Last year, we had to find outlets that must not be named: hint Hint, a particular pandemic. And I would be lying if I told you I was most productive in filling my time. It revolved around mostly meeting in my closet on my computer or downstairs in the living room, crushing it on the Xbox (not really, but hey, it was intense). However, one thing I did hop on the trendy train with was making homemade sourdough bread. I love cooking and making things from scratch, it comes from my mom for sure, and I was so fascinated that I could take something like water and flour and create delicious fresh sourdough bread. It was amazing; we had just moved into our new house and now have this big new kitchen. I thought to myself, “I could do this; I have made more difficult things.”
After many attempts at making sourdough starters myself and many videos and recipes later, I was ready to make my first loaf of sourdough bread. It only took me two weeks to get the starter going, but hey, it worked! Well, that was only the beginning of the process. Everything was about time; I had to pull out some starter and add flour and water and get that going 30 minutes before I even could use it for the dough. Then after that, I needed to incorporate it slowly and roll it out on the counter using a bench scraper; this is a must if you want your dough to work with you, not against you, then let it rest. Oh, and then you have to fold your dough over the next 4 hours and keep it covered with a damp towel in between folding. Finally, after the last session of folding, you place your dough in a cloth-covered in flour and some bannetons or bowls if that’s all you got, and place those in a Ziplock bag and place in the fridge proof until the following day. Once you wake up, get your dough out and heat your oven to 500 degrees, dust your dutch oven, which needs to have steam while it bakes, and place your loaf in to bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy deep brown. The best thing to have for your morning breakfast sandwich, I’m telling you!
You might be asking yourself if you are reading about how to make bread or how to be encouraged in ministry at this point; believe me, it has everything to do with ministry. When we talk about our ministries and our hope for what they might end up looking like, we sometimes have beautifully crafted ideas executed about what this looks like or at least what we imagine it to be. The problem? It doesn’t always look that way.
No, sometimes we fail at it a few times. Or sometimes, we succeed, but it doesn’t look like we imagined. We indeed need to let the Holy Spirit work in the ministry, both with the day-to-day operations and the students involved. Sow the seed. Let God allow the seed to take root and flourish in the ministry and lives of the students. But we must not get discouraged by the work that goes into what will eventually be something beautiful and truly a work God has done.
People will see finished products and never know that work that goes into what got that work to the point it is, trust me people ask me all the time why don’t you make sourdough like every day? Yeah, not enough hours or manpower to do that. With ministry to students, you all are putting in the work necessary to plant that seed, to incorporate all the ingredients necessary to get them to where they need to be.
Yeah, maybe the environment isn’t perfect, maybe you have to use certain ingredients because you don’t have what the recipe calls for, maybe you got to make do, but the process is the same. Step by step patiently putting in the time that some might not see, and maybe the result you might be able to see for a while or maybe at all. But it’s a work God has called you to and He will take what you have done through His Spirit and grow the things He needs to be grown.
The display effect, seeing the end result, and the process it requires might be discouraging but plenty of times I see clothes on a mannequin and think, man it won’t look like that on me. Sometimes I see food displays and think that would be so awesome to try but then realizing it will take weeks to do what will take me seconds to purchase, for sure can be discouraging. But how rewarding it is to stand back and see the fruit of the work put in. God ultimately does and finishes the work, through our lives and the calling He has placed on us. But He has chosen you to work alongside Him for His name and glory. Be encouraged, stay engaged, and know that God sees the work you are putting in.