Stirring Soup

Stirring Soup: My Vision

I pictured myself as a student chef. The master chef was a wise and critical man with an amazing ability to taste the differences in every food.

He instructed me to make a certain soup using wooden utensils to stir the soup. He walked away leaving me anxious to please the master with my soup making skills. I had the recipe that had been tried and refined by the master. All my ingredients were in place. My work was diligent and precise. The concoction and the experience was satisfying my every sense.

With all the ingredients prepared as taught it was time to stir the soup. The instructions of the master was to use the wooden utensil to stir the soup. I was very accustomed to using  my favorite hard plastic slotted spoon with the rubber handle. I liked how it felt in my hand. My  thoughts were “What does it matter, I’m just stirring the soup… the end result is SOUP.”

He came around when my soup was complete. With great anticipation I stood watching as he tasted the soup. With a racing heart I felt for sure that he would smile and congratulate me on my bowl of soup. My anticipated joy was interrupted by the actions of the master. He spit out the soup and had the look of sadness on his face. I was shocked, hurt, curious and devastated… “but master, the soup is made according to your recipe. Here is my soup.”…
The master replied “I asked for the soup to be stirred with the wooden utensil”. I stammered.. “but master, the soup was stirred and tastes great”. “I don’t want your soup” he replied.
“Why?” I questioned… “What difference does it make?” I followed all of his instructions and how can he tell anyway? So, I asked him “Why does it have to be stirred with the wooden utensil?… and how can you tell?”

“I am the master chef, you are the student. What I have, you desire. How can you ever experience my level of skill and knowledge if you cannot follow my simple instructions?” I was speechless. He continued “Why I do things is not your place. Obedience is your place.” I knew at that point that I deserved no further interaction with the master, but he continued. “What I have can be achieved, but only with obedience. Your understanding will grow as you follow my instructions.”

Sharing my true story.

This is a true story my friend… well, not true, but a true vision of mine. I still don’t know why the wooden utensil is important, but if the instructions say to use a wooden utensil, why would you use anything else? If the instructions do not clearly say “Do NOT use plastic or metal or ceramic or bamboo… Is it ok to use them even when the instructions DID say to use wooden utensils? I don’t know if this directly relates to using musical instruments for worship, but that’s the vision I got when I pondered the subject.

You see, I have believed my whole life that I was a Christian. I accepted Christ by following another Christian in the sinners prayer. This was a church camp experience for me. The feelings were real, my hearts desire to do the right thing was real. What I question now is… Was my Salvation real? Is my Obedience to Christ real? Have I even given the instructions enough of my time to understand what I am actually to obey?

What if the chef didn’t allow me to try again? What if this bowl of soup was my only shot at his acceptance? What if “I don’t want your soup” was the same as “I do not know you”?

Luke 13:27 New International Version (NIV)

27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

Our connection to Christ is the most important thing to ensure in our lifetime. I do not want to play guessing games with my Salvation.

This vision of Stirring Soup came to me after I finished the book Muscle and a Shovel by Michael Shank. It would be easier to write about the questions of Baptism in the book. However, that subject seems very clear to me. I do struggle with the concept of not using instruments in worship. The truth is that I don’t even really care about the music in church. I rarely sing aloud anyway. My singing skills are much less than adequate. Why does it matter? (I stir the soup, and I make soup)

What does Scripture say?

Here are some Scripture references about how we are to use music in our worship:

Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26 New International Version (NIV)

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Acts 16:25 New International Version (NIV)

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Romans 15:9 New International Version (NIV)

9 and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

“Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles;
I will sing the praises of your name.”

1 Corinthians 14:15 New International Version (NIV)

15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Ephesians 5:19 New International Version (NIV)

19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,

Colossians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Hebrews 2:12 New International Version (NIV)

12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

James 5:13 New International Version (NIV)

The Prayer of Faith
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

In all of those references they only used their voices. It does make some sense to me that we would worship with the only instrument that God created. The human voice.  I just wish that mine was a bit more in tune.

I’m not preaching.

It is not my desire to argue the points. Really I just want to share this experience. My heart is heavy with the subject of Salvation and Obedience to the word of God. I do wholly believe that we were  created to be a part of God’s plan. We are to live to glorify Him. It is only by our life in Christ that we can do this. I’m not willing to gamble eternity on my pride or on the doctrines of good people before me.

Ephesians 2:10 New International Version (NIV)

10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I want my one bowl of soup to count.

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7 thoughts on “Stirring Soup”

  1. I to was raised in a church without instrumental music, I was taught to sing aloud though I am tone deaf…. Psalms 81:1 Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob…… I think you need to embrace the joy of your singing and sing out loud your joy unto the Lord and you will have the perfect bowl of soup. I really loved your blog.

  2. Thank you for sharing your heart! What a great vision! The wooden spoon reminds me on faith. Gods instruction is simple: Believe in Christ and you will be saved! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8)
    It is not the feelings, not the hearts desire to do the right thing or even doing the right thing that saves us. Our Salvation is only real if we follow Gods instruction. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). I know, it sounds to simple, doesn’t it!?

    Interesting thought on singing there, even though there is lots of instruments in the bible, too.

  3. I love the comments so far.

    One of my favorite verses is simply, “…believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31) Such a simple act, but so powerful!

    I think all of the “extra” stuff comes as a result of this one act of faith. Our human, sinful nature is trumped by a desire placed in us by God to be obedient to Him. Conviction when we stray. Guidance. Correction.

    I’ve not read the book Muscle and a Shovel, but I’ll be adding it to my reading list as I’m very intrigued with the music aspect. Music is an incredibly important and personal part of my life. From as young as I can remember, I’ve always been drawn to music. To really open up and share with you, it speaks to my soul on a level that I really can’t put into words other than to say, when I’m worshiping God with my whole heart, completely ashamed and unrestrained, I feel like He’s revealing just the tiniest glimpse of what it will be like to worship Him in Heaven some day. It evokes such powerful emotion in me that at times it’s almost overwhelming. And while it’s very hard for me not to sing all the time (you know, when it’s not socially appropriate), I feel the same connection whether it’s a capella, instrumental, or both. I believe the Lord appreciates all forms of musical worship. Having been in many choirs and choruses, I will say there is certainly something to a thousand voices lifted up to praise Him alone. I think what matters is where your heart is at.

    Thank you for opening yourself up and sharing. It’s not easy to put yourself out there like that, especially when it comes to faith. I’d love to read more of your point of view if you decide to keep sharing.

    Blessings, brother!

  4. We’re thrilled over your decision to become a simple, first-century, New Testament Christian! A Christian only and only a Christian! With tears in my eyes your words caused me to think of Peter and what he said to those believers at Pentecost, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Let us continue steadfast in the Apostles doctrine serving the King of Kings! God bless you!

    1. Michael, thank you for your obedience to the Spirit. Your story has touched my life. The brother that shared your book with me will forever be a friend. We’ve only actually spoken once in person. Most of our interaction has been through texts and online. By his persistence we are friends and I’m glad that he saw enough in me to care. I still have a lot to learn, but now… unlike other times in my life, I have a desire to read the Bible.

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