“Back Burner” Faith

Welcome  I had to get a new stove a couple years ago.  Our old stove tried to burn our house down…literally.  That crazy thing locked itself in clean mode with food inside!  Just imagine what happens to a frozen pizza at 650 degrees!!!!  We had to throw the multi-breaker to get it to turn off and every time we would try to flip the breaker back on, it would lock itself back in clean mode.  A new stove it is, then!

Replacing appliances at our house is always on a need-to basis.  We wait until they are literally non-functioning before buying a new one.  Yeah, you could say we like to get our money’s worth.  Even as I write this, we have a refrigerator that’s approaching the 30-year mark.  Wow, right?  The ice maker long ago stopped working and it ain’t pretty, but it keeps everything plenty cold and/or frozen.  If it ain’t broke…you know the drill.

So when I did get the luxury of a new stove, I wanted a double oven and a warming burner.  These features are so handy, especially during holiday cooking and baking.  But most days, for just a family of three, I don’t need five burners!  Basically I use one of the back burners to heat my tea kettle, and the rest of the time, the back burners go unused.

When someone says an agenda item will be pushed to the “back burner,” we all know that means it is something of low importance.  It’s not a priority.  We only have two hands and 24 hours in a day, so it’s by necessity that some things have to get pushed to the back.  Of course, the intention is we will get to those back-burner items as soon as we have time or when life’s not so crazy.

What is it you’ve put on the back burner recently?

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Today’s Scripture  

Food For Thought  I have an ugly confession to make today.  From the time I married my husband until just a couple years ago, church attendance and service was on my back burner.  Personal Bible study was on the back burner.  Many days, even prayer, the one thing I always declared dependence on, was pushed to the back burner.  Ugh, I just hate confessing that so much!

As I became a wife, then a mom, I was trying to balance so many things.  Taking care of the family I loved so much, along with our home, as well as working outside the home full-time.  I also was trying to exercise (almost religiously) and lose tons of weight, which I like to say was for my health, but I really know it was for vanity reasons.  I wanted to have time to enjoy the things I loved, too, like hiking and nature and attending sporting events and concerts.

It starts out simple enough.  Staying up a little too late on Saturday night makes sleeping in on Sunday morning so inviting.  Stolen plan time in my teaching job would leave me scrambling on Sunday to prep my kindergarten classroom for the upcoming week.  All the household chores that got pushed to the weekend would need to be finished on Sunday.  The nice weather begged for a hiking trip.  The football game.  The family picnic.  The shopping trip.  The need for some rest and relaxation.  The list could go on and on, but the simple, ugly truth is I put my faith on the back burner.

Oh, I could talk a good game.  I could claim I had a church family, even though I hadn’t entered the physical building in years.  I had a Bible laying beside my rocking chair, but it had a thin coating of dust on it, from the obvious neglect.  And I had plenty of excuses and plans.  But the things that are important to us will reside on the front burner.  These priorities get our full attention, no matter what else is going on.  I never meant to let my job become my main focus in life and I certainly regret that now, but if we’re not careful, life gets away from us, beginning with those first simple excuses.

But now, I have moved my faith back to the front burner where it belongs.  I like to think of my priorities a lot like my stove.  I have two big, adjustable burners on the front and they get used daily.  My priority foods get put on these burners, the dishes that need the most attention from me during the cooking process.  Well, it’s time my life’s priorities get put back on the front burners, too, those things that should be getting most of my attention.  My two big front burners are now my faith and my family.  My job, whatever it may look like now, will just have to be moved to the back, along with personal hobbies and interests. Even my former obsessive exercise plans slide to the back now.  Some people don’t get it, but that’s okay.  They don’t have to.  The important things is, I never want to have “back burner faith” again!


chicken sweet potato and black bean stew
Sweet and smoky, this stew brings the comfort to the autumn dinner table.

 

Today’s Recipe  Faith does not belong on the back burner, but a cozy fall stew could be on the literal back burner while it’s cooking.  So while we’re being spiritually comforted by moving our faith back to the front of our priorities, we can be physically comforted by this yummy Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Stew, which pairs nicely with corn muffins.

Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Stew (makes about 8 servings)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 TBS low-salt chili seasoning (I use Chili 9000 seasoning from Penzey’s Spice Company)
  • 2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups chicken broth

 

Set oven to 375 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Peel and wash sweet potatoes.  Cut sweet potatoes into chunks; toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread potatoes on prepared pan and roast at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Sweet potatoes should be fork tender but not mushy, so start checking at the earliest time.

In a large soup pot, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add diced onion and cook until soft and fragrant.

Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.  Add to the pot with the onion and sprinkle with the chili seasoning.  Cook chicken, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes total.

Add cooked sweet potatoes, black beans and broth, stirring to combine.  When stew begins to bubble, reduce heat and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.

 

Today’s Product Picks from Amazon (These are the kitchen tools I used in the making of this recipe.)

Casabella Silicone Cutting Boards

Calphalon Self-Sharpening Knife Block Set

Rimmed Baking Sheet

Calphalon Classic Non Stick Dutch Oven with Lid

OXO Good Grips Ladle