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Just Grab a Bowl

by Joanna Pierce on January 04, 2017

At least once a year, my family celebrates our German heritage by cooking spätzle. I’ve heard many stories over the years about my Great-Grandmother (Oma) in the kitchen, heartily mixing the spätzle dough, which could only be compared to the consistency of mortar. She would firmly cradle the bowl in the curvature of her arm, and effortlessly thump the mixture with a wooden spoon. My parents have continued her tradition, albeit with the help of a KitchenAid® mixer. No one can quite match Oma’s spätzle-mixing talent.

While spätzle is an incredibly hearty meal, my Grandfather could never get enough of it. After the family would be stuffed to the brim, my Grandpa would go back for another helping, insisting he could allow a few more spätzle noodles to fall down into any available “cracks” in his stomach.

I remember later during childhood, during one particular meal, my Grandpa grabbed a serving bowl—because a plate was just too little to hold enough spätzle to satisfy his craving. After his dinnerware selection, all the men in our family have followed suit. Plates just aren’t large enough to thoroughly enjoy a meal of spätzle.

Too little. Not enough. Have you ever been faced with a situation where something wasn’t large enough to suit your purpose? A time where after the completion of a task you still felt unsatisfied?

I’m reminded of a story in Scripture about King Solomon. He had just built a house for the Lord, and sacrificed so many sheep and oxen they couldn’t be numbered because there were so many (I Kings 8:5). But, that’s not what holds my attention in this story:

The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings (I Kings 8:64, KJV, emphasis added).

The brazen altar was the largest piece of furniture in the tabernacle. But, King Solomon’s sacrifices were too great in multitude; the altar was just too little to receive them.

I hear preachers say frequently we can never out-give God. But, do we ever try? Too often we allow our earthly constraints to dictate the maximum effort or impact we feel we can give to God. We stop praying because the hour’s up. We stop giving because the church has reached the fundraising goal. We stop praising God because our voice gives out and body fatigues.

King Solomon didn’t think that way. He had a platform—literally—to give sacrifices to the Lord. But, he didn’t allow that platform to paint his praise and worship into a corner. He built a new altar, although temporary, to continue his sacrificing. He wasn’t going to allow something that was too little or not enough to get in his way.

My Grandpa was a smart man. He knew his ultimate desire and made it happen. He renegotiated the procurement of a bowl instead of a plate to ensure he was satisfied in his spätzle-pursuit.

I wonder today if we allow ourselves to be stifled by the notion of too little. Just because the world defines something or our mind tells us it isn’t possible, we shouldn’t stop. And, we especially shouldn’t give up because of the invisible wall of being unable to “out-give God.”

Scripture never says God didn’t accept Solomon’s sacrifice. The devil would like us to believe that Solomon should have stopped when his sacrifice overflowed the brazen altar. And, he’d like us to believe our effort to worship God or work in His Kingdom should stop when it looks done or seems like it’s enough.

I encourage you this New Year to go the extra mile, to be bold in your approach, to give a little extra. Break free from the ideology of too little with God. When you start to build bigger and push farther with God, you’ll find something my Grandpa did many years ago. God, like spätzle, will fill your life and leave you satisfied in a way you’ve never experienced. All you have to do is grab a bowl.