BBQing illustrates applying theology to life.
This insight occurred to me a few weeks ago. I’ve been trying to master smoking large cuts of meat so that I can make my favorite meals from BBQ restaurants.
When you start BBQing and smoking meat, most tend to overdo it: too much rub, too much sauce (if you’re using it), too much charcoal, too much peeking, too much adjustment, and too much poking. Greenhorn smokers just do too much.
With experience comes the wisdom of allowing the processes governing BBQing to work out to their delicious conclusion.
How does this illustrate the application of theology to life?
Because we can often be like a greenhorn smoker: too much. In our exuberance, we can quickly become legalists and apply standards to others by overdoing a good thing.
We read in Ecclesiastes 7:19–22:
19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. 20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. 21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you— 22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.
Ecclesiastes 7:19–22 (NIV)
What most people appreciate the most about the wisdom books of the Bible is how infinitely practical they are. Applying this wisdom, however, is more than just a little bit more difficult than reading and appreciating it. Kinda like reading a cook book versus actually cooking.
Such is the case with today’s passage. We can readily understand the benefit of possessing Godly wisdom (verse 19). Also, we can comprehend the meaning of verse 20: all humans are sinners. Even verses 21 and 22 also provide incredible guidance as an illustration of our own sinfulness and how to deal with others in their sinfulness.
Wisdom is so necessary in our world (and the world in which the passage was originally written!) because sin is so rampant and ubiquitous. Wisdom keeps societies from falling off the proverbial cliff—wisdom keeps societies from even playing at the proverbial edge!
Governing authorities, be they presidents, governors, mayors, or kings, can only turn the tide of societal foolishness by brute force and laws. But the individual sinfulness and selfishness of people make this difficult. It is those possessing wisdom living among the people who can retain a balance in society.
And tucked into this realization (of verse 19) is the lesson for us:
We are fallen creatures living with other fallen creatures all in desperate need of redemption and salvation.
As Christians, we are called on to act wisely among those who do not possess the wisdom the Holy Spirit gives us. After all, we are not any better than those without God’s wisdom, we are—as the expression goes—beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.
The illustration of verses 21-22 apply this truth: don’t respond to every unwise act around you. How miserable our lives would be if we reacted to every dumb thing people did. AND…how miserable our lives would be if everyone around us reacted to every dumb thing WE did.
So as you go about your day and the rest of your week, take it easy on the criticism–that’s a really strong spice and it’s way too easy to use too much. Take a lesson from the BBQ: don’t judge the product during the process. God’s not done with us or others: He’s still cooking and we’re still in His oven learning His wisdom.