As a lover of good barbeque, I thought I would try my hand at using a charcoal smoker. After a little online research, I purchased a new inexpensive smoker and began the process of “seasoning” the smoker. Seasoning refers to igniting some charcoal and wood in the smoker and allowing it to burn for several hours to get rid of industrial smells created by the manufacturing of the metal smoker. I also thought it would be a good opportunity for me to test my ability to control the heat in the smoker. Keeping a careful eye on the temperature gauge, I adjusted the air vents to hold the heat at a steady 225 degrees, the perfect temperature to smoke a beef brisket. To my pleasant surprise, my cheap smoker held this temperature for nearly 6 hours with no additional fuel. Great! The next morning I would smoke some meat!.
The next day I started the fire and waited for the temperature needle to move to 225 degree. With the same setting of the air vents, to my dismay, the gauge reflected that I only had a temperature of about 110 degrees. I was shocked! I did exactly the same things that I had done the day before but now the temperature was way below what would work. At 110 degrees, my brisket would only wilt, and not be cooked in a safe fashion.
For a few minutes I could not figure it out…I could not believe that I had been so mistaken with my temperature readings the day before. And then I saw it! On the gauge were two sets of numbers. On one side of the line were numbers reflecting degrees in Fahrenheit and on the other side of the line, the degrees were in Celsius. 110 degree Celsius equals about 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature on the smoker was fine and the problem was with my focus. I was focusing on the wrong sequences of numbers and reading both as degree Fahrenheit..
Having the right focus and the right perspective is so important.
This is the season of Thanksgiving and I am reminded of a simple scriptures: In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I Thes. 5:18
Thanksgiving may be God’s will for us, yet I find myself ungrateful far too many times. No doubt we have a lot of things in this season that can rob us of joy and gratefulness. A partial list might include:
-The presidential election results
-The looming jump off the “fiscal cliff”
-The weary stale mate in Congress
-The downward spiral in morality in our country
– Having to spend time with some of the crazy relatives during
the Thanksgiving holiday.
-When there is only dark meat left on the turkey platter.
And the list could go on. It’s easy to list the negative, aggravating stuff of life, but it is not easy on our souls. We become grumpy, ungrateful, and selfish.
My strange experience, when I found myself seeing only one set of numbers on the thermometer, reminded me that I often walk through life focused on the wrong things.
When we choose to see our blessings, we find that thanksgiving is more forthcoming. We can see the good….and give thanks! Or we can focus on the bad…and be ungrateful.
On my first day of smoking a piece of meat, I learned something else. I now know that brisket smokes well at 225 degrees Fahrenheit and it smokes well at 107 degrees Celsius. There are two sets of numbers, but I know how they relate to one another.
Should we have a separate response for the good things and another for the bad things in life? The Bible tells us that “in everything we are to give thanks”. Everything? Thanksgiving?
For the believer, we should respond to the good and the bad things in life with a singular perspective. A perspective that knows this:
- God loves me and the events of life do not change that fact.
- God is in control and knows what is happening, both in a sparrow’s life and in my life.
- God has something for me to learn in every experience and desires to make me stronger with a greater dependence upon His strength.
When I focus on the above three truths, I will give thanks…in everything!
Oh, and by the way…my first smoked brisket was great!