take a lesson from the stock pot

"Good broth will resurrect the dead” - South American proverb

I am the Queen of Soup. I earned my title as growing grocery bills for my family of six caused me to probe the limits of left-over options. Happily, I have learned that the application of a little effort can turn one meal into many - just about anything can be boiled into savory submission.

The holidays are a productive time for the Queen of Soup, and she is equal to the challenge. There was a time when I thought the turkey carcass belonged in the trash after the holiday meal. I now know that that ruined shell, pillaged of its choicest offerings, is the secret repository of all that makes soup wonderful. Sure, it looks like something out of a horror movie, but it is culinary gold to those who will mine for it. And the Queen of Soup is just the gold-digger for the job.

Anyone who has ever made homemade turkey soup can tell you that it is a labor of love.  First, the carcass must be boiled to render the marrow. Then the broth must be strained and refrigerated so the excess fat can be removed. Then all remaining meat must be picked off of the bones to be added back into the soup. Absolute mess. Finally, after much chopping, simmering and tasting, the Queen of Soup is ready to ascend her throne and receive her accolades.

Sometimes the process takes days, so it’s not surprising that most of us are willing to part with the turkey after its headliner appearance. But long after the china and crystal have been returned to their cabinet, our family dines on a broth-laden memorial of the big meal. The Queen of Soup has a few subjects who perhaps do not value her work as they should. They have heard rumblings that other families feast on pizza the day after a big holiday meal. Yet they eat soup for a fortnight. What gives, O Queen?

I will tell you, Grumbling Subjects.  First, soup is free and pizza is not. Second, soup is healthy and pizza is not. Third (and the point of this little paean to soup-making), soup has deep spiritual truths to teach us, if only we will listen – truths that could alter the way we think about our pursuit of God. Yes, Grumbling Subjects, soup-making is a metaphysical experience. Let me tell you why.

A loaves-and-fishes thing happens when I make soup. Soup-making has taught me that time and patience render an unforeseen yield. Every turkey has way more to give than meets the eye. Each time I debone a carcass, the amount of meat still left on it astounds me. I realize now that for years I threw away two pounds of meat and two gallons of stock with every carcass that went to the landfill. That’s a couple of meals, and this Queen is on a limited budget. 

I realize I can be guilty of a similar wastefulness in the way I handle God’s Word. Sometimes I only seek to be nourished by it in ways that require little effort on my part. I seat myself at the Big Meal once a week and enjoy a generous serving of teaching. But if I take time during the week to do a little metaphorical "deboning" – by studying and meditating on a passage, by allowing it time to render its hidden treasures - the benefit to my spiritual life increases in a loaves-and-fishes way. Studying and meditating on the Word is meticulous and time-consuming work, but it renders up a feast and leaves nothing wasted.

I want to be a person who moves slowly enough to savor every morsel. I want to be a person who is methodical enough not to miss one precious bite.

You don’t have to become the Queen of Soup - I get that not everyone loves it. But be the Queen of Quiet Time. Love the Word enough to patiently and methodically render every bit of goodness it has to offer. Linger over it. Labor over it. Study and meditate. Therein is good meat that will turn spiritual beggars into royalty. Therein is good broth that will resurrect the dead.

Psalm 63:5-6
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

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