We understand the adage “too many cooks spoil the broth” to mean that splitting a task in too many directions can be counterproductive. Certainly, having five people with equal authority directing a play or project is a prescription for trouble. Invariably, there will be disagreements and power plays which will sabotage the group’s efforts to reach the desired goal or achieve a given purpose. A friend of mine worked in a store with two managers as a teenager. One of her supervisors was all about quality and the other was all about quantity. Needless to say, their conflicting priorities only served to tear the store apart and lead to its closing down.
What does any of this have to do with living our faith in this society and reaching heaven? Actually, everything, for we must ask ourselves, “When it comes to our faith, how many cooks are in our kitchen?”
You Cannot Serve Two Masters
Scripture reminds us that we cannot serve two masters (Lk 16:13) and it further illustrates these as God and wealth. By wealth, we can understand not only the material but also all things earthly based. Make no mistake about it; God and this earth are two very different cooks, and they prepare very different meals.
God is the Master of eternal love, selfless devotion, and truth. While it might seem harsh to some, the earth has always been the realm of the devil, who is the master of the temporary, of hatred, and of deception.
It should be obvious that these two masters cannot be reconciled where truth has any place. There is clearly no middle ground between them given how absolutely contradictory they are. One either lives for eternal, selfless love and truth or; temporary, selfish, self-love and deception. These are the two masters and we choose one of them by the weight of our words, actions, beliefs, and causes. The world will hate you for choosing God as your guide ( Jn 17:14) and you have to accept that because pleasing God means everything and pleasing this world ultimately means nothing. Do you want to know which master you serve? Ask yourself which causes you champion, which labels you seek or avoid, and which values you personify. Who do you want to please, God or this society? Choose your master.
You Cannot Have Two Opposing Cooks and Meals
Imagine a vegetarian having a steak dinner or a diabetic munching on sugar cane. The image is so paradoxical as to be tragically humorous. The inherent message is that what matters is not what one calls oneself but what one feeds on. The vegetarian who eats steak is a hypocrite or a liar because he labels himself on thing but eats the exact opposite.
Our Lord’s meal promises eternal life and truth. This world’s meal is all about earthly pleasure and gains with little regard for truth. Christ gives us himself and expects us to give of ourselves to others. He sacrificed himself out of love for us and expects us to offer ourselves as instruments in the service of God and others.
We cannot hedge our bets with the meal we want our lives to represent. Unless we fully embrace and embody the meal that Christ offers us, we will in truth be accepting the default meal offered by this earth. Christ said that his food was to do God’s work and accomplish God’s will.
The False Bridge
If indeed, the meal offered by Christ and that offered by this earth are so different, we might rightly ask ourselves how so many can so easily stroll between them. The answer is that these travels are built on the false bridge of rationalization. Rationalization has been powerfully defined as serving ourselves at the expense of truth. When we become so adept at serving ourselves that we can easily warp truth in our favor, we have become masters of rationalization.
In a way, the one who rationalizes is worse than the insolent rebel. The latter brazenly rejects truth, as Lucifer did. The former, however, pretend to have truth on his side. The latter disrespects truth openly by declaring to have a better version. The former, however, disrespects truth furtively by daring to distort truth itself.
The devil began by being the insolent rebel but has found his most effective cover by warping truth to make sin more comfortable. I would rather face an enemy in frontal fashion than deal with one who cleverly pretends to be my friend waiting for the moment to strike.
Rationalization is the false bridge between sin and acceptance of that sin. It is the currency of a society too adept at spending this false coin to care about truth. Pretending that sin is acceptable if so and so or shifting sin from objective truth to subjective taste is the crux of rationalization. Pretending what is true only creates more lies.
Choose Your Cook
So we see that we cannot serve God and this earth. We cannot pretend to follow Christ while pursuing the approval of this world. Seeking the praise of this world will never lead us to Calvary but, in fact, in the opposite direction. We must begin by choosing God as the cook of our meal, of our destiny. We must follow this up with the commitment to embrace and live that meal offered by Christ.
Obviously, we cannot embrace what this world offers without pushing off, to some degree, what God offers. If we are to truly serve and glorify God, to follow Christ, and to be The Almighty’s instruments in the service of God’s Will, we must serve only God as our master.
If we try to live for God and for this world, we will do neither, and we know what Scripture says about those who are lukewarm ( Rev 3:16). In fact, those who try this will end up serving the world more than God.
Ultimately, we must live in this world without becoming a part of this world. It is our mission, using our talents, to bring God to this world, and to serve those who need and want God’s touch in this world.
So choose God as your cook and His meals as your nourishment. Reject this world’s offerings as temporary, superficial, and false. Remember, you are what you eat.