't necessarily so. A vivid example that springs to mind is a band I saw at a Christian outreach concert quite a few years ago. They had a very heavy style of music, and having grown up with acoustic guitars and good ol' bluegrass fiddle, my young ears were figuratively bleeding. I was scathing of them when talking to my friends, even going as far as to call them ungodly with some strong adjectives.
Fast forward several years to when I met these band members at a friend's BBQ get-together. I didn't know who they were at first, and was struck by how passionate they were about music and using it for Christian outreach. They gave me one of their cds and I realized that they were the same band I had dished several years earlier.
Listening to it in the car later that day I realized I still really didn't like their music, but I suddenly saw that this didn't make it morally 'wrong.'
Jesus said: "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
While you won't catch me listening to that band, they are doing their bit to reach into a part of the world I have no means of reaching. I had judged them by what felt right to me, and I was wrong.
When I form opinions based on my thoughts and feelings I am setting myself up as the authority by which right or wrong is determined, but I am not an unbiased judge. My cultural background and social environment affects my thinking a lot more than I realize - often I end up putting too much sauce into the pan.
Humanity is adrift in a sea of differing morals, and without God's word acting as an anchor I would be just another wayward wave. God's word is the highest authority, and can cut through the half-truths and blurry lines constantly swirling around me. Instead of framing my worldview on my fallible views, it needs to be formed by the watertight word of God.
Next time I hit the kitchen I think I'd be wise to follow the recipe. The person who wrote it has more experience and can guarantee a tasty outcome. Likewise, instead of just doing what feels right to me, I want to follow what the Bible teaches â It's a perfect recipe written by the ultimate chef.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from wake-boarding to curling up with a good book on a rainy day.
Thomas Devenish's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html