Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Don't underestimate the power of chicken soup. Served with hugs, chicken soup is a literal opportunity to minister to someone who may need a hearty helping of comfort. That's why it's called comfort food. You serve it in tandem with the Holy Spirit who is the Ultimate Comforter.

I'm tempted to be envious of the biblical Martha who had the firsthand opportunity of repeatedly cooking comfort food for Jesus when He dropped in for dinner (perhaps unexpectedly?) with a dozen or more of His hungry friends. I'm sure she knew His favorite food and always had the makings on hand. Or I wish I had been among the women who followed Jesus when His entourage traveled on foot from village to village. They were responsible to make camp at night outdoors at some rest stop. They must have shopped at the local markets along the way and were joyfully prepared to team up with their sister followers to provide a hot meal for all. What unique opportunities they had to minister directly to Jesus!

What is there about “inasmuch as” in Matthew 25:40 that I don't understand? “And the King shall answer and say to them, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.'” 

In context Jesus said, “I was hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, in prison.” The disciples didn't get it right away. Okay, I get it! I understand now that when I cook the chicken soup and bring it with hugs and prayer and encouragement and hope and comfort to my friend who has just been assigned Hospice care in her home, I am literally, not symbolically doing it not simply for Jesus but to Jesus.

Certainly it cost me next to nothing in these modern times of food preparation convenience. It was no sacrifice of my time or talent. I'm not a gourmet cook, especially in my late season of life when everything takes longer to do. I didn't have to go into a barnyard and catch the chicken, chop off its head, pluck its feathers out and start from scratch. (I don't think I could ever have done that!) I simply stopped by the supermarket and picked out a fresh one all packaged for me, one that ran free range, not pumped up with antibiotics or hormones, one ready for the pot. I let it take its time to simmer, added the noodles, then delivered the quart jar of broth chocked full of chicken pieces to my friend with my God-hugs.

I'm not bragging on myself. I relate this with tears of thanksgiving for God's lavish goodness to me. I recall how often I have received the Lord's compassion and love and comfort in my times of affliction and need. In turn He enables and motivates me to comfort others. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). I don't want to be slow to get that connection. God anticipates that I will in turn be a good steward of the comfort with which He has embraced me..

There is certainly more than chicken soup under discussion here. It is symbolic of pouring myself out for others in countless ways because I get it—I do whatever I do as His child with whatever there is in my hand and in my heart with the assurance that I am ministering directly to my Lord. Instantly. No delay. Actually. Not envious of Martha or the ministering women followers of Jesus. I have the selfsame opportunity when I bring the chicken soup to my friend. Or mac and cheese. Or a whatever casserole. Or simply to sit quietly holding hands with my friend, giving my time to warm her with God's love and comfort as much as if I had brought a literal patchwork comforter to put around her shoulders.

Lord, who else needs the equivalent of chicken soup from me to You to them today?

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