Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…Tasting goodness

As a PK or a pastor’s kid I lived in many different places. Our family moved away from the area of western New York state we knew as home when I was 4 years old and wouldn’t return in a permanent sense until 8 years later. When I was 12 years old my dad began serving a church in a small farming community near Rochester, NY. One of the things I loved about that move was that it placed us within an hour of most of our extended family. After eight years of being away from all of them it was wonderful indeed to live near them and see them much more often, this was especially true during the holidays. There had been years during our hiatus that we had not been able to return “home” for the holiday season and to be able to see grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins each Christmas was nothing short of wonderful.

One of the traditions during the seven years we lived in that area that I always looked forward to was the December morning each year that my aunt Judy would show up early with a back seat full of bags from the supermarket. She and mom would spend the entire day mixing and baking a plethora of various kinds of Christmas cookies. There were big ones and small ones. Flat ones and some that resembled small snowballs. There were sugar cookies, chocolate chip, you know the ones with the Hershey’s kiss in the middle. Some were made with nuts, some made with candy, some made with frosting, some without. When the day was over we seemed so rich! The table was covered with various plates loaded with cookies covered with red and green plastic wrap to be delivered to all of our family members. I knew this would mean that we were going to visit with some of my favorite people, and they would welcome us in and unwrap those wonderful plates and we would be invited to share them. But the best part of that day wasn’t seeing my mom and her sister having fun working together in the kitchen all day. It wasn’t the smell of baking cookies and fresh brewed coffee permeating every corner of the house. It wasn’t even the table covered in plates of yummy goodness or the promise of family visits. It was the mistakes. We were allowed to eat all of the mistakes! We weren’t told to have just one, no we could have as many of the broken, or slightly over or under done cookies we wanted. Mom and aunt Judy wanted the plates of cookies that would be shared to be perfect…so we got to enjoy all of the ones that didn’t make the cut. Tasting all those delicious examples of their work…the imperfection confections…that was the best part of the day!

This year hasn’t been what any of us expected when it began. I can say that with confidence. I don’t think a single one of us thought that it would be at all what it has turned out to be. There have been more twists and turns in the road that has been 2020 than could have ever been anticipated. Through all of it one thing has been as advertised…God has been so very, very good to us. Sure we have had to endure some things we have not liked. We have had to withstand much we would not have chosen, but it has been on my mind a lot as of late just how good, so very good God has been. His goodness is all around us. He has been giving us opportunities all year to become more like Jesus. Some of those opportunities we would not have chosen. Some of them we would characterize as problematic, troublesome, maybe even downright detestable. But just like the cookies that didn’t pass muster to go on display they have not lacked all recognizable value. Think about the parts of this year you could have done without, and then consider what God has taught you through those things. Think of the lessons He has presented you with and the value that has brought to your life. The book of James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. James 1:2-4 (NKJV) In other words we need to learn to welcome the trouble that comes our way because it means that we can enjoy a healthy dose of being perfected if we are willing for it. What we might want to reject may be what is intended to perfect. My experience as a child taught me that the ones cast aside can still be quite tasty. Psalm 34:8 tells us to Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who trusts in Him. That Psalm was not written to people who were experiencing a trouble free life, quite the opposite. It is directed to those who are experiencing trouble, difficulties and things they would not choose to go through. Sound familiar?

So as 2020 comes to an end, and as we look forward with hope that much of the trouble it ushered in…will be ushered back out with it, I encourage you to take joy in the trials knowing what good they have produced in your lives. Taste and see that the Lord is good…and has in fact been being good to you all year long…and enjoy all that He has been doing in your life!

So now…with a mouth watering, to taste His goodness…go be awesome!