If you walked into my kitchen and looked around, you would see a five burner stainless steel name brand gas cooktop, a stainless steel range hood and a nice French style (freezer on the bottom, two doors at the top) stainless refrigerator. If you glanced in my cabinets, you would see shiny Williams and Sonoma All-Clad cookware with a matching stock pot, pasta pot and colander. On my countertop there are Hinckel knives from Germany. I have cool small appliances like grinders, choppers, graters, rice steamer, two crock pots, electric skillet, wok, three kinds of mixers, and a roasting oven, (that will roast two chickens at a time) just to name a few.
If you talked to me about food preparation, ingredients and terminology, I can talk a good talk. My favorite spices are herb de Provence (a yummy combination of rich spices and a little hint of lavender) and fresh ground nutmeg. I know the difference between braise, broil, and bake. I know how to marinate, mascerate, and infuse.
But…even though I have the equipment of a chef, the vocabulary of a chef, and I can cook, I AM NOT A CHEF. I am only an average cook and I can honestly say I don’t enjoy cooking very much.
If you saw my kitchen equipment and talked to me about food, you would probably mistake me for a chef (at the very least a great cook) based on how I look, how I talk, and how I act.
I am GUILTY of this kind of mistake so often. Because I am in full-time ministry at a church, I come in contact with numerous people in our church, other churches, and in para-church organizations. If I am not careful, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of jumping to quick conclusions about other people.
If someone is well-groomed, well dressed, and smells good, then I decide she must be a Christian. If she uses nice words and even drops the occasional Christianease (Christian speak), I decide she must be a Christian because she has the vocabulary down pat. If she goes to church, Bible Study in middle of the week, and serves often, then she must be a Christian.
But, what if I met someone who didn’t exactly have the nice wardrobe and the right hair style and make up? What if I met someone who had a potty mouth and used profanity and questionable slang terms? What if her life was in so much turmoil that she barely made it to church every Sunday? Would I assume, based on what I saw and heard, that she might not be a Christian?
If we are honest with ourselves and each other, we will admit that we are quick to jump to conclusions about others based on what we see and what we hear. As humans, we assume a lot about people everyday. As believers, we assume a lot about who is a Christ-follower and who is not.
It gives me great comfort and freedom to know that it is not my responsibility to decide what’s inside another man or woman. In 1 Samuel 16:7 the Lord gave Samuel a command and then gave him a reason for the command, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his (Saul, my emphasis)stature, because I have rejected him(Saul); for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
What do you notice first about another person? How quick are you to come to a conclusion based on what you see and hear from someone? How will you temper judgement with grace this week?
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