Jesus Like Vanilla (An Object Lesson on the Importance of Jesus)

Doug Olson —  January 27, 2011

What a funny thing to think about. As the EvangeKid Chef I sometimes write lessons that are in character. Using cooking themes and how it can relate to building a relationship with Jesus is really a lot of fun. Think of all the different ingredients that go into so many yummy recipes. How can those be related to discipleship? That is my goal as The Chef.

Last year I was invited to speak at a retreat for 4th and 5th graders. So many ideas were flowing through my mind about how to present to the kids. What topics to write on and challenge them with. I knew one aspect of the weekend had to include the Chef – building a lesson around a recipe that the kids actually made as I taught. In preparing the rest of the weekend’s lessons I realized that I should include what things we needed to have to be considered a child of God. My mind was swirling around chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I was just hungry? As I thought out the process of which characteristics to talk about, which were important to 4th and 5th graders, I listed out the ingredients for the cookie:

  • Eggs
  • flour
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • chocolate chips
  • baking soda
  • vanilla

Pretty basic classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Here is how I related these ingredient to a life with Jesus.

This morning I want to do some cooking with you. Chocolate Chip Cookies are my favorite. I hope you like them too. This recipe is pretty easy. It is a standard in the cookie business. Hmmmm I know that! SO what do you think about whipping up a batch of chocolate chip cookies with me? Are we all in? Okay, so I went ahead and read through the recipe and gathered a few things for us. Let’s see…

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Combine sugar, brown sugar and vanilia. Add eggs one at a time while stirring. Slowly incorporate dry ingredient mixture. Add chocolate chips.

It looks like I need some help here. We need 2 teams of 2 people plus one person as my assistant. Is there anyone who has some cooking experience that might be able to help? Okay good.

We need a dry team and a wet team. Who would like to measure and who would like to stir? Perfect now follow me as we go through the recipe. Let’s see we need 2 ¼ cups of flour. Yea that is good. You know flour is like an important ingredient in being more like Jesus. Can anyone guess what that might be? I’ll give you a hint it is a key ingredient if you don’t have flour you don’t have cookies. If you don’t have this you won’t look like Jesus. It is like the bible. It is the most key ingredient to know what Jesus looks like. It gives us direction and stability just like flour does in the cookies. It makes a cookie a cookie and the Bible is our primary way to know what Jesus wants us to follow to be like him. Flour is like the Bible to us.

Next we need baking soda. 1 t. That is not very much…but oh it does so much for the cookies. It makes them poof up and be soft and delicate. Baking Powder is like church for us. It is only once a week. It is usually a very small amount of our week but going to church is like adding baking powder to the cake. It makes our life much more full and special. Without baking powder our cookies would be flat and thick textured. Without church our life is flat and dull. Going to church adds a fullness to our life and helps us become more like Jesus because we are with others that know Jesus.

Salt. 1t. Just a pinch as they say. Salt is an ingredient that some people leave out. It is an ingredient that makes all the other ingredients come together to make the cookie taste that much better. Salt is like serving for us. Serving is a form of worship. It takes all the other things like prayer and bible and praise and prayer and uses them to build up the church or serve one another. Important to have salt in cookies and very important to serve Jesus and the church.

Margerine. 2 sticks. That is a lot. It melts and coats all the ingredients so they stick together. Without margarine we would have really yucky tasting plies of cooked dust. Yummy! Margarine is like salvation for us. Salvation is Jesus covering us. Forgiving our sins and being the lord of out lives. Salvation is having Jesus as a forever friend you can’t take it away once you have it. Like margarine it is one of the very most important ingredients in our lives. Without salvation we can’t look like Jesus without margarine we would have tasteless pile of dust to eat.

What’s next oh yea sugar. ¾ c of white and ¾ cup of brown. Oh and let’s throw the vanilla in there too…lots of goodness right there! We have two kinds white regular sugar and brown sugar. The white sugar is simply a glue and sweetner to the cookie. The brown sugar does the same thing but adds flavor. It is important to have brown sugar in chocolate chip cookies. I like to think of these sugars as the people in our lives. The relationship we have with them. Some people are just sweetners others add a ton of flavor to our party. We need people in our lives for so many important reasons. Without other people our lives would be meaningless and quite frankly BOOOORING. Cookie without sugar just aint right. Can you imagine a cookie without sugar. Me neither and I can’t imagine my life without people. Hey, what about that vanilla? That is the single most important ingredient in this recipe. I can not even imagine a chocolate chip cookie without it. It doesn’t take a lot but it is pretty powerful. It adds a special flavor to the cookie. I think of Vanilla as Jesus living inside me. You do not know it is there but it is and you just know that it is something special. Without vanilla, it is still a cookie, but with it is an excellent cookie. Vanilla is like Jesus.

There are only two ingredients left eggs and what is the last ingredient…think about it as we add the eggs. 2 eggs. Eggs are the glue that holds all the ingredients of the cake together. Prayer is like eggs in our life. Prayer holds it all together. We depend on prayer to talk to God and seek him. Cookies would not be held together without eggs and our lives fall apart without daily prayer. Eggs are like prayer in our lives. Oh so important to talk to Jesus. You can say anything you want to him. He listens everytime. He always answers. We could make a whole nother recipe talking about prayer. BUT we won’t today. Okay lets see we need to combine the dry ingredient with the wet…slowly. Stirring. Getting thick isn’t it? Man….maybe we need some reinforcement. Any like football playing sport stars out there who would like to stir this batter for us? Cook jump right in. Hey that looks good. Keep stirring while I add the chocolate chips. Now we have it yummy raw chocolate chip cookies. I know some of you would love to eat this like this but I am telling you you would get sick if you ate this or too much of it. Raw eggs are not good for you. Let’s see if we can get these cooked in a toasty oven.

Jesus like vanilla. With Him our lives reflect the joy of the eternal hope He brings. Our cookies would not be the same without vanilla and neither would our lives without Jesus!

Doug Olson

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Doug was the children’s director at a church in his hometown. There, he lead a team of nearly 40 volunteers that helped kids know Jesus and love Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Doug was called to lead this group for 4 years as a bi-vocational, part-time director until God called him to take some time to minister to his family and study/experience family ministry first hand.