Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Top Chef

The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil.
-- Numbers 11:8

The Bible is your best resource for the truth about what happens to us after we die. But believe it or not, certain reality TV shows also offer glimpses of the afterlife.

Bravo TV's Top Chef gathers groups of ambitious, up-and-coming chefs from restaurants across the nation to showcase their culinary expertise. And--as with most reality shows these days--each contestant has notable strengths and weaknesses...and with personalities to match. 

Most of the show's episodes include so-called Quick Fire and Elimination challenges, which usually involve ingredients provided by the show to cook yummy (but improbably) dishes--and all within designated time and budget limits. For example, one memorable challenge directed the chefs to whip up gourmet appetizers and entrees from food purchased at a gas station! Other common challenges involve team collaborations for larger culinary projects, such as an entire multi-course meat-themed dinner for a group of hungry Colorado cowboys.

Where's the biblical connection? After completing their assigned challenges, the chefs stand before a panel of judges to account for their creations. Those who impress the judges--such as with their dishes' overall taste and presentation--progress to the competition's next round for even harder challenges (and greater rewards). And the chefs who fail to impress the judges--either through their dishes' poor quality and appearance, or even their sloppy kitchen leadership skills--are told to pack their knives and leave.

OK...The comparison between reality TV and the afterlife isn't perfect. But there are some obvious parallels. Contestants on Top Chef start out with certain ingredients (resources), talents and time limits for creating something worthwhile--and often while facing difficult circumstances. Likewise, Christ-followers start with certain amounts of talent, wisdom and other resources to introduce others to Jesus, make disciples and serve as the hands and feet of the Savior--and all within a defined period of time (our life spans).

What's more, the parallels continue because one day, we'll all stand before the Judge to account for the way we lived our lives and used the resources He gave us. It's important to note that those who have in faith accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are already guaranteed to receive the greatest prize of all: complete forgiveness of sins and an eternity of joy with our Creator. But the Bible reveals that we'll also be rewarded for how we lived our lives according to His will and endured our own particular Quickfire Challenges. So like the successful Top Chefs who used their time and resources to please and impress the judges, we should hope our own Judge will soon proclaim, "Well done!"

So how are you using your God-given gifts and talents? The answer has eternal implications. And what's more, the kitchen timer is running.

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