Again this year making pan after pan of cornbread to be used for the pan of dressing my family looks forward to eating I made a mental list of more of my favorite things. On the top of that list is my cornbread pan, it is so old that I don’t ever remember it not being in the kitchen, it was my mother’s before it was mine. It is heavy, the outside has blackened from years of use over gas flames, but the inside of that pan is slick, seasoned, and perfect for making my cornbread. Next might be my coffee mug, the big, thick white one that I bought at the Brown Derby Restaurant, my coffee just doesn’t taste the same from any other cup. Then there is an old, over-sized tee shirt sporting some thin places and definitely ugly, but it is my favorite sleepwear. I have a little gold box with some letters from long ago that I take out occasionally to read. I own several Bibles, but my favorite is my old Dake Annotated, its pages are worn and coming apart, but that Bible always knows exactly where to open anytime I reach for it. These old, ugly, worn items make me feel good, comfort me, and work when I need them to work and everyone in the house knows that there are two things you don’t touch, the scissors I cut hair with, and my cornbread pan. I have a set of bright and shiny pans but when I make cornbread I reach for the old pan.
There are times that I feel like the most ragged, ugly, useless person in God’s Army and the one that is put under the cabinet to hide when company comes over, like my cornbread pan. But no matter how ugly it is, if I want to make a pan of bread, I reach under the stove, turn the flame on under it, bringing it to the point that when I pour the batter in, it immediately sizzles and browns the bottom so that when I slice it, it will slide right out without sticking to the sides!
Looking at the men Jesus chose to walk with Him I think they all look more like cornbread pans than shiny new cookware.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “some bodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
King James says it this way: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
I don’t mind being the old, ugly, blackened pan that is hidden from public view, if when God wants to do something special, He will reach under the cabinet and use me, knowing that everything I have gone through in this life has made me seasoned and ready for use. I want Him to be able to count on me, to know that I can take the heat and serve up whatever He wants me to do. What better calling in life than to be God’s cornbread pan? Can’t think of anything right this minute!
When things happen to you that rough you up, don’t get angry, you’re just getting seasoned!
2 Replies to “God’s Cornbread Pan”
I thought you were describing HOME.
The pan handed down from mom… blackened from years of cooking. Cant remember a time without it… Kitchen… Mom… HOME.
Home is more than four walls and a roof.
Home is hand-me-downs… Home is Mom’s kitchen. Home is the place you grew up AND the family and friends there. It’s the door jam with the marks on it showing how tall you were in the first grade, the second, the third… Home is the photo album and home movies. Home is sitting down to the table together to eat … especially when, at least once in a while, the meals … recipes from years back…
I think this sounds strange, and it feel strange to say it, and I don’t have a good segue, but the more I think about arranged marriage, the more I am in favor of it. I certainly see where it can go wrong, but I am having a hard time seeing where the alternative CAN go right.
My dad was a marriage counselor. I remember in our house he had two libraries. One for Bible study and the other related to counseling. I grew up poking around in them. Some of the counseling books dealt with sex. You can imagine my intrigue as an adolescent to thumb through such books when dad wasn’t around. I read a couple of them all the way through. Not just the sex parts.
One I remember, not the title, but some of the content, described a case study in this husband and wife and talked about how they met in college. They came from different towns halfway across the state from one another. They met as strangers. One came from a deeply religious Christian home, the other not so devout, but both from different faith heritages.
The description then made a comment that has always stayed with me. There would be no reason, except for these two lovebirds choosing each other, for the parents of them to ever meet, and if they did, practically no reason for them to be friends.
There is a sense in modern Western culture that ROMANCE is best idealized as two star crossed lovers together AGAINST the world.
And the more I think about it, and I am not some hopeless romantic type, yet that is a fairly good description of my ideal for it. The songs, the movies, even my own parents, all seemed to point here. The few places I even heard of arranged marriage, I felt a kneejerk contempt for it.
But sex is down there in the nub of this stuff, even if a couple doesn’t actually go through with it. I think about my parents… professed to be virgins when they married, but this did not stop them from getting divorced 26 years later. My aunt and her husband were almost in that same boat, but over the years it has come out that they were not quite the virgins they intended to be upon their wedding night, yet they are still together almost 50 years now. Met at Christian college and all.
And that’s the part that trips my trigger. All these people dating at Christian college, whether jumping in the sack or abstaining “going all the way” are still out there kicking the tires on these relationships and then trading up (or down, as the case may be) before the dust settles. Fifty years later, you go back to a class reunion with your spouse and meet old friends, some of whom you smooched with on the hayride way back in the day, but now your married to Edna who smooched with Frank in the movie theater all those years ago (or maybe even deflowered your wife! But still, we have our marriage all these years now… or not.
Its still a matter of musical chairs, of partner swapping no matter the degree of sex involved.
But if your marriage was arranged, then NOT.
This whole two-people-against-the-world stuff is too much AGAINST, I think.
On the contrary, if my marriage was arranged, I might, in some really strange sense have to LEARN to love my bride, but this love, ideally, would not be in a vacuum. On the contrary, my entire sex life would be a gift given to me by my parents. The world would be FOR us rather than against us. My family would be planned for long before I came along being young, stupid, and full of sexual energy I don’t know what to do with.
In our culture we “grow up and leave home” by design. We are all self made people. Get a career, make money, be successful. We are captains of our own fate.
The culture God made for us was not so homeless. It was a gift. It was intended to be a gift, full of support from everywhere, where all of creation celebrates, not that you conquered it as captain of your own fate, but celebrates that in your vulnerable trust all of creation sees God in you and celebrates that!
Yeah… Dad’s book described this couple that in their youth decided to hold their entirely different worlds together with the lynchpin entrusted to them by their parents to figure out all on their own, and to go out into a post sexual revolution culture to do it and in that US-AGAINST-THE-WORLD mentality to dare to have TRUST. But sadly we don’t have a clue what that is, and we have arranged our world and our mentality that cant cope.
Yes, I know I am talking about a very IDEALIZED version of arranged marriage, but I think its worth it.
ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW, SOMEONE OR TWO SHOULD WRITE A BOOK!