I love lemon flavored baked goods! Lemon meringue pie? Yes please! Lemon cake? Pass me a slice! My favorite lemon treat is no longer in existence. It was Jacksons jumble lemon cookies sold in a white and green bag. I loved those cookies!!! My first boss, who was also my student pastor at church, loved them too and sometimes I’d bring him some. (Cookies are always a great way to get in good with a boss lol!) They were delicious. The cookies were the perfect balance of crunchy and chewy without being crumbly.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like cookies. Your favorite cookie may vary, but a cookie is apretty universal food. I personally love making homemade cookies and for a long time I felt like store-bought cookies were the rejected weird cousin in the cookie family. I mean they were part of them, but no one really liked them as much. As a mom, I’ve realized this is simply not the case. Store-bought cookies are better than no cookies at all. In fact, my kids’ refined palettes typically prefer store-bought many times. (I will never understand that.)
Life is like cookies. Not to get all Forrest Gump on you, but it’s true! Somehow we’ve allowed the Pinterest pressure to make us feel like an unloved store-bought cookie who just can’t hang with the homemade, warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie. Even worse, we sometimes view ourselves as the now non-existent Jackson’s lemon cookies who have nothing to contribute to the current “market” whether it be motherhood, ministry, the workforce, or any of those other things we often associate with value. We compare the ingredients of our life to that of others and think we couldn’t possibly measure up. Or maybe if we want to be really honest and authentic, we compare and think our life is much more valuable than the others around us.
But just like we can’t have a healthy balanced diet if we only eat cookies — but wouldn’t that be incredible??? — we can’t have a healthy balanced life if we are always comparing ourselves to what someone else has to offer. I love how God created us all different! 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 describes the Body of Christ. It speaks of the different gifts and callings we have; even two people with the same spiritual gifts have different personality quirks which make their execution of gifting look different!
[Side note: hospitality is not a spiritual gift. It is a mandate for every believer. However, some people’s personalities find practicing hospitality to be more natural than other personalities.]
Verses 14-25 state: “Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.”
Friends, it doesn’t matter if you identify as a foot, hand, toenail, Oreo, or a warm, homemade cookie - we all have a part to play! We all can meet the needs of someone. We can all carry out Romans 12:13 - “Contribute to the needs of the saints, and seek to show hospitality.” We are not called to minister to every saint and stranger, but we can minister to a few! Can I encourage you to swing by a local bakery, pull out your cookbook, or just buy some Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and deliver them to someone today? With cookies in hand, go reintroduce yourself to the neighbor that you can’t remember their name. With cookies in hand, thank your child’s teacher on a random Tuesday because they work so hard for kids that aren’t theirs. God has given you the ingredients you need to minister where you are! Let’s get to it!