One thing I really love to do is bake. I have a gas stove because I feel I can control the temperature more precisely and, especially on baked goods, that can make a noticeable difference.
Yesterday, I decided to make some cookies, so I turned the oven on to preheat to the temperature in the recipe, got all my ingredients out and proceeded to follow the instructions for getting the dough ready to bake into cookies. With great anticipation, I opened the oven door and the oven felt very, very hot! I looked at the temperature dial and it was set st 375• just as the recipe said. I started to wiggle the knob just to be sure it was seated properly when I heard a voice say, “Don’t touch that knob!”
Needless to say, I was so startled I almost dropped the cookie sheet. Fearing I had slipped over the edge, I reached for the knob again to set it right and heard a voice again, “Don’t touch that knob!” What is going on here, I wondered to myself? Have I gone crazy? There wasn’t supposed to be anyone here but me; I decided to play along with whatever trick was being played to see if someone appeared from around the corner.
I looked at the oven. “Why did you say that?” I asked.
“Well,” the oven began, “I was created to bake; it’s what I do best. You might say it’s my gift. So, if I’m to use my gift properly, I need to bake your cookies the way I know they should be baked . . . at 450•.”
“Oh, my, no!” I replied sounding anxious. “These cookies should bake at 375•. It says so right in the recipe.”
“And you think that book is gifted to bake?” The oven asked with a kind of smirk in its voice.
“Well, no, of course not. But it’s gifted to give directions for making these cookies so they’ll turn out the way they should—and you’re not!” I argued.
“Humph!” the oven was sounding very disgruntled now. “I am gifted to bake and that is what I am going to do whether you like it or not! You did not make me and you did not give me my gift, so you can’t tell me how I should use my gift!!!”
“Oh, so that’s it huh? Well, let’s just take a look at the instruction manual for you and see what it says. Do you agree that you are supposed to function according to the instruction manual that the one who created you supplied?” I asked, feeling a little silly with this continuing argument with my oven.
“Sure, I agree. You just look and you’ll see that I am created to bake and maybe you’ll leave me alone to use my gift as I should instead of trying to take control of my gift,” the oven replied arrogantly.
That smug-sounding voice made me want to slam the oven door shut and call the trash pick-up service to come and take it away, but I couldn’t afford to do that because I needed it; so, I continued on with what was certainly a very strange “conversation.”
“Look,” I said, “maybe you’re just not understanding how this all works. I bought you and paid for you because I knew you were created to bake and I needed a way to bake things. I can’t do that without you. But, because I bought you, I control how your ability to bake is used. See, if you control that ability, you may burn some things or not cook some things completely. Because I understand how different things need to be baked at different temperatures for different times, I need to control how you use your gift. That way, you are used for what you were created for and your gift is used to best benefit the one who paid for you—me, and all those who eat what we bake as a team.”
Feeling a little crazy, but trying to respond calmly, I continued, “Cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies, souffles, tarts, quiches—you can’t treat them all the same. They’re all baked goods, but they each need different temperatures, different times of baking.”
Everything was quiet for several minutes. I thought about reaching out to touch the knob, but decided to make sure the oven was not going to continue being difficult. “Well,” I said tentatively, “do you understand you’ll be happier if you let me control how you use your gift to bake? Just think—you’ll be using your gift to bake and I’ll be using my knowledge to set the right temperature and let each one bake for the right amount of time to get just the right results for each of the different baked goods we work on together! Everything will turn out so much better and we won’t be burning cookies because the temperature is too high or ending up with cakes that are half baked because the temperature is too low or the time is wrong.”
“Okay,” the oven anwered sounding at least a little contrite,
“I see your point. I just wanted to do what I do best, use my gift . . . what I was created for and I thought you were trying to keep me from doing that.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” I replied as I patted the oven door. “I want us to work together so we can do great things. It’s always best when each of us does what we do best while following the instructions given to us by the one who created us. You may not understand why I set your dial on ‘warm,’ but just trust me, there’ s a reason for it when I do it. And when I kick your dial up to its highest potential, it’s right for the project we’re working on and everything will turn out as it should in the end.”
That was the last time I heard anything from my oven . . .
no more “conversations” with any of my kitchen appliances.
I wonder if God was trying to help me understand something?
Friday—August 6, 2004