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”?
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:
30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
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.”
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.
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
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.
12 He says,
“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”
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.
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.