“God gives us the ingredients for our daily bread, but he expects us to do the baking.”—Chip Ingram
I stood there, contemplating the recipe. Would it be good? What if my modifications/changes to keep the recipe gluten-free, cause it to fall flat? Furthermore, what would my daughter and her friend think? I could be investing 20-30 minutes of my time that may ultimately end up wasted, and require me to start all over with something different. On the other hand, the recipe seemed to possess all the key ingredients . . .
I was hoping to create muffins that were not only gluten-free, but also infused with much love and, of course, yummy flavors that would appeal to my daughter’s taste preference. I was putting complete confidence in a recipe I had never before made, created by a person whose recipe-website I had never before used. Hmm . . . That is when it hit me. Baking was similar to our faith life.
According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.” Furthermore, according to the dictionary, faith has two meanings: “Complete trust or confidence in someone or something;” or, “a strong belief in God.”
Faith is as intangible as love; and yet, we all can recognize the feeling of love. Love, like faith, requires the proper ingredients, such as people, as well as loving actions. Examples of these ingredients in action might include (but certainly aren’t limited to): a man who thoughtfully writes a love letter to his beloved for no special occasion—only the feeling of love; the mother who painfully tells her child, “no,” not because she doesn’t want her child to be happy, but because she loves her child enough to give him boundaries; or, the grandchild who sets aside a work project, in spite of a pending deadline, in order to help grandparent. The point is, without the proper ingredients fueled by action, love may not thrive or grow. In fact, without action, love may stagnate, flounder, or perhaps even wither. Thus, it is with faith—and even baking!
Faith, without the suitable ingredients that are further energized by a recipe for action, cannot thrive. While it is easy to say, “I have faith in God,” action is still required. Just as I could have stood at my kitchen counter stating that, “I have faith in this recipe,” but then didn’t make the muffins, did I really have faith? Furthermore, there is no one action that defines faith, just as there is no one recipe to successfully bake muffins. Rather, it often those little, day-to-day choices and actions, that demonstrate, build, and foster one’s faith.
Compared to the steps for building one’s faith, baking muffins is relatively easy. I have read and baked a wide variety of recipes over the years to recognize what basic ingredients should be part of a quality baked good; therefore, it is a merely a matter of selecting a recipe with the flavors that suit my family’s taste buds. Then, the key is following the recipe, step-by-step, in order for the muffins to bake up into the consistency of a mini-cake with delightful aromas and delectable taste.
Likewise, there is the Holy Scriptures, prayers, meditations, inspired readings, church, teachers, priests and/or pastors offering a plethora of recipes on how to put our faith into action—depending upon our innate taste preferences—by that I mean, the inner calling. For some, the inner calling may require a quite visible faith-recipe, such as, mission-work, ministering to the sick, teaching Sunday School classes, caring for the homeless, working in hospice, teaching children, and so forth. For others, their faith-recipe may be more reserved, but absolutely just as valid, such as a private prayer/devotional room, reading the Bible or other inspired/devotional type reading during a work break, being at the ready for service to others behind the scenes, being the person who is willing to take time to listen to co-workers, and so forth. Just as there are wide array of ingredients for serving up muffins, there are potentially an unlimited components for serving up faith.
However, just as muffins require certain basics in order for the chemical reaction to occur, turning individual ingredients into one tasty treat; faith, similarly, requires key elements in order to turn individual gifts into the beautiful body of Christ. For muffins, baking powder or baking soda, salt, flour, fat source, sugar, liquid, and egg are typical baking essentials. Likewise, faith also demands basic components, such as frequent encounters with the Scriptures, daily prayer/meditation, and regular guidance from a trusted priest, pastor, or teacher.
The basics for muffins, such as flour, salt, baking powder/soda are required for any style muffins–just as our faith-life requires certain basics.
Once given the basics, muffins can be imparted with a multitude of flavors; however, if were not for the heat of the oven, no matter the quality of the ingredients, the batter would never change. Thus, it is with us. Our faith will only expand, just like my muffin batter, when heat is applied. It is through the extreme heat that the chemical reactions occur. Some recipes call for a bake time of 20-25 minutes in a 325-degree oven, while others require 45-50 minutes at 375 degrees. Therefore, it is worth remembering, (and I say this to myself as much as to anyone reading this) that when encountering the heat of our oven-of-life, no matter for how long or how hot, keep in mind the humble muffin. Then, allow those basic ingredients to provide you with the “assurance of what we do not see” while in the midst of life’s heat; and, may it allow us to confidently rely on our faith that all is at it should be in order for us to become “baked” into the best version of ourselves.
The liquids without the basics ingredients and heat cannot become the dozen muffins–nor can we fully “become” without the basics of regular faith life actions.
Even when you combine the wet with the dry basics, without timed exposure to heat, muffins cannot come to fruition–neither can we without the ingredients of our faith recipe exposed to the heat of life.
P.S. I did bake the new recipe with a few modifications; and, my daughter and her friend indeed liked it. In fact, her friend ended up eating four! Therefore, I share my reconstructed recipe with you. I hope you will have faith to bake them up sometime!
The recipe follows below.
It is worth remembering the humble muffin when experiencing great heat from the proverbial oven-of-life.
**Gluten Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
¾ cup white sugar or equivalent substitute, such as Stevia
¼ cup oil (vegetable, coconut, or even applesauce, if you prefer no additional fat)
2 eggs (or equivalent substitute)
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup water
1½ **gluten free all-purpose flour (I prefer Cup-4-Cup brand.)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
(**You do not have to use gluten-free flour if you do not need/want it.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line muffin pan with parchment papers or grease.
Mix sugar, oil, and eggs.
Add pumpkin and water.
In a separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.
Sprinkle tops with love dust; a very light dusting of sugar, if desired.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.