So I found an easy recipe—not a quick one by any means, but once you get past the initial chopping and measuring stage, all you do is stir once in awhile for a couple of hours.
I did not want to put a lot of energy into something I had never tried, so I made a small batch. I filled a five quart Dutch oven halfway with chopped plum tomatoes, onions and peppers, sugar, vinegar, and spices, and put them on to cook. About two and a half hours later I poured up one generous cup of ketchup. It was definitely the best ketchup I had ever tasted, and plenty for Keith and I who take a year to go through a 32 oz bottle, but it was not going to do for a ketchup fanatic, and it certainly wasn’t worth the work. Now that I know the recipe is good, though, I will fill two of those pots to the brim and in about the same amount of time have something a little more worthwhile.
And that is our problem when it comes to converting the world. We only fill one pot half full and then wonder why we got such a small return. Then we become discouraged, or worse, decide that God’s way doesn’t work any more and then we really get into trouble, going places and doing things we have no authority for, denigrating God in the process.
We see the 3000 baptized on Pentecost and say, what’s wrong? Why can’t we do that? Let’s do a little math. Most scholars estimate the population of Jerusalem during a feast day at 1 million or more. Three thousand out of one million is not that much. In fact, it’s the same as 300 out of 100,000, or 30 out of 10,000 or 3 out of 1000. That’s less than one third of one percent, or, to be silly about it, it’s a short one-third of a person for every hundred.
Stop being so negative. Stop allowing sheer numbers without perspective to discourage you. This is a Biblical principle. The road is narrow. Only a few will find it. We just have to make sure that their inability to find it wasn’t our fault. And we have to remember above all, that it isn’t God’s fault either. It is not the fault of His methods. It is not the fault of His plan. We certainly cannot improve on the ways of the Almighty. What we can do is implement them. Fill as many pots as you have with tomatoes. If you want a 3000 day, then cook a million. Most of us can’t do that, but we can cook a hundred in a lifetime surely. And if all you get is one cup of ketchup, that’s wonderful. In fact, it’s better than Pentecost. You did not fail by any means. You did your part, and, even better, you did it God’s way.
For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. Seeing that Jews ask for signs, and Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto Jews a stumblingblock, and unto Gentiles foolishness; but unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:21-25
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