“Prepare this healthy, delicious meal in seventeen minutes,” the host of the television cooking show claims.
Why did it take me ninety minutes, and why did my meal lack the color and glamour of the one on the screen?
Don’t you love to watch celebrity chefs produce picture-perfect entrees? And have you noticed they’re not standing on their heads retrieving a misplaced sifter or lamenting over the carrots they forgot to buy? How do they do it?
Although I’m sure Emeril and Rachael have extensive training and experience, part of the answer lies in the preparation. Sous-chefs purchase, wash, slice, dice, and arrange ingredients before the star even graces the stage to thunderous applause.
The necessary tools and ingredients are on the table, but the work doesn’t start or end there. Let’s pull back the curtain and peek at the chef’s timeline before fame and fortune appeared.
Professional chefs invest a lot of time in culinary education and spend years perfecting their style. Disappointments, fallen soufflés , burned flan, and cut fingers precede that starched, monogrammed jacket.
Even chefs with prep teams and numerous Michelin stars, use two ingredients of successful service: preparation and hard work.
As Christians, we know that God designs work for us to do and sets high expectations.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10
God equips all believers to pray, tell others about Jesus, extend kindness, and help the poor, among other deeds. Each day He places on our “table” all that we need to serve Him, including opportunities.
Our heavenly Father uniquely gifts us to complete assigned tasks in His kingdom’s work (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). The writer of Hebrews said:
Now may the God of peace …equip you with everything good that you may do his will.Hebrews 13:20-21
In addition to God’s provision, we need Him—His presence, His voice, His wisdom, and His strength. Sometimes we exercise a gift or talent He’s already given us, and at other times, He develops our skill after we say, “Yes” to His call and seek Him for guidance.
As good stewards, we can utilize the gifts God places on our “table” by preparing well and working diligently to serve Him. How can we know God’s will and prepare to obey Him?
Suggestions for Preparation
Spend time in prayer asking God to deepen your relationship with Him and show you His will for your service in this season of life. I find this step necessary each day. Although Jesus was God Incarnate, even He sought the Father’s will in prayer.
- Read the Bible.
Listen for God’s guidance as you read and study. Ask Him to lead you to service opportunities and equip you.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.2 Timothy 3:16-17
- Record His answers in a journal.
Is He showing you the first steps? Do you see a Bible character to emulate or know a person to consult? Do you need to step forward as Esther did for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)?
- Complete a spiritual gifts inventory.
Ask at your church or search a trusted online site for a spiritual gifts inventory that could help you discern your gifts.
- Prepare physically.
Service is not always easy. Choose healthy foods and get adequate rest to generate energy for each week’s service.
- Look for mentors.
Is there someone with the same gifts you have who has more experience? Moses served as a leadership mentor for Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land.
When God called me to direct Vacation Bible School, I knew I needed help. After praying, I requested guidance from a mentor whose experience and wisdom exceeded mine.
The former VBS director shared ideas for schedules, materials, and special activities. In addition, she answered numerous questions for which I was grateful. Asking for help prepared me for the job.
Ingredients for Successful Service
Chefs prepare and labor diligently to serve delicious entrees, using all that is set on the table before them. Although God places all that we need on the “table” before us each day, we can give our best by using two key ingredients for successful service: preparation and hard work.
Only expert chefs earn Michelin stars but Christ-followers who prepare and use their gifts as the Lord directs, look forward to Him saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
Please share the ways you prepare for the work God calls you to do or tell us how God led you to a place of service. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Bible verses are from the ESV.