I love fried okra. It is my absolute favorite vegetable. Now hear me out. Regular okra, steamed okra, and gumbo okra is just plain nasty, but when hot oil cooks any of the nutritional value out of okra, it becomes glorious.
During a summer in the early 2000s I was serving as a youth pastor down in Pearsall, Texas. It was my first time living and cooking on my own. One day I decided I wanted to fry okra. I went to the store that day and bought a bag of okra, milk, eggs, and cornmeal.
Now, this was before the internet and tasty YouTube recipes. I asked a senior member of the church for a recipe and they gave me a pinch and pour recipe for my evening meal.
That night I got my only pan out, a wok, poured the oil in it, dumped the bag of frozen okra in, added the cornmeal, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper, stirred it all together, and then turned on the burner.
The best way I can describe the atrocity that came out of my pan is that it was a glob of inedible, half burnt, and half frozen garbage.
I may have had all the correct ingredients in the mix, but my failure to use them in the right way created a disaster.
Let me make an awkward transition here.
As we look at our nation, one which we had such high hopes for and one which seems to be a glob of inedible, half burnt, and half frozen garbage (too much?), we have to ask questions about how we got here.
We may have put all the right ingredients in, but we have failed to use them in the right way.
When we allow the gospel to transform the heart first, we will then see our nation turn back to Christ. This will include seeing our government pass laws that reflect the values of a nation full of Christians. This is the recipe that will change our nation. It has to start with the gospel of peace.
When you try to advocate for Christian things through the force of the government, you will end up with what we have today. Because the ingredients are in the wrong order, all our stirring just exasperates our mess. You can’t force people to be what they are not. You can’t legislate godliness.
So here we are, with the mess we have. How do we fix it?
In Pearsall 20 years ago there was no way I could fix the mess that I had created. I had to toss out the mix that I had created and start over. I had to start over and do it right. Use all the right ingredients and cook it the right way.
I genuinely believe that is what we need at this moment. We need to toss out (repent) the mess we have made. There is no fixing it. There is no amount of stirring that will save this pot.
We need to start over. Cook it the right way through loving our neighbors, serving our community, and through intentionally sharing the gospel with folks who need the peace of Christ.
We need to cook the recipe the way God wrote the recipe.
Today, are you continuing to stir the pot of half burnt and half frozen garbage, or are you ready to start over and do things God’s way?