Saturday, July 25, 2009

Recipes to Live By

I like to eat. I've had fancy foods which I thought were "good" at best, and I've eaten things I couldn't pronounce from ingredients I won't tell you about at this time, but my all time favorites are just plain old down home country meals prepared with more heart than fancy recipes. With that thought in mind let me share a "bite" with you.

Any one who knows me, will have to admit I'm not one much for fluff and the fancies of life. What you see is pretty much what you get and I generally gravitate to the simplicities with more of a country aspect, so let me tell you what I've learned about the chuck wagon cooks from the cattle trail drives. They, and their chuck wagons, were the life blood of the trail drive. Not only was the cook "The Cook", he was also the tailor,dentist, doctor, banker and usually the most surly of the bunch. You learned early on not to criticize his fare, even if you had a hard time swallowing it. It could be hazardous to your health in more ways than one; you probably wouldn't die from his cooking skills, but an insulted cook could insure your demise by lead poisoning from a neatly placed round in a heart beat.

The cook was the first to arise in the morning making breakfast for the entire crew, and the last to go to bed at night after all the pots were cleaned and the next meal set in order and ready for the fire. But the most important thing the cook did was to move the tongue of the chuck wagon and point it in the direction of the North Star. The reason being was so the trail boss would have a type of compass to point out the direction he was to move his heard that day in relation to the star. Again profundity is found in the simplistic. Direction once again coming from the Heavens.

Isn't is ironic the tongue of the chuck wagon, the rolling store house of daily sustenance, always started out pointing in the direction of the North Star up in the Heavens? There might be a lesson in this. The one individual who was responsible for feeding the entire crew knew and understood daily direction was more important than any other aspect of his job because if he couldn't provide the correct direction, after looking to the Heavens, nothing else mattered because the destination would never be reached and he only carried enough supplies to get from the starting point to the trails end. Matthew 2:1-12 tells how wise men, no number given, started out following a star that lead them to a baby in a feed trough, who would grow to feed not only 5000 men, not counting women and children, but eventually all man kind through his broken body only 33 years later.

I've found when I rely on my own instincts and "level" my gaze at temporal things in this life I'm always disappointed and my view eventually falls to the dust of the earth. If I heed the example of the wise men, and a chuck wagon cook, making sure my first thing each day is knowing, and more importantly, understanding where I'm headed in a true upward direction, I set myself to be ready to ride when time presents itself. Wise men and chuck wagon cooks have a lot in common. They know where they're headed and prepare themselves to "present" to others in need, whether supplying gifts from afar, or serving up biscuits and gravy with a strong cup of coffee to clear the cob webs.

When Jesus was led of the Spirit up into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days is when he faced his first temptation as the Bible says "he was afterward an hungred." Old slew foot was waiting, challenging His authority by tempting Him to turn stones into bread. The Devil knows when we're at our weakest. He'll wait until we're hungry, not having been back to the "Chuck Wagon" before he plays his hand. I love what was written next..."It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4. Wise words from the wisest man to ever live. It wasn't an example of turning stones into bread in question, it was an example of how and when we're at our weakest, we know we're going to be tested and tried. Hangin' round the camp fire, close to "The Chuck Wagon" will ensure we're always "filled" and ready to ride at the dawning of that great gettin' up morning.

Mount up. You're burnin' day light and we've got a lot of strays to round up. Come on. Let's ride.

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